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Mouth ulcers

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Mouth ulcers or canker sores are lesions that erupt on the soft tissues of mouth, inside the cheeks, under the tongue or palate or on the base of the gums. They can be painful and can pose difficulty in eating and talking. However they usually go away within a week. We explain you the details the upcoming content.

Symptoms associated with mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers can be easily identified by their characteristic white or yellowish colour oval shaped lesions surrounded by redness on the skin. Such ulcers are called minor ulcers and are the most common types while major mouth ulcers are bigger in size with raised edges and can last for more than 6 weeks causing scarring inside mouth.

Herpetiform ulcers are rarely occurring type of mouth ulcers. They are a cluster of very painful tiny sores t come together to form one big sore.

Some individuals have fever on having mouth ulcers.

When to see a doctor?

Normally, the sores disappear on own. You need to see a doctor if numerous sores have infected your mouth causing terrible pain inside your oral cavity, if they have grown large, you face tremendous difficulty in eating or moving your mouth and they do not seem to disappear or recur frequently.

Causes of mouth sores

There are several reasons that can lead to occurrence of sores inside the mouth. They are:

  • Injury inside the mouth while brushing, wearing dentures, chewing food, biting cheek, etc.
  • Over eating spicy and acidic food (strawberries, lemon, beverages, chocolates), peanuts, cheese, etc.
  • Bacterial infection by Helicobacter sps. and fungal infection
  • Deficiency of vitamin B 12, iron, zinc and folic acid
  • Sensitivity to sodium lauryl sulphate present in toothpaste and mouth rinses
  • Hormonal changes, emotional stress
  • Smoking, chewing tobacco
  • From gum infection or gum disease
  • Recurrent ulcers can also come from family history

Diagnosis of mouth ulcers  

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There are no diagnostic tests for mouth ulcers and they can be easily identified by their characteristic appearance. However, your doctor may suggest additional medical tests (like complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate test) when the sores recur or to check vitamin levels of your body.

Treatment of mouth ulcers

The ulcers generally disappear on own with some home remedies. However if they are large and painful then your doctor would suggest medicines (e.g. corticosteroids), topical ointment and anti microbial mouth rinses to cure the sores.

You need to take the medicines and apply the ointment as directed by your doctor. Vitamin supplements may also be given additionally to make you immune to mouth ulcers.

Home remedies for mouth ulcers

You need to take a little bit of care at home to speed up the healing process. Try the following home remedies for mouth ulcers:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm saline water
  • Compress the sores gently with ice
  • Avoid eating spicy and acidic foods. You can have cold soft foods like ice creams
  • Brush gently and be careful to not bruise your mouth
  • Do not smoke or chew tobacco products to get long term benefits

Take care of your nutrition and make sure they are rich in vitamins and minerals. Mouth ulcers should be a cause of grave concern. Follow the treatment to get rid of them quickly.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 17, 2015