Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores or aphthous ulcers, are painful sores that develop on the inside of the mouth.

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What are Mouth Ulcers?

Mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores or aphthous ulcers, are painful sores that develop on the inside of the mouth. They can appear as small, round, or oval lesions with a white or yellowish centre and a red border. Mouth ulcers can cause discomfort while eating, speaking, or brushing the teeth.

Causes of Mouth Ulcers:

The exact cause of mouth ulcers is not fully understood, but several factors can contribute to their development, including:

  • Trauma or Injury: Accidental biting of the tongue, cheek, or lip, or other injuries to the mouth, can lead to the formation of ulcers.
  • Oral Hygiene: Poor oral hygiene practices, including infrequent brushing or the use of aggressive brushing techniques, can irritate the soft tissues in the mouth, increasing the risk of ulcers.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Insufficient intake of essential nutrients, such as iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, or zinc, can contribute to the development of mouth ulcers.
  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during menstruation, can make some individuals more susceptible to mouth ulcers.
  • Immune System Disorders: Certain immune system disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, or Behcet’s disease, can increase the risk of developing mouth ulcers.
  • Allergies: Allergic reactions to certain foods, dental products, or oral care ingredients can trigger the formation of ulcers.
  • Stress: Emotional stress or anxiety can weaken the immune system and increase the likelihood of mouth ulcers.

Symptoms of Mouth Ulcers:

The symptoms of mouth ulcers can vary but often include:

  • Pain or Discomfort: Mouth ulcers can be painful, causing discomfort or a burning sensation in the affected area.
  • Redness and Swelling: The surrounding area of the ulcer may appear red and swollen.
  • White or Yellowish Centre: The centre of the ulcer is typically white or yellowish, with a red border.

Treatment Options for Mouth Ulcers:

Most mouth ulcers heal on their own within one to two weeks without specific treatment. However, there are measures that can help alleviate symptoms and promote healing:

  • Over-the-Counter Gels or Ointments: Applying an over-the-counter gel or ointment specifically formulated for mouth ulcers can help relieve pain and protect the ulcer from further irritation.
  • Topical Analgesics: Using topical analgesics, such as benzocaine, can provide temporary pain relief.
  • Oral Rinses: Rinsing the mouth with a saltwater solution or an antimicrobial mouthwash can help keep the ulcer clean and promote healing.
  • Avoiding Irritants: Avoiding spicy, acidic, or rough-textured foods that can further irritate the ulcer is advisable.
  • Good Oral Hygiene: Maintaining proper oral hygiene practices, including gentle brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and regular flossing, can help prevent infection and promote healing.
  • Nutritional Supplements: If nutritional deficiencies are contributing to mouth ulcers, supplements, or dietary changes to ensure adequate intake of necessary nutrients may be recommended.

If mouth ulcers are recurrent, persist for more than two weeks, or are accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s important to seek professional dental or medical advice for a proper evaluation and appropriate treatment.

In conclusion, mouth ulcers are painful sores that can develop inside the mouth. Several factors, such as trauma, poor oral hygiene, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, immune system disorders, allergies, and stress, can contribute to their development. Most ulcers heal on their own within one to two weeks, but over-the-counter gels, oral rinses, and good oral hygiene practices can help alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Persistent or recurring ulcers should be evaluated by a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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