Mouth Ulcers/Canker Sores: Symptoms, Treatment and More | Dental care

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Mouth Ulcers/Canker Sores: Symptoms, Treatment and More

Mouth Ulcers/Canker Sores: Symptoms, Treatment and More

by Hibah Ahmad · January 7, 2021

Do you know the estimated global prevalence of mouth ulcers is 4%?

These may appear from time to time or you can go months without forming one.

Are mouth ulcers serious?

Usually the mouth ulcers go away on their own within a week or two but if you have abundance of ulcers and they keep appearing in recurrent fashion, then you should consider visiting your dentist.

There are few treatment options available along with medicinal prescriptions giving by dentist.

Hang in while we briefly discuss its types, symptoms, causes, treatment and all you need to know about it.



Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers are also referred as canker sores. These are the painful small lesions that form inside your mouth, mostly at the base of your gums.

This results in pain and uncomfortableness while drinking, eating and talking.

Moreover, women and adolescents with canker sores’ family history are more prone to developing them.

Let us discuss them in detail in this section.

Tongue with canker sores

Ulcers generally appear in the inner side of cheek and heal on their own within a week. Most of them are harmless and last for less than a week.

Types of Ulcers

Majorly there are three types of canker sores and these include the following,

1. Herpetiform ulceration (HU)

This is the subtype of the most common aphthous ulcer and they are named due to their similarity in appearance with sores caused by herpes simplex.

They are very rare and represent tiny clusters of ulcers. However, they are not contagious like herpes but they are very frequent and reoccur.

Sometimes, it may seem as the situation never gets better.

2. Minor Ulcers

These are the type of mouth ulcers that range in size from 2mm up to 8mm roughly. These result in minor pain and inconvenience.

Moreover, they can take up to 2 weeks for recovery.

3. Major Ulcers

This type includes the ulcers that bigger than the minor ones with irregular shape and slightly raised as compared to the former.

Moreover, they may damage the tissue more deeply than the minor ones and they are less common.

The recovery time taken by these ulcers can be up to several weeks and often they leave a scar behind.

When To See a Doctor?

You should consider going for a checkup if,

  • Extraordinarily large ulcers in mouth
  • Appearance of new ulcers before the old ones heal
  • Ulcers persisting more than 3 consecutive weeks
  • Painless sores
  • Ulcers extending outside your mouth
  • Uncontrolled pain even after taking pain killers
  • Severe hinderance while eating, drinking or talking
  • High fever and diarrhea along with ulcers


What Causes Mouth Ulcers?

The exact reasons for ulcers in mouth are still unknown and it highly varies from one person to another.

But still there are certain factors and causes that may contribute to these ulcers.

So, without further delaying it, let us just dive into the possible reason for mouth ulcer.

causes of mouth ulcers

The following are some risk factors that can worsen the condition caused by an ulcer,

  • Smoking
  • Excessive intake of citrus fruits like lemon and orange or foods that are high in acid and spice content
  • Accidentally biting your inner cheek or tongue
  • Braces, dentures with poor fitting or any foreign apparatus in mouth can result in irritation
  • An improper filling
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Hormonal changes related to female reproductive system
  • Pain killer or other medicines
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Allergic response to the bacteria in your mouth
  • toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulphate

Sometimes, ulcers may result from a variety of medical illnesses or deficiencies in nutrition like,

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Iron deficiency
  • Diabetes
  • Behcet’s disease
  • Gum disease
  • Recurrent aphthous stomatitis
  • Hand foot and mouth disease

However, you can check our vitamin drip if your body lacks important vitamin B12 or iron deficiency and you feel lethargic and tired all the time.

Difference Between Mouth Ulcers and Cold Sores

Mouth ulcers and cold sores are not the same things.

The cold sores are a type of herpes, also referred to as fever blisters. These are extremely painful blisters filled with fluid.

Unlike mouth ulcers, cold sores are caused by a virus and it can spread easily to other people around.

Lastly, the cold sores appear outside your mouth whereas the canker sores appear inside your mouth.


Symptoms of Mouth Ulcers

How do you identify if you have mouth ulcers?

Pain is one of the major symptoms of ulcers in mouth.

However, the canker sores can be painless sometimes but certain factors like food or bad oral cleaning can induce pain.

Let us explore more factors that may contribute as symptoms of ulcers in your mouth.

symptoms of mouth ulcers

Common Symptoms

The common symptoms of mouth ulcers include,

  • Highly painful lesions in the mouth
  • Frequent recurrence makes it seem that the infection doesn’t go away
  • Gradual increase in its size
  • Healing takes more than 10 days
  • The lesions appear anywhere inside your mouth

However, they are found in all genders at all ages but it is more common in females and adults.

Symptoms of Minor and Major Ulcers

The symptoms related to minor and major ulcers include the following,

  • Can be several sores but at least one that appears on the roof of your mouth, cheeks or the tongue.
  • A tingling or painful feeling before the ulcer actually appears.
  • The sores are red in colour and round in shape.
  • They appear red on the edges and at the mid they are yellow, white or grey.

Moreover, severe mouth ulcers can also result in,

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fatigue


Mouth Ulcer Treatment

The mouth ulcers usually heal on their own and the pain fades away with it without any medical treatment.

However, if the pain and ulcer prolongs for more than a week, it is advisable to visit your dentist.

A number of treatments can help reduce the pain and symptoms of these ulcers.

Let us take a look at different diagnostic procedures and treatment options for ulcers in this section.

Treatment of mouth ulcers

Diagnosis of Mouth Ulcers

The diagnosis of canker sores usually involve the visual examination of your the site of sore.

The doctor may perform physical examination or take a brief medical history for a better diagnosis related to ulcers in your mouth.

However, if you are facing frequent painful sores and recurring fever, then the doctor might ask you for blood test and examine if these are resulting from any other medical condition.

It is important to get your ulcer checked which lasts up to a few weeks. As in some cases the long lasting mouth ulcers can result in oral cancer also known as mouth cancer.

So, it’s always good to get it examined if it lasts longer.


However, most ulcers in mouth do not need a medical treatment but there are a number of treatment options that can reduce the symptoms and considerably increase the healing process. These include,

1. Mouth Ulcer Gel

The mouth ulcer gels can be used to reduce the friction and pain caused by the sores and allow it to heal faster than the normal.

2. Mouth Ulcer Medicine

The medicines for ulcer that is sucralfate and gout disease that is colchicine can be used for the treatment of mouth ulcers.

However, certain steroid pills can also be advised by your doctor but these can be harmful in some cases.

Therefore, don not try self prescription without consulting your doctor.

3. Mouthwashes

The doctor may prescribe you a mouthwash if you have canker sores. These are medicinal mouthwashes with contents such as steroids or painkillers.

4. Nutritional Supplements

These can be used in case of ulcers resulting from nutritional deficiency.

5. Cautery

Dental lasers involve usage of certain chemicals to treat the ulcers in your mouth. These can help in relieving pain instantly.


Home Remedies for Mouth Ulcers

Don’t feel like going to a dentist for oral checkup?

There a few home remedies that you can use for treating mouth ulcers.

However, these are not ultimate treatments but these can help relieve your pain and lessen the pain caused by sores.

Let us discuss how you can treat mouth ulcers at home.

Home remedies to treat canker sores

It’s unlikely that any home remedy would treat your mouth ulcers overnight. Moreover, these are not medically proven so use these with caution.

To be on a safer side, you can use these after discussing from your doctor.

1. Salt Water

You can treat your mouth sores by simply rising it with salt water. However, it can be painful for any of ulcers but it helps in drying out ulcers in your mouth.

Directions for its use include,

  1. Add 1 teaspoon salt in half glass of warm water.
  2. Thoroughly swirl it in your mouth for up to half a minute and then spit it.
  3. Repeat the same procedure every few hours to get good results.

2. Yogurt

However, the reason of mouth ulcers is unknown but in some cases the cause may be the bacteria that causes bowel disease.

Therefore, if the sores is caused by that particular bacteria then the probiotic cultures in yogurt can help reducing the symptoms.

Eat at least 1 cup yogurt to prevent mouth ulcers.

3. Baking Soda Rinse

Baking soda is very helpful in restoring the pH balance in your mouth and it reduces the inflammation caused by canker sores.

Directions for its use include,

  • Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda in half glass of water
  • Throughly swirl it in your mouth up to half a minute and then spit it.
  • Repeat it after several hours, as needed.

Other home remedies include the use of,

  • Honey
  • Alum powder
  • Coconut oil
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Milk of magnesia
  • Echinacea

You can reduce the appearance of ulcers in your mouth by taking just few steps. Try avoiding the food items that initiate the sores and cause irritation.

These can include acidic foods acidic fruits as well as food items with extra spice and chilli.

Try to eat healthy and balanced diet having all the important nutrients that your body needs.

Moreover, if the sores are caused by various dental apparatus then communicate with your dentist. He might offer you some wax to cover the dental mouth devices with sharp edges.

Contact here if you are looking for the best dentist around you.

Hope you got answers to all your questions related to mouth ulcers. Let me know in the comments section below that which part proved to be the most helpful for you.

Your feedback and suggestions are always appreciated.

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