Mouth Ulcer


Mouth ulcers are the painful sores that appear in the mouth. Women, adolescents and people with a family history of mouth ulcers are at higher risk for developing mouth ulcers.  Although they are uncomfortable, they are usually harmless and most of them clear up by themselves within a week or two. Mouth ulcers also known as canker sores are normally small, painful lesions that develop in your mouth or at the base of your gums. They can make eating, drinking and talking uncomfortable. Mouth ulcers range in size, and the exact symptoms of the mouth ulcer will depend on what type of ulcer a person has. These sores can appear on any of the soft tissues of your mouth, including your lips, cheeks, gums, tongue and floor and roof of your mouth. You can even develop mouth sores on your esophagus, the tube leading to your stomach.

 Types of Mouth Ulcer

There are three types of canker sores: minor, major and herpetiform.

  • Minor

Minor canker sores are small oval or round ulcers that heal within one to two weeks with no scarring. This type can range in size from about 2 millimeters (mm) up to 8 mm across. These ulcers typically take up to 2 weeks to get better and will cause minor pain.

  • Major

Major canker sores are larger and deeper than minor ones. They have irregular edges, shapes and can take up to six weeks to heal. Major mouth ulcers can result in long-term scarring. They can take several weeks to go away and are likely to leave scar tissue when they clear.

  • Herpetiform

Herpetiform canker sores are pinpoint size, occur in clusters of 10 to 100, and often affect adults. This type of mouth ulcer has irregular edges and will often heal without scarring within one to two weeks. Unlike herpes, HU is not contagious. HU ulcers recur very quickly and it may appear that the condition never gets better.

Causes for mouth ulcer

The exact cause of mouth ulcers is still not known and varies from person-to-person. Still, there are some common causes and several factors that may aggravate mouth ulcers including the following:

  • Quitting smoking.
  • Citrus fruits and other foods high in acidity or spice.
  • Bite your tongue, cheek or lip.
  • Food sensitivities to acidic foods like strawberries, citrus and pineapples and other trigger foods like chocolate and coffee.
  • Lack of essential vitamins, especially B-12, zinc, folate and iron.
  • Brush your teeth too hard or use a very firm toothbrush.
  • Braces, poor-fitting dentures and other apparatus that may rub against the mouth and gums.
  • A deficient filling.
  • Stress or anxiety.
  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infections.
  • Allergic response to mouth bacteria.
  • In case of a deficient filling.
  • Dental braces.
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy, puberty and menopause.
  • Medications including beta-blockers and pain killers.
  • By biting the tongue or in the inside of the cheek.
  • Genetic factors.
  • Emotional stress or lack of sleep.
  • Minor mouth injury from dental work, hard brushing, sports injury or accidental bite.
  • Toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.

Symptoms for Mouth Ulcer

Depending on the size, severity, and location of the sores in your mouth, they can make it difficult to eat, drink, swallow, talk or breathe. The sores may also develop blisters. Ulcers can be painful and the pain can be made worse by food, drink and poor oral hygiene.

  • Appear as extremely painful ulcers in the mouth.
  • One or more painful sores on part of the skin lining the mouth.
  • Recur very quickly, so infections seem continuous.
  • Swollen skin around the sores.
  • Frequent outbreaks of mouth sores.
  • Increase in size, eventually coming together to form a large, ragged ulcer.
  • Take 10 or more days to heal.
  • Problems with chewing or tooth brushing because of the tenderness
  • Appear anywhere in the mouth.
  • Irritation of the sores by salty, spicy or sour foods.
  • Loss of appetite.

They tend to be found in more females than males and are more common in older adults.

Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Using a rinse of saltwater and baking soda.
  • Started cancer treatment.
  • Recently had transplant surgery.
  • Have sores that don’t go away or get worse after a couple of weeks.
  • Eat ice, ice pops, sherbet or other cold foods.
  • Placing milk of magnesia on the mouth ulcer.
  • Recently had transplant surgery.
  • Covering mouth ulcers with baking soda paste.
  • Using over-the-counter benzocaine (topical anesthetic) products.
  • Applying ice to canker sores.
  • Gently dab on a solution that is 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 1 part water.
  • Have white patches on your sores.
  • Using a mouth rinse that contains a steroid to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Using topical pastes.
  • Avoid squeezing or picking at the sores or blisters.
  • Placing damp tea bags on your mouth ulcer.
  • Taking nutritional supplements like folic acid, vitamin B-6, vitamin B12 and zinc.

If you see your healthcare provider for your mouth sores, they may prescribe a pain medication, anti-inflammatory drug or steroid gel.

Home remedies for Mouth Ulcer:

  • Apply some honey on the ulcer and let it stay.
  • Coconut oil treats ulcers naturally.
  • Mix the salt in the water and gargle thoroughly with it.
  • Apply the paste on your ulcer using a Q-tip.
  • Turmeric can be used to treat mouth ulcers in children.
  • Curd and buttermilk are great remedies for mouth ulcers in children.
  • Chewing basil leaves (tulsi) is another great remedy for mouth ulcers.
  • Vitamin C boosts your immune system and helps your body fight all kinds of infections, including mouth ulcers.
  • Cold foods can soothe your child’s ulcer pain. Toddlers can eat ice cream for instant relief. Ice cream is a medicine that your child will never say no to.

Hope this Symptoms and cure article will be helpful to all. Do not forget to share your valuable suggestions if any.

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