Mouth Ulcers: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Mouth Ulcers: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Posted by Dr. Thomas Flavin Dec 26,2022

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Mouth ulcers are painful sores that form inside the mouth. They can occur on the gums, tongue, lips, roof of the mouth, or inside the cheeks. Mouth ulcers are also known as canker sores or stomatitis.

What are mouth ulcers?

A mouth ulcer is a painful sore that develops in your mouth or on your gums. It’s not contagious and usually isn’t serious. However, if left untreated, it can interfere with your eating and drinking and make it hard for you to sleep.

The causes of mouth ulcers aren’t completely understood. They appear to be linked to problems with the immune system that results in an inflammatory response in the mouth. Mouth ulcers are often associated with stress, anxiety, hormonal changes, poor nutrition, and certain medications. If you have frequent mouth ulcers, be sure to tell your dentist at your next appointment. He or she may want to keep an eye on this and other oral health problems.

In most cases, mouth ulcers go away on their own in a week or two without treatment. In the meantime, you can take over-the-counter pain medications and use salt water rinses to relieve pain and inflammation. If your mouth ulcer is interfering with eating or drinking, you can try covering it with a protective gel dressing for relief. Your dentist can also recommend prescription mouthwashes to treat the condition. 

What causes mouth ulcers?

There are several factors that can lead to the development of an ulcer in the mouth. Some of the most common include medications, stress, hormonal imbalances, and problems with the digestive process. Certain foods can also be a factor if they are too acidic or spicy. If you have a decayed tooth that has reached the inner nerve of the tooth, this can also lead to the development of a mouth ulcer. You might also experience one if you have a sinus infection or a sore throat.

The symptoms of a mouth ulcer will depend on its cause and its location in the throat. You may notice bleeding or swollen gums near where the ulcer is located. You could also have bad breath or an unbearable taste in your mouth. Your tongue may swell up as well. An ulcer can cause severe pain, especially when eating or drinking. If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible so they can diagnose the cause of the problem and provide relief.

What are the treatments for mouth ulcers?

Treating a mouth ulcer generally involves preventing it from getting infected and relieving the pain it causes. Over-the-counter medications are available to relieve pain and inflammation associated with a mouth ulcer, while prescription-strength pain relievers are also available. If the infection progresses into periodontal disease, patients will need to undergo professional treatment from a periodontist.

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