Mouth ulcers

What are mouth ulcers?

Mouth ulcers are sores that appear in the mouth anywhere from the lips, tongue, or cheeks. They can appear as swollen white lumps or abrasions with a red or pink border surrounding it. Although they may cause discomfort, most ulcers are not sinister, however if you have an unexplained ulcer which does not go away within two weeks, it is vital that you see your dentist as it could be a sign of something more serious.

What causes and prevents mouth ulcers?

Mouth ulcers typically can be avoided; however, ulcers can develop from uncontrollable causes in some cases. Some of the most common causes of mouth ulcers are:
  • Biting the inside of the cheek.
  • Stress, anxiety, and tiredness.
  • Hurting the mouth whilst eating; cutting or burning the mouth on food and drinks.
  • Brushing teeth and mouth too hard.
  • Ill-fitting braces or dentures.
  • Rough filling or a sharp tooth.
  • Genetics.
  • Allergens and irritating foods.
  • Conditions such as lichen planus.
  • Deficiencies in vitamins such as iron, B12 and folate.

How to treat mouth ulcers?

To help speed up the process of healing your mouth ulcer, you will need to maintain your oral hygiene. This will include brushing your teeth, gums, and tongue gently for no less than two minutes. You will then want to use a mouth wash, preferably an antimicrobial one as that will decrease the chance of infection.

Avoid eating food that are hot, acidic, salty, spicy, or hard food and drinks until the mouth ulcer has healed.

Should your ulcer persist, become infected or keep coming back after healing you will likely be prescribed painkilling sprays, ointments, tablets, and gels. Other treatments include steroid tablets, sprays, and prescribed mouthwashes.

How to spot mouth ulcers/Symptoms?

An ulcer will potentially cause some discomfort and feel slightly sore. They typically are white or grey in appearance with a red or pink border, swollen and found on the inner cheek, gums, tongue and lips.

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