What are Mouth Ulcers and Effective Mouth Ulcer Treatments?

What are Mouth Ulcers and Effective Mouth Ulcer Treatments?

Canker sores – more commonly referred to as mouth ulcers – are painful round or oval ulcerations that appear inside the oral cavity. They can occur on the tongue, gums, and the inside of lips and cheeks. About 20% of the population suffer from recurrent mouth ulcers at some point in their lives. Fortunately, most ulcers do not require any kind of medical intervention and disappear naturally after a week to fourteen days.

Mouth ulcers should not be confused with cold sores, which typically occur around the outside of the mouth and are distinguishable by a tingling sensation as they begin to appear. Unlike cold sores, mouth ulcers are not contagious, so cannot be passed from person to person.

The most common type of ulcer is smaller than 1cm, and white in colour, but they can also appear yellow, red, and grey. Some ulcers, however, can grow larger than 1cm and have a raised edge. These might take longer to disappear and may even scar.

Causation is often difficult to identify, but some of the most common reasons for mouth ulcers are:

• Hereditary predisposition
• Damage to the inside of the mouth
• Certain foods and food intolerances (most commonly chocolate, nuts, strawberries, cheese, and wheat flour)
• Vitamin and mineral deficiencies (especially B12 and iron)
• Certain medical conditions
• Some medications
• Hormone changes
• Anxiety and stress

Identifying the likely reason for an outbreak may help you to reduce the chances of a reoccurrence.

All ulcers, however big or small, can be extremely painful, especially when eating or drinking. You may want to avoid hard and abrasive foods if you have an ulcer, as well as particularly hot and cold drinks. Drinking with a straw can also help to reduce irritation from fluids.

Mouth Ulcer Treatments

There are many mouth ulcer treatments available on the market. Most pharmacies and supermarkets will stock mouthwashes, gels and liquids which have been developed to temper pain and reduce the risk of an infection.

Many people also use a range of home remedies [link to blog on treatment at home] to aid the pain. Cooling agents such as ice (wrapped in paper towel to prevent ice touching the sore directly) and cold tea bags will temporarily relieve the pain.

It is important to monitor any mouth ulcers you have. This will help you to recognise which treatments your ulcers respond to best but will also ensure you are conscious of any major changes to the sore. Should an ulcer last for more than three weeks without any signs of healing, or if it becomes increasingly inflamed, then you might want to get some advice from a dentist, pharmacist, or your GP.

Mouth ulcers can be frustrating and inconvenient, but they very rarely develop into anything serious and are relatively quick to heal – especially if you employ some of the above mouth ulcer treatments.

Anbesol Adult Strength Gel, for mouth ulcer pain relief. Always read the label. Not for use in infant teething.

References:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/mouth-ulcers
https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/conditions/mouth-and-teeth/a3080/mouth-ulcers/
https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/mouth/mouth-ulcer

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