Mouth Ulcers : Causes and Treatments

What are mouth ulcers?

A mouth ulcer is a painful sore in the mouth. It appears on the tongue, the lips, and the gums or inside the cheeks. The first sign of the ulcer may be a tingling, burning sensation inside the mouth. They can occur either single or in clusters. They are usually white or yellow in color, surrounded by red halos. Usually they heal within 7 to 10 days.

Common Causes of Mouth ulcers

  • Nutritional deficiencies such as iron, vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and C
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Food allergies
  • Stress
  • Infections particularly herpes simplex
  • Biting the cheek
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Bowel disease
  • Skin disease
  • Coeliac disease (intolerance to a protein called gluten, found in wheat, rye and barley)
  • Crohn's disease
  • Reiter's syndrome (urethral discharge followed by conjunctivitis and arthritis)
  • HIV infection

 What are the symptoms?

  • A round sore or sores inside the mouth
  • Swollen and red skin around the sores
  • Tenderness
  • Problems with chewing or toothbrushing because of the tenderness
  • Irritation of the sores by salty, spicy or sour foods
  • Loss of appetite

How are mouth ulcers treated?
Fortunately, most mouth ulcers do not need specific treatment and heal naturally without medication they heal within 7 to 10 days. You can help a mouth ulcer to heal faster by using a soft toothbrush and avoiding hard foods. By keeping mouth clean and healthy.

Treatment includes:
 Topical antihistamines, antacids, corticosteroids, topical anaesthesia or applications meant to soothe painful ulcers may be helpful.  Oral supplements of vitamin B12 and C , iron can be taken.

Ulcers persisting longer than three weeks may require the attention of a medical practitioner.

Some Home Remedies for Mouth Ulcers

  • Extract the milk of coconut and gargle with this 3-4 times a day.
  • Keep 1 glass of chilled water and 1 glass of hot water ready at hand. Gargle alternately with hot and cold water.
  • Boil 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup fenugreek leaves and remove. Cover and keep for sometime. Strain the water and gargle 2-3 times a day.
  • Boil 1 tsp of coriander seeds in 1 cup of water. Remove when slightly warm gargle. Repeat 3-4 times a day.
  • Chew on 5-6 tulsi leaves and sip some water. Repeat 5-6 times a day.
  • Eating raw tomatoes helps rid mouth ulcers. Can also gargle with tomato juice 3-4 times a day.
  • Mix 7 parts of sugar candy (mishri) with 1 part of camphor. Apply on the blister.
  • Mix a pinch of turmeric powder to 1 tsp glycerine and apply.

Things to be remembered :

  • A mouth ulcer is the loss or erosion of the delicate epithilium lining tissue of the mouth (mucus membrane).
  • The most common cause is mechanical injury, such as accidentally biting your cheek.
  • In most cases, mouth ulcers are harmless and resolve by themselves in a few days without the need for medical treatment.
  • Aphthous ulcers are recurring ulcers with no known cause that affect around 20 per cent of the population.
  • If your mouth ulcers don’t clear up within a few days, or if you are troubled by frequent attacks, see your doctor.

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