What Are Mouth Sores?

Mouth sores are common ailments that affect about 80 percent of Americans at some point in their lives.

These sores can appear on any of the soft tissues of the mouth, including the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, and floor and roof of the mouth. You can even develop mouth sores on your esophagus, the tube leading to the stomach.

Most commonly, mouth sores—which include canker sores—are a minor irritation and last only a week or two. In some cases, however, they can indicate mouth cancer or an infection, such as herpes simplex virus.