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Mouth Ulcers
Mouth Ulcers London

Mouth Ulcers

These are small, painful lesions in your mouth or at the base of the gums. They’re also called canker sores. People with mouth ulcers have difficulty eating, drinking or speaking.

Teenagers, women and those with a family history of mouth ulcers have greater chances of getting infected.

One cannot transmit mouth ulcers – they typically disappear in a week or two. But for large or very painful and persistent mouth ulcers, see your healthcare provider.

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What are the causes of mouth ulcers?

This condition has no particular cause. Certain things make it happen, including:

  • Minor mouth injury caused by mistakenly biting part of your mouth, dental treatment, brushing too hard, or sports
  • Toothpaste and mouth rinse having sodium lauryl sulfate as an ingredient
  • Vitamin deficiency, particularly iron, folate, zinc and vitamin B12
  • Sensitivity to acidic foods such as pineapples, citrus and other trigger foods such as coffee and chocolate
  • Change in hormones during menstruation
  • Dental braces
  • Allergic reaction to mouth bacteria
  • Lack of sleep
  • Infections from bacteria, fungi or virus

There are other chronic underlying health conditions that can be symptomised by mouth ulcers. They include:

  • Diabetes
  • Celiac disease (a condition where the body is intolerant to gluten)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Behcet’s disease (a condition where the whole body is inflamed)
  • An impaired immune system
  • HIV/AIDS

Symptoms of mouth ulcers

Canker sores are of three types:

  • Minor: Here, the ulcers are small, round or oval-shaped, and heal without scarring in a week or two.
  • Major: These are large, deep sores with rough edges. They heal within six weeks with long-term scarring.
  • Herpetiform: Sores of pinpoint sizes and irregular edges appearing in groups of 10 to 100. It often affects adults. They heal in a week or two without scarring.

Contact your doctor when you experience:

  • Abnormally large canker sores
  • Persistent sores lasting over three weeks
  • Pain-free sores
  • New sores appearing before old sores heal
  • Lips having mouth sores
  • Pain that over-the-counter or natural medication can’t control
  • Increased difficulty in eating or drinking
  • Mouth sores with high fever or diarrhoea

Diagnosis

By physically examining your mouth, the sores can be identified. Where the mouth ulcers are frequent and chronic, testing for other health issues may be done.

Treatment of mouth ulcers

These sores don’t require any treatment. But where you have severe mouth ulcers from time to time, here are some treatments that can lower pain:

  • Saltwater and baking soda mouth rinse
  • Applying milk of magnesia to the sores
  • Using baking soda paste to cover the canker sores
  • Over-the-counter topical anaesthesia such as Orajel
  • Topical paste
  • Using ice on mouth ulcers
  • Natural supplements such as zinc, vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6
  • Natural remedies such as licorice root, myrrh, etc

Preventative tips for mouth ulcers

  • Avoid mouth-irritating foods, including spicy foods and acidic fruits such as pineapple, grapes or lemon
  • Eat healthy foods, including whole grains, vegetables, nonacidic fruits and take multivitamins daily
  • Don’t talk while eating to avoid accidental bites
  • Etc.