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Mouth ulcer causes

I have been getting a lot of mouth ulcers. What causes this problem?
(October 19, 2010)

Mouth ulcers can be described as painful sores that develop in a person’s mouth. At times, these mouth ulcers can also develop outside the mouth, on the lips. The ulcers that are seen on the lips are usually known as cold sores, which are caused by the herpes virus. Cold sores are very contagious and can be passed on easily, from one person to the other, through touch or by kissing. Mouth ulcers that occur within the mouth are known as canker sores or aphthous ulcers.

They are usually seen at the base of the gums or inside the lips and cheeks. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious; however, they can be very painful and can lead to difficulty in talking and eating. Hence it is important to know about mouth ulcer causes, symptoms and treatment options, in order to handle this condition effectively. 

Mouth ulcer causes

Mouth ulcer reasons are usually different for internal and external mouth sores. Most people tend to associate mouth ulcer causes with the herpes virus. However, the herpes virus can only lead to external mouth ulcers or cold sores, not the internal mouth ulcers. The exact internal mouth ulcer causes are still not quite clear however, there are several factors that are believed to lead to the condition. Some of the suspected mouth ulcer causes include stress, allergic reactions to food, an unhealthy diet, reactions to some types of bacteria, celiac disease, immune system disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases, hormonal changes, Behcet’s disease and HIV/AIDS, among others. Internal mouth ulcer causes could also include minor mouth injuries, dental work, brushing the teeth too hard, an accidental cheek bite or eating excessive spicy or acidic food.

Mouth ulcer symptoms

Internal mouth ulcers are oval or round in shape and have a white or yellow center, with a red border. Before the ulcers appear, a burning or a tingling sensation can be felt in the mouth. Since internal mouth sores can be of different types, their symptoms may also vary. Minor canker sores are smaller, oval in shape and generally heal within a week or two, without leaving any scars behind. If the sores are major, they are bigger, have irregular edges, take up to 6 weeks to heal and can leave behind scars. Additional symptoms like swollen lymph nodes, fever and listlessness can accompany mouth ulcers at times. However, if the symptoms include, recurring ulcers and severe pain, it may be best to get in touch with a doctor immediately.

Mouth ulcer treatment

Milder ulcers in the mouth are usually not treated as they go away on their own. However, for the more persistent ulcers, medical care may be required, which includes mouth rinses, topical pastes, oral medication and nutritional supplements. There are several home remedies that can also be used helpful, like a mouth rinse made from baking soda and water, ice, a soft toothbrush, foaming agents and milk of magnesia. However, mouth ulcer prevention, by maintaining a healthy diet, following dental hygienic measures and protecting the mouth from mouth injuries.

Mouth ulcers could be the symptom of a serious underlying condition and therefore, it is important to have a doctor check them immediately.


Submitted by C N on October 19, 2010 at 06:47


Causes for Mouth Ulcer 

Mouth ulcers or canker sores have a grey or yellow centre with a red border. It is not infectious and is of three to five millimetres in diameter. The maximum period of occurrence is around 10 days. Ointments, available over-the-counter act as an anaesthetic and numbs the area, providing relief from pain. Gargling with milk of magnesia is an effective remedy. Coping with stress is one of the easiest methods of alleviating canker sores.

Allergic reaction to food is also a culprit. Avoid foods at high temperature. Acidic and spicy foods are abstained from, as they increase the pain and inflammation. Take care while brushing your teeth, as you might injure the sore. Certain sores are associated and worsened with shell fish, tomatoes, nuts and chocolates. Smoking and drinking alcohol are better avoided, as they are chemical irritants of canker sores.

An extract of chamomile is helpful. Deficiency of B complex vitamins results in mouth ulcers. Supplementation of riboflavin and cobalamin is recommended. Usage of deglycyrrhizinated liquorice is helpful. Avoid sharp and dried foods, such as chips, French fries, dried bread, popcorn and corn chips.

Submitted by E L on April 1, 2008 at 08:05


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