How to Treat Mouth Ulcers and What Causes Them

Oral diseases affect more than 3.5 billion people worldwide. Some of the most common conditions include cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and oral cancer.

Mouth ulcers are relatively common as well. According to the United States Surgeon General, they affect up to 25% of the general population.

Is that what you’re dealing with right now? Looking for a guide on how to treat mouth ulcers?

If so, look no further. We’ve put together everything that you need to know about the condition below.

Keep reading to learn more about the topic!

What Are Mouth Ulcers? 

Mouth ulcers, or canker sores, are small lesions that occur on the inside of the mouth. For example, they can develop on the inside of your cheeks and lips. They can also appear on the gums, tongue, and on the roof of the mouth.

While they’re mostly harmless, they can be extremely painful—to the point where they can affect your ability to eat, drink, and talk.

The good news is that they usually resolve by themselves within a couple of weeks. If they persist, however, you may want to see a doctor (consider searching for an ‘oral pathologist in my area‘).

Common Causes of Mouth Ulcers

The exact cause of canker sores is unknown. However, some contributing factors have been identified. For example, they may be triggered by minor injuries in the mouth (e.g. accidental bites), toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate, and acidic foods such as pineapples and chocolate.

Stress, lack of sleep, and hormonal changes may play a role as well. The same goes for nutritional deficiencies, especially folic acid, zinc, vitamin B12, and iron.

Rarely, the ulcers can be a sign of a more serious condition such as diabetes mellitus, celiac disease, celiac disease, and HIV/AIDs.

Mouth Ulcer Treatment Options

Mouth ulcers don’t usually need treatment. With that said, there are a few things that you can do to alleviate symptoms.

For example, you can rinse your mouth with salt water and baking soda. Dabbing a small amount of milk of magnesia on the lesion a few times a day can also help; it’ll neutralize the acid in your mouth and coat the sore, which will help reduce pain.

There are also over-the-counter products that you can use such as topical anesthetics. For those with severe or persistent canker sores, however, prescription medications may be necessary.

Mouth Ulcer Prevention Tips

Avoid eating spicy, acidic, or abrasive foods (e.g. nuts, chips) as they may irritate your mouth. Opt for alkaline fruits and vegetables instead such as broccoli, spinach, cucumber, apples, and bananas.

Take a daily multivitamin if you have to.

And be careful when you’re chewing your food. Try not to talk if you can—that’ll lower the risk of accidental bites, which can trigger the development of lesions.

Knowing How to Treat Mouth Ulcers

Now you know how to treat mouth ulcers! As you can see, there are a few ways to deal with them—from saltwater rinses to prescription medications. At the end of the day, it all depends on how severe they are.

Was the information in this article helpful? For more guides like this, check out the rest of our health section

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