Oral Health

Updated 15 July 2014

Pain in the mouth and throat

While following good oral hygiene practices and making other healthy lifestyle choices are beneficial, some people still suffer from a sore mouth and throat.

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While following good oral hygiene practices and making other healthy lifestyle choices are beneficial, some people still suffer from a sore mouth and throat.

There are various reasons why a person may experience pain in the mouth – gum disease, dental procedures, operations in the mouth (like a tonsillectomy), and other conditions may leave the mouth sore, tender and inflamed. Some common ones are discussed below.

Plaque and gingivitis

Plaque is a primary cause of gum disease. Plaque is a sticky, colourless film of bacteria that develops on teeth when food containing carbohydrates is left on the teeth. When the bacteria in plaque build up in the mouth it can lead to gingivitis – a condition that causes the gums to become inflamed (red and swollen) and also to bleed easily during brushing. Although the gum is irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets and no irreversible bone or tissue damage has occurred.

When gingivitis is left untreated it can advance to periodontitis in which the bone structure that keeps the teeth in place starts to break down, and often results in tooth loss. In fact, periodontitis is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults.

Plaque build-up not only risks dental health. A growing body of research has found that bacteria and inflammation in the mouth are associated with other health problems including heart attack, diabetes, and dementia. Although science is still in the process of determining the cause and effect of the association between periodontal disease and other health problems, experts believe that oral bacteria escape into the bloodstream and injure major organs. Furthermore, inflammation (which is a common symptom of periodontal disease) may also increase inflammation throughout the body, which in turn underlies other health problems. 

Pharyngitis

Plaque is not the only cause of pain and discomfort in the mouth and throat. Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the pharynx or throat – the area between the tonsils and the larynx (voice box). This condition is characterised by redness, swelling and pain in the throat, which can make swallowing or speech difficult. Pharyngitis usually occurs after a tonsillectomy, the use of a nasogastric tube, and other dental procedures.

Aphthous ulcers

Another common cause of pain in the mouth is aphthous ulcers, also known as canker sores. These are small shallow ulcers that appear in the mouth and often make eating and talking uncomfortable. Although commonly mistaken for cold sores, these two are not the same. The exact cause of most canker sores is unknown, but stress or tissue injury is thought to be a possible reason for these sores. Certain foods, especially acidic fruits and vegetables, can also trigger canker sores or make the problem worse.

Although good oral care goes a long way to preventing periodontal problems, these conditions often need treatment beyond what regular brushing or flossing can do. For effective management of these problems an antiseptic to help reduce the development of plaque and its associated problems used together with an anti-inflammatory agent to relieve pain and inflammation in the mouth and throat is usually needed.

For treatment options for sore mouth and throat consult your pharmacist who can recommend a suitable solution from the Andolex range. Andolex products are anti-inflammatory and analgesic, offering long-lasting pain relief, for up to 3 hours. Alternatively, look towards Andolex-C which provides additional antiseptic action.

References:

1. WebMD Medical Reference. 2009. Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gingivitis-periodontal-disease. Accessed: 15 August 2010.

2. INova Pharmaceuticals. 2009. The total oral care solution. In The ABC of Oral Health.

3. WebMD Medical Reference. 2009. Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body? The Impact of Teeth, Breath, & Gum Problems. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-mouth-and-body-9/plaque-on-teeth?page=2. Accessed: 15 August 2010.

4. Health24. 2009. Sore throat. http://www.health24.com/medical/Head2Toe/777-778-781,11891.asp. Accessed: 17 August 2010.

5. WebMD Medical Reference. 2009. Dental Health and Canker Sores. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/canker-sores. Accessed: 17 August 2010.

6. WebMD Medical Reference. 2009. Plaque and Your Teeth. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/plaque-and-your-teeth. Accessed: 17 August 2010.

Scheduling status: S1 Proprietary name (and dosage form): ANDOLEX-C Oral Rinse. Composition: Each 15 mL contains: Benzydamine HCI 22.5 mg, Chlorhexidine gluconate 18 mg, Alcohol 9% v/v. Pharmacological classification: A. 16.4 Nasopharyngeal and bucco-pharyngeal antiseptics. Indications: For the relief of minor infections and painful inflammatory conditions of the mouth and throat. Chlorhexidine in Andolex-C Oral Rinse helps to reduce the development of plaque. Registration number: 31/16.4/0143. [Act 101/1965]. Scheduling status: S1 Proprietary name (and dosage form): ANDOLEX Solution. Composition: Each 15 mL contains Benzydamine HCI 22.5 mg. Preservative: Methyl hydroxybenzoate 0.1% m/v. Contains alcohol 10%v/v. Pharmacological classification: A.16 Ear, nose and throat preparations. Indications: Symptomatic relief of painful inflammatory conditions of the mouth and throat including: Traumatic conditions: Pharyngitis following tonsillectomy or after the use of nasogastric tube. Inflammatory conditions: Pharyngitis, aphthous ulcers and oral ulceration due to radiation therapy. Dentistry: For use after dental operations. Registration number: Z/16/40. [Act 101/1965]. Scheduling status: S1 Proprietary name (and dosage form): ANDOLEX-C ORAL GEL. Composition: Benzydamine HCI 10 mg/g, Cetylpyridinium Chloride 1 mg/g. Pharmacological classification: A 16.4 Naso-pharyngeal and bucco-pharyngeal antiseptics. Indications: Temporarily relieves painful inflamed conditions of the mouth, including mouth and denture ulcers and sore gums. Registration number: 33/16.4/0285. [Act 101/1965].

 Name and business address of applicant: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Limited, Co. Reg. No.1952/001640/07, 15E Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. (011) 021- 4155. www.inovapharma.com.

For full prescribing information, refer to the individual package inserts. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals. IN467/10.

 

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Oral health expert

Dr Imraan Hoosen qualified from the Medical University of South Africa in 1997. Together with his partner, Dr Hoosen now runs a group of dental practices around Johannesburg (Lesedi Private Hospital, Highlands North Medical Centre , Brenthurst Clinic, Parklane Clinic, Simmonds Street Medical and Dental Centre, Soni Medical Centre- Newclare). Dr Hoosen can be contacted on 011 933 4096.

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