Mouth Ulcers – What you need to know

Mouth Ulcers

Have you ever had a painful spot inside your mouth? Mouth ulcers, those pesky sores that can make talking and eating a real challenge, affect countless Aussies. Our blog post dives into what causes these irritations and how to manage them effectively.

Keep reading – relief might be just around the corner.

Key Takeaways

– Mouth ulcers are painful sores inside the mouth that last about 1 – 2 weeks. They aren’t caused by herpes and aren’t contagious.
– Common causes of these ulcers include minor injuries, stress, hormonal changes, and eating acidic foods. Brushing gently with a soft toothbrush can help avoid them.
– If mouth ulcers don’t heal in three weeks or if you get new ones often, see a healthcare provider as they could signal something serious.
– Good oral hygiene and avoiding spicy or acidic foods can prevent mouth ulcers. Stress management also helps.
– Treatments for mouth ulcers include numbing gels like Orajel™, steroid ointments, antiseptic mouthwashes, salt water rinses, and painkillers following a doctor’s advice.

Understanding Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers are painful sores that can occur on the inside of the mouth, lips, or tongue. They can make eating and speaking uncomfortable, and usually last for about a week to 10 days.

Understanding their symptoms and causes is important for proper management and treatment.

Definition of Mouth Ulcers
Canker sores, also called mouth ulcers or aphthous ulcers, are small lesions that can appear on the inside of your cheeks, lips, tongue or gums. They often start as a red spot or bump then turn into an open ulcer.

The centre of a canker sore might look white or yellow and it’s typically surrounded by a bright red area. These painful spots make eating and talking uncomfortable.

Mouth ulcers form on the mucous membrane lining inside the mouth. Unlike cold sores, they aren’t caused by the herpes virus and aren’t contagious. You won’t spread them through kissing or sharing drinks with someone else.

They’re common but can greatly affect daily life due to discomfort and pain when eating spicy foods or acidic drinks.

Symptoms of Mouth Ulcers
– Mouth ulcers are not just spots in your mouth. They can signal something bigger about your oral health. Here are some symptoms you might notice:

– You see sores inside your mouth. These sores have red edges and might be white, yellow, or gray in the centre.
– Your mouth feels sore. Eating, drinking, and talking might hurt because of these spots.
– A tingling or burning feeling happens before the ulcers appear. Your mouth feels uncomfortable even before you see any sores.
– The gums look swollen around the ulcer. This swelling can make it hard to brush your teeth without pain.
– Some people get bigger ulcers that take longer to heal. These can really hurt and take weeks to go away.
– You could have fever blisters too. Fever blisters are different from ulcers but can show up at the same time.
– When you brush your teeth, it might cause pain if an ulcer is there. Brushing should be gentle to avoid making it worse.

Causes of Mouth Ulcers

– Mouth ulcers can be caused by various factors, including trauma or injury to the mouth, viral infections like herpes simplex, and autoimmune diseases such as Behçet’s disease. Other less common causes may include gastrointestinal issues, hormonal changes, and emotional stress.

Common Causes
Mouth ulcers can be irritating and painful. They often pop up due to several common factors.

– Minor injuries inside your mouth can lead to ulcers. This might happen from biting your cheek, sharp tooth edges, or dental work like braces.
– Acidic foods such as lemons, pineapples, and tomatoes can trigger these sores. Try avoiding these if you get ulcers often.
– Stress makes our bodies react in unexpected ways. It can cause ulcers to form in some people’s mouths.
– Hormonal changes, especially during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, often result in mouth ulcers for women.
– Certain health conditions are linked with the appearance of mouth ulcers. These include vitamin deficiencies like lack of vitamin B, infections that weaken the immune system, and gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn’s disease.
– Wearing braces or retainers sometimes irritates the inside of the mouth. This irritation can turn into an ulcer.
– Harsh toothpaste with strong chemicals might harm your delicate mouth lining. Choose milder alternatives if you’re prone to ulcers.
– Lastly, eating spicy or acidic foods leads to discomfort and possibly sores in your mouth.

Less Common Causes
Mouth ulcers can happen for many reasons. Sometimes, they are caused by less common health issues.

– Oral lichen planus is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the mucous membranes inside your mouth. It can lead to painful sores and white, lacy patches.
– Leukoplakia involves thick white patches on the gums, the floor of the mouth, or the inside of the cheeks. It’s often linked to smoking or other irritants.
– Erythroplakia shows up as red patches in the mouth which can be smooth or velvety. This condition might become cancerous if not checked by a health professional.
– Oral thrush is a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans. It leads to creamy white lesions on your tongue or inner cheeks.
– Mouth cancer represents a serious concern with ulcers that do not heal. Look for long-lasting sores, especially if they’re painless or bleed easily.

Diagnosing Mouth Ulcers

When to See a Healthcare Provider: If you have persistent mouth ulcers that do not heal within 2 weeks, it is important to see your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider: You may want to ask about the possible causes of your mouth ulcers, how to alleviate discomfort and ways to prevent future outbreaks.

When to See a Healthcare Provider
Mouth ulcers can be a nuisance, but sometimes they’re a sign of something more serious. It’s important to know when to get help from a healthcare provider.

– You should see a healthcare provider if you have sores that don’t heal after three weeks.
– Book an appointment with your healthcare provider if new mouth ulcers pop up before the old ones are gone.
– If the ulcers are on the outer part of your lips, it’s time for a professional look.
– Visit your healthcare provider if you experience persistent pain or have unusually large mouth sores.
– Seek medical advice if you find painless sores in your mouth.
– Go to your healthcare provider if you have a fever or diarrhea along with mouth ulcers.

Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
Talking to your healthcare provider is key in understanding and treating mouth ulcers. Prepare your questions to make the most of your visit.

Treatment Options for Mouth Ulcers

For mouth ulcers, a healthcare provider may recommend special gels that numb the pain. These include Orajel™ or Anbesol® which help soothe the sore area. Sometimes doctors suggest steroid ointments like triamcinolone to reduce swelling and speed up healing.

If mouth ulcers are very bad, a doctor might prescribe medicines that calm down the immune system.

Some people also use antiseptic mouthwashes to keep their mouth clean and avoid infections in the ulcer. Home treatments such as rinsing with salt water can help too. In cases where ulcers hurt a lot, over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen offer relief.

It’s important to follow the directions on these medications carefully and only use them as advised by your healthcare provider.

The Connection Between Mouth Ulcers and Oral Cancer

Mouth ulcers can be more than just a painful annoyance; they could also signal something serious like oral cancer. Certain mouth ulcers, such as erythroplakia, show up as red areas that could turn into cancer.

These patches are often flat and may have a slightly raised border. They aren’t painful like regular mouth sores but should not be ignored.

A key sign that a mouth ulcer might be linked to oral cancer is if it doesn’t heal after three weeks. It’s critical to see a healthcare provider for any sore that sticks around longer than this time frame.

A professional can check the ulcer and determine if it’s precancerous or benign. Regular dental checkups help spot these changes early when they’re most treatable.

Preventing Mouth Ulcers

After understanding the potential risks associated with mouth ulcers and oral cancer, it’s important to take preventive measures to avoid developing them. Here are some key ways to prevent mouth ulcers:

1. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing regularly.
2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reduce the risk of irritation or injury to the mouth.
3. Avoid foods that can trigger or irritate mouth ulcers, such as acidic or spicy foods.
4. Ensure dentures fit properly and have regular dental check-ups to address any oral issues promptly.
5. Manage stress levels as stress can exacerbate or contribute to the development of mouth ulcers.
6. Identify and address any food sensitivities or allergies that could be contributing to the occurrence of mouth ulcers.
7. Stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day to maintain overall oral health.

Living with Mouth Ulcers

Living with mouth ulcers can be uncomfortable, making it difficult to eat or talk. It’s important to avoid spicy, acidic, or rough-textured foods that could irritate the sores. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help manage the discomfort from mouth ulcers.

Maintaining good oral hygiene by gently brushing teeth and using a soft-bristled toothbrush can aid in preventing further irritation. Drinking plenty of water helps keep the mouth moist and aids in the healing process.

Additionally, avoiding tobacco and reducing stress can contribute to faster healing of mouth ulcers. In severe cases where eating is challenging due to painful ulcers, seeking advice from a healthcare provider for alternative nutrition options is advisable.

Seeking emotional support if feeling distressed due to recurrent mouth ulcers can also be beneficial.Next Topic: Conclusion.

Understanding mouth ulcers is essential for recognising their symptoms and seeking timely treatment. Various causes, from minor injuries to underlying health conditions, can lead to the development of mouth ulcers.
By prioritising oral hygiene and seeking medical advice when needed, it’s possible to manage and prevent mouth ulcers effectively. Stay informed about the potential triggers and treatments for mouth ulcers to maintain good oral health. If you need help with ulcers in Sydney, you can book an appointment at any of our clinics at Parramatta, Lindfield, Bella Vista, Narellan and Eastwood–.3

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