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What’s That Spot?

Posted by AESTHETIC DENTISTRY on Oct 11 2017, 07:38 AM

What’s That Spot?

Picture it: You wake up in the morning and open your mouth to brush your teeth. But instead of just being greeted by your usual set of pearly whites, you see a dark, blood-red spot about the size of a pencil eraser on the roof of your mouth - and you definitely don’t remember seeing it there when you brushed last night. If you’re like many people, you probably have a million questions running through your mind: What is that spot? Where did it come from? How long will it last? What should I do about it? Is it dangerous? But before you panic and call in sick to work, check out this handy guide to Angina bullosa hemorrhagica (ABH), or as it is more commonly known, an oral blood blister.

What Is ABH?

Oral blood blisters are much like the blood blisters you get when you hit your fingernail with a hammer or pinch your finger in a door. They can be caused by something as simple as accidentally biting your cheek, or something a little more serious like a vitamin B12 or iron deficiency, celiac disease, herpes simplex, Crohn’s disease, arthritis or a non-infectious skin rash called lichen planus. They can even be caused by stress, allergies, hormones (especially pregnancy), NSAID medications, smoking and even your toothpaste! Oral blood blisters can appear anywhere in your mouth, including the roof or sides of your mouth, the gums, anywhere on the tongue and even underneath the tongue.

'When Will You Be Leaving?'

When you have a blood blister in your mouth, chances are you probably want it gone ASAP. The good news is most oral blisters will go away within a few days, either by shrinking or bursting. If it bursts, chances are you won’t even realize it has happened until you see that it’s no longer there. Sometimes bursting can bring some relief if the blister was painful; other times it may hurt more until the skin heals. 

The important thing to remember is to never, ever pop an oral blood blister. This can leave your mouth tissue vulnerable to bacterial infection. When it does burst on its own, be sure to keep your mouth clean until it’s healed, as it is an open wound. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes, and don’t forget to floss to help get rid of some of the bacteria that could cause infection. You may also want to rinse with salt water, peroxide or mouthwash, but you may want to avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol, as they may cause your blister to sting.

If You’re Concerned ...

Though most oral blood blisters are harmless, there are certainly cases where they can signal a more serious problem. If you have already been diagnosed with any of the conditions mentioned above, you most likely will see more oral blood blisters unless your condition is corrected. If you do not have any of the above conditions and find yourself experiencing frequent or persistent ABH, it could be a sign of something more serious, such as oral herpes or oral cancer. 

If you are experiencing a persistent (lasting longer than a few weeks) or bleeding blood blister along with any of the following signs, please contact Dr. Abelar to set up an exam:

  • Loose teeth or tender gums
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Stiff jaw
  • Numbness anywhere in the mouth
  • Altered sense of taste
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes

If you have any questions or concerns about a persistent blood blister or any other oral health issues, please call Dr. Abelar’s office at 858-866-9692.

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