What Causes Mouth Ulcers?

What are Mouth Ulcers?


A mouth ulcer is a painful sore that appears inside your mouth. They are most common on the inside of your lips or cheeks, but can also appear on your tongue, your gums or the roof of your mouth.


What are the Most Common Causes?


A mouth ulcer is usually caused by damage caused by your teeth, either from accidentally biting a part of your mouth or from constantly rubbing against your teeth. A mouth ulcer can also be caused by inadequate brushing or poorly fitting dentures.

These kinds of ulcers are called ‘traumatic ulcers’ and are the easiest to treat. Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis is a condition that manifests as a number of recurring ulcers in the mouth. If you have a few ulcers that look relatively ordinary but keep coming back, it is likely that you suffer from this condition. 


What are the Less Common Causes?


Mouth ulcers can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections (such as Herpes Simplex), blood disorders (like Anaemia), or from gastrointestinal or skin-related conditions. Sometimes, a mouth ulcer can be the only symptom of an underlying illness.


Which Type Do I Have?


Minor ulcers are the most common form of ulcer and are about the size of the top of a pencil. They appear most commonly on the inside of the lips and cheeks and can appear in groups of four to six at any one time.

Large ulcers are similar to minor ulcers, but are rarer, larger and can take longer to heal. If an ulcer persists after three weeks, consult a dentist. Large ulcers can also appear near the tonsils and cause pain when swallowing. Luckily, it is very rare to get more than one large ulcer at a time. It is also fairly common to get a large number of very small, painful ulcers that last for up to two weeks. This kind of ulcer is also quite rare and is usually caused by underlying issues.

If you have developed ulcers on any other part of your body, such as eyes or genital area, consult a dentist and seek advice. These symptoms can be indicators of a more severe underlying condition.


How Do I Get Rid Of It?


For mouth ulcers that have no major underlying cause, there are many forms of treatment. These can range from oral suspension medicines, direct application fluids or simply swilling warm salt water around the affected area. If an ulcer has lasted more than three weeks, seek advice from your dental or medical professionals. They can then identify the cause of your ulcers and provide you with treatment, or even visit a specialist depending on the condition.


How Do I Prevent It?


Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting mouth ulcers:


  • Keep your mouth clean with mouthwash and dental floss
  • Brush your teeth two to three times per day
  • Brush your teeth gently but firmly with high-quality brushes
  • Visiting your dentist regularly and asking for guidance with any concerns
  • Check that your teeth are not causing discomfort to any part of your mouth
  • Eat a healthy diet, rich in vitamins A, C & E
  • Eat a balanced amount of fresh fruit and vegetables


Can I Catch Them?


In the case of minor mouth ulcers caused by common causes, you don’t need to worry about catching ulcers from things like kissing or sharing drinks. However, with virulent or bacterial infections, the infection can spread via the exchange of bodily fluids.


When Do I Need To Worry?


Even without treatment, most common mouth ulcers disappear within three weeks on their own. If the ulcer persists, seek advice from your dentist. They will then check to make sure that the issue is an ulcer as opposed to a form of oral cancer. If the mouth ulcers keep coming back, this is probably a symptom of an underlying medical issue, and you should seek advice from a professional. 


Want Some Expert Advice?


Most mouth ulcers are minor and have been caused by trauma to the mouth, but it’s always worth seeking the advice of a dental or medical expert. Here at Green Square, we can provide you with free, objective advice or a consultation about any dental concern you have. It’s important to remember that dentists are informed about all areas of oral health, not just your teeth. Get in touch for help and guidance!

Alternatively, if you’re situated in Rotherham, Worksop, Retford and surrounding areas give us a call on 01709 917666 to discuss becoming a patient.

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