Mouth Ulcers: Causes, Treatment and Prevention
What Are Mouth Ulcers?
Mouth ulcers are a common oral problem and affect a huge part of the population. They are also known as canker sores. They are not infectious, meaning they cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
Mouth ulcers are sores that develop in the soft tissue of the tongue, gums, inner cheeks, palate or lips. They are most often small and painful.
What Causes Mouth Ulcers?
There are a few reasons why mouth ulcers can happen. One, for example, is from biting your tongue. Fortunately, these types may only occur once and may never return. Eating hard foods along with hot and acidic foods and drinks can also be the cause of a one-time mouth ulcer.
However, some, unfortunately, re-occur. For example, mouth ulcers that appear for no reason may be caused by stress, hormonal changes, bacterial, viral and fungal infections, certain foods, sharp braces and immune deficiency diseases like HIV.
Some people are also just prone to mouth ulcers due to mouth injuries, sharp teeth, intolerance to certain foods, allergies and genetics. Adolescents, women and people with a family history of mouth ulcers are at higher risk of developing them.
Signs The Condition May Be More Serious
Treatment of Mouth Ulcers
If your mouth ulcers are occasional and the pain is mild, there may be no need to treat them.
If the outburst and pain are more moderate to severe and interrupt your everyday life, your doctor can prescribe various products and purchase them from your local drugstore or pharmacy.
Herpetiform sores are most common in adults, are unusually large and occur in clusters of 10 to 100. They can be accompanied by a high fever, diarrhea and sores that last more than three weeks. If any of these symptoms develop, it is vital to see a doctor.
In general, mouth ulcers will go away on their own without treatment. However, if they are extremely painful, you can treat them with the following.
- Rinse with salt, water and baking soda.
- Dab milk of magnesia directly on the mouth sore.
- Cover the sore with a paste of baking.
- Apply an over-the-counter topical anesthetic such as Anbesol and Orajel.
- Believe it or not, ice can feel tremendous and lessen the pain.
- Use a mouth rinse that contains a steroid to reduce swelling and pain.
- Place a damp tea bag directly on the mouth ulcer.
- Add the vitamins like B-12, B-6, folic acid, iron and zinc to your supplement list. (Always check with the doctor before adding vitamins to any diet)
- Chamomile tea, Myrrh oil, echinacea and licorice root are natural ingredients that can help as well.
Mouth Ulcer Prevention
There are steps to reduce the occurrence of mouth ulcers. First, avoiding foods that irritate your mouth can be a start. That includes acidic fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits and pineapple. Also, avoid spicy foods like nuts and chips.
Choose alkaline (nonacidic) fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Incorporate a well-balanced, healthy diet into your daily schedule and take a daily multivitamin.
Do not chew too fast and hard to reduce accidental bites to the soft tissue in the mouth.
Maintain good oral hygiene, floss daily and brush after all meals when possible.
Finally, try to reduce stress and get a good night’s sleep. You will be preventing mouth ulcers and a host of other illnesses.
If you have dental or orthodontic mouth devices, your dentist can give you wax to cover the sharp edges.
Consult With a Dentist
Do you have a local dentist? Do you need one?
Dr. Paul Feldman at Suburban Essex Dental will warmly open his dental office doors to you. The entire dental staff is passionate, caring and want every dental patient to be comfortable at all times.
Contact Suburban Essex Dental in West Orange, New Jersey, to set up a dental consultation. You can also do it virtually if you would prefer. Join our long list of happy patients and see why Dr. Paul Feldman is continuously rated a “Top NJ Dentist.”