What Causes Acne Around the Mouth, and How to Treat and Prevent It

What Causes Acne Around the Mouth?

Acne around the mouth occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms from your skin become trapped in your teeth. These organisms produce acids which damage the enamel, causing it to crack and fall out of place. Over time, these cracks lead to black spots and yellowing of teeth due to acid exposure. The most common type of acne around the mouth is known as “papules”. Papules are small red bumps that appear on the inside of your cheeks. They may look like a pimple, but they aren’t. Papules occur when bacteria build up in your mouth and then migrate into your cheek bones through the gums. When you chew food, saliva mixes with food particles and passes over the surface of your teeth where it comes in contact with the plaque (hardened plaque) on top of your teeth. The bacteria multiply and form a hard mass called tartar. Tartar causes the tooth to lose its protective enamel coating and allows bacteria to enter your mouth. Your body’s immune system attacks the infection, but it doesn’t always kill all of them. Some remain dormant in your mouth until one day they erupt into action. Papules are usually painless, but they can cause bleeding gums, inflammation, swelling, pain during eating or drinking and even loss of taste buds in some cases.

How to Treat and Prevent It

The best way to treat your condition is to visit your dentist as soon as you notice any symptoms. Your dentist will remove the tartar, clean your teeth and smooth out any jagged edges on your teeth so that bacteria won’t be able to stick to them. After this procedure, you should maintain good dental hygiene habits. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day using proper technique and you should floss daily too. If you don’t have enough time in your schedule to fit in a trip to the dentist, at least try to brush at least twice a day.

You should also rinse your mouth with peroxide or Listerine (methyl alcohol) daily since these chemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth and help prevent plaque buildup.

Acne around the mouth is a common condition that can be prevented, but it isn’t always easy to manage. Start by eliminating sugary foods from your diet and cut down on acidic foods as well. Ask your dentist if there are any other steps you should take in order to prevent plaque buildup.

Many people have concerns about the link between toothpaste and pimples around mouth.

Acne and Toothpaste: Toothpastes have different effects on different people. Most toothpastes contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) which is a known skin irritant. If you are prone to getting pimples, it might be a good idea to switch to a brand that doesn’t contain this chemical. Another thing you can do is limit your toothpaste use. Don’t brush your teeth right before going to bed.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Recognition, treatment seeking behaviour and perception of cause of malaria among rural women in Uganda by JF Kengeya-Kayondo, JA Seeley, E Kajura-Bajenja… – Acta tropica, 1994 – Elsevier

What the mouth has to say about diabetes: Careful examinations can avert serious complications by S Boschert, I Tatsuya

Facial Blemishes: Causes, Types, Treatment, and Myths by LS Finney, MO Finney… – … medicine, 1997 – Taylor & Francis

Perioral Dermatitis (Periorificial Dermatitis) by V Veerula – emedihealth.com

Cleansing and moisturizing in acne patients by A Gaby – 1995 – Harmony

Saving face: A treatment update for acne by W Johnson – countyhistorian.com

Saving face: a treatment update for acne by G Goodman – American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2009 – Springer