Mouth ulcers are painful sores that appear in the mouth. Although they're uncomfortable, they’re usually harmless and most clear up by themselves within a week or two.
Women, adolescents, and people with a family history of mouth ulcers are at higher risk for developing mouth ulcers.
Mouth ulcers are usually round or oval sores that commonly appear inside the mouth on the cheeks, lips, tongue and gums. They can be white, red, yellow or grey in colour and swollen.
It's possible to have more than one mouth ulcer at a time and they may spread or grow.
It is advised that you see your dentist if:
1. Mouth ulcer has lasted three weeks
2. You keep getting mouth ulcers
3. The mouth ulcer becomes more painful or red – this could be a sign of a bacterial infection, which may need treatment with antibiotics
Mouth ulcers are also a possible symptom of a viral infection that mainly affects young children, called hand, foot and mouth disease. Speak to your physician if in doubt.
How to treat mouth ulcers
Mouth ulcers don’t usually need to be treated, because they tend to clear up by themselves within a week or two.
Things you can do to speed up healing include:
· Applying a protective paste recommended by your dentist.
· Using a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth
· Avoiding hard, spicy, salty, acidic or hot food and drink until the ulcer heals
· Using a straw to drink cool drinks
· Avoiding things that may be triggering your mouth ulcers.
Antimicrobial mouthwash may speed up healing and prevent infection of the ulcer.
Painkillers are available as a mouthwash, lozenge, gel or spray. They can sting on first use and your mouth may feel numb – but this is temporary. Mouthwash can be diluted with water if stinging continues.
Medicines from your dentist .
Stress and anxiety
Hormonal changes – some women develop mouth ulcers during their monthly period
Eating certain foods – such as chocolate, spicy foods, coffee, peanuts, almonds, strawberries, cheese, tomatoes and wheat flour
Toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulphate
Stopping smoking – when you first stop smoking, you may develop mouth ulcers
Your genes are also thought to have a role – around 40% of people who keep getting mouth ulcers report that it runs in their family.
v viral infections – including the cold sore virus, chickenpox, and hand, foot and mouth disease
v vitamin B12or iron deficiency
v Crohn's disease
v coeliac disease
v reactive arthritis
v weakened immune system
v Behçet’s disease
Medications and treatments
Mouth ulcers can sometimes be caused by certain medications or treatments, such as:
v non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – such as ibuprofen
v nicorandil – a medication sometimes used to treat angina
v beta-blockers– used to treat conditions such as angina, high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms
v a side effect of chemotherapyor radiotherapy – this is known as mucositis
Is it mouth cancer?
In a few cases, a long-lasting mouth ulcer can be a sign of mouth cancer. Ulcers caused by mouth cancer usually appear on or under the tongue, although you can get them in other areas of the mouth.
Risk factors for mouth cancer include:
v smoking or using products that contain tobacco
v drinking alcohol – smokers who are also heavy drinkers have a much higher risk compared to the population at large
v infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV) – the virus that causes genital warts
v Constant irritant in the mouth eg: sharp tooth, ill fitting prosthesis.
It's important to detect mouth cancer as early as possible. If mouth cancer is detected early, the chances of a complete recovery are good. Regular dental check-ups are the best way to detect the early signs.
What causes mouth ulcers?
In many cases, the reason for mouth ulcers is unclear. Most single mouth ulcers are caused by damage to the lining inside of the mouth. For example:
v accidentally biting the inside of your cheek or a sharp tooth
v poorly fitting dentures
v hard food
v a defective filling
To know more, visit us.
iDent, Idyll Dental Clinic
To book an appointment with us:
Call us at: +912240147049/09321330133