Causes And Risk Factors
Its not really known why some people develop canker sores and others don’t. They are believed to run in families and also be influenced by various other factors, including stress, a weakened immune system and hormonal changes.
These factors might also cause new canker sores to form after a symptom-free period. Experts think that certain deficiencies might be a trigger too such as an iron or vitamin B deficiency or that injuries to the lining of the mouth might also be involved.
Sometimes, a disease might cause inflammations in the mouth that are very similar to canker sores like chronic inflammatory bowel disease or Behçet’s disease.
Check If You Have A Mouth Ulcer
You may have more than 1 ulcer at a time and they can change in size.
Mouth ulcers are not contagious and should not be confused with cold sores.
Cold sores appear on the lips or around the mouth and often begin with a tingling, itching or burning sensation.
If you have several mouth ulcers, this can be a symptom of:
- hand, foot and mouth disease, which also causes a rash on the hands and feet
- oral lichen planus, which causes a white, lacy pattern inside the cheeks
- Crohn’s and coelic disease
- a weakened immune system from having a condition like HIV or lupus
What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Immunosuppressants
Immunosuppressants can have powerful effects on the body. Your healthcare provider will order regular blood tests to make sure medication levels dont get too high. High doses can cause serious side effects.
Side effects vary depending on the type of immunosuppressant. These drugs can cause:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills.
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Whats The Role Of Immunosuppressants In Organ Transplants
For people who get organ transplants, immunosuppressants help prevent organ rejection. Your immune system knows the new organ isnt part of your original body. It perceives the new organ as a threat and will try to destroy it. Immunosuppressants control this response, protecting the new organ.
You will receive strong doses of immunosuppressants at the time of the organ transplantation. This helps ensure transplant success. To prevent organ rejection, youll need to take immunosuppressants every day for life.
The medication dosage may decrease over time as your immune system adjusts to the new organ. Healthcare providers commonly prescribe prednisone for organ transplantation.
What Causes Oral Cancer
Oral cancer starts in the squamous cells in your oral cavity. Squamous cells are flat and, when viewed under a microscope, look like a fish scale.
Normal squamous cells become cancerous when their DNA changes and cells begin growing and multiplying. Over time, these cancerous cells can spread to other areas inside of your mouth and then to other areas of your head and neck or other areas of your body.
Are there specific activities that can increase my risk of developing oral cancer?
About 75% of people who develop oral cancer have the following habits:
- Smoke cigarettes, cigars or pipes.
- Use smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, dip, snuff or water pipes .
- Have human papillomavirus .
- Have a family history of oral cancer.
Its important to note that 25% of people who develop oral cancer dont smoke or have other known risk factors.
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How Do Healthcare Providers Treat Oral Cancer
The three main treatment options for oral are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Talk to your doctor about the purpose, side effects and ways to manage side effects for all of your options.
Your healthcare provider considers several factors before recommending treatment. Those factors include:
- The kind of oral cancer that you have.
- If the oral cancer you have has spread from the original site to other parts of your mouth and throat or other parts of your body.
- Your general health.
What To Eat If You Have An Ulcer
When suffering from a mouth ulcer, many foods can be included in your diet to get faster relief from the pain and infection. Follow this ulcer diet to get rid of that painful and annoying ulcer:
- Vegetables like cabbage, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and potato
- Vitamin C and calcium-rich foods such as yogurt, milk, and citrus juices
- Fruits such as bananas, apples, pumpkins, papaya, and grapefruit
- Vitamin B-rich foods like eggs, rice milk, and soy milk
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When Should I See My Doctor
See your GP if you think you might have an ulcer related to a mouth infection.
Also, see your GP if your child develops severe mouth ulcers with symptoms of general illness like:
- weight loss, stomach pain, unexplained fevers
- blood or mucus in their stool
- neck stiffness and tiredness
- ulcers around the anus
This may indicate conditions such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
Its also important to see your doctor or dentist for a mouth ulcer that lasts longer than 3 weeks and keeps coming back.
Although most mouth ulcers are harmless, a long-lasting mouth ulcer is sometimes a sign of mouth cancer. It’s best to get it checked.
What To Look For
- Sores in the mouth that may be red, or may have small white patches in the middle. They may bleed or become infected.
- Swelling in the gums, mouth, or throat
- Pain or discomfort when you chew or swallow. This may also feel like a sore throat.
- Small ulcers, bleeding, or sores in mouth, on gums, or on or under tongue
- A white or yellow film, patches, or pus in the mouth or on the tongue
- Increased mucus in the mouth
- Feeling of dryness, mild burning, or pain when eating hot and cold foods
- Heartburn or indigestion
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Canker Sore Causes And Risk Factors
Doctors donât know what exactly causes most canker sores.
Things that might cause minor sores include:
- Tissue injury, like from a sharp tooth or a dental appliance
- Certain foods, including citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen
- An allergy to something in your food or in your toothpaste or mouthwash
- Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers
Things that might cause complex canker sores include:
- An underlying health condition like a weakened immune system, HIV/AIDS, lupus, or Behcetâs disease
- Nutritional problems like too little vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid, or iron
- Gastrointestinal diseases like celiac or Crohnâs
About 1 in 5 people gets canker sores regularly. Theyâre more common in women, possibly because of hormonal differences. They may also run in families.
Eosinophilic Ulcer On Lips
Moving on, another kind of oral ulceration is eosinophilic. According to the DermNet New Zealand, this is another one with a distinct appearance and characteristic inflammatory cell studied under a microscope. The occurrence of this kind is uncommon but middle to grown-ups are affected at one point in their lifetime.
Dermatologists do not understand yet why or causes it. However, from the clinical feature, study and presentations, trauma due to teeth or poorly fitting dentures can possibly result to formation of these ulcers.
Areas affected include inside cheeks, mouth floor, lower lip and the gums including those behind molar tooth.
In terms of symptoms, eosinophilic is almost always a culprit for painful eating.
It may heal on its own, but optional treatments may comprise the following.
Pain relief for mouth sore
- Surgical excision
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How Can I Prevent Mouth Ulcers
While you cant prevent mouth ulcers altogether, there are things you can do to reduce your risk. For example:
- Brush your teeth twice daily and floss once daily for optimal oral health.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid tissue irritation.
- Eat a healthy diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
If your healthcare provider determines that your mouth ulcers are connected to an underlying health issue, managing your condition can reduce the risk of ulcers returning.
Types Of Mouth Ulcers
There are different types of mouth ulcers there are three main types which include the following:
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What Questions Should I Ask My Provider
Some general questions you might ask your healthcare provider include:
- What is the difference between pre-cancerous oral cancer and oral cancer?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What may have caused me to develop cancer?
- What tests will I need, and what do they entail?
- Whats the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that youre suggesting?
- If I need surgery, will I need reconstructive surgery?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
- What can I do to ease my symptoms?
- What lifestyle changes can I make to help with treatment and recovery?
A note from Cleveland Clinic:
Oral cancer is a serious illness that if caught early on can be treated successfully. Thats why its important you try to see your dentist twice a year and make time to do a monthly self-examination. There are ways to prevent oral cancer, and one of the most important is to avoid using tobacco products. A cancer diagnosis can be scary. Know you dont have to go it alone, though. Talk to your healthcare providers about resources to help you talk to your friends and family about your oral cancer.
Common Causes Of Mouth Ulcers And Their Treatment
Do you often complain your Dentist or Physician regarding your mouth ulcers? If yes, then this article is for you. Mouth ulcers are very irritating.They cause difficulty in drinking tea, coffee, eating your meals and at times speaking. Today, let us discuss about the most common mouth ulcers called Aphthous ulcers or canker sores.
Causes of Aphthous ulcers
Although the actual cause of these ulcers is still unknown, the following are associated with them.
How to manage these ulcers ?
Is there any thing serious ?
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Treatment For Mouth Ulcers
Most mouth ulcers are usually harmless and resolve by themselves within 10 to 14 days. Other types of mouth ulcers, such as the aphthous variety or those caused by herpes simplex infection, need topical treatment .
Its not possible to speed up the recovery of ulcers, but the symptoms can be managed and the risk of complications reduced.
Treatment options for mouth ulcers include:
- Avoid spicy and sour foods until the ulcers heal.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Keep your mouth clean.
- Apply antiseptic gel to the ulcers.
- Regularly rinse your mouth out with warm, slightly salted water, keeping the rinse in your mouth for up to 4 minutes at a time.
- Use an alcohol-free medicated mouthwash twice daily.
- Use a topical alcohol-free steroid mouthwash or ointment this is generally prescribed by your dentist or oral medicine specialist.
- If required in severe cases, immunosuppressant medication may be prescribed by your oral health professional.
Are Mouth Ulcers Cancerous
Mouth cancer and mouth ulcers are distinctive in their symptoms. However, as mentioned earlier, new or persistent ulcers require checking.
There are some fundamental differences between mouth ulcers and what might be cancer:
- Mouth ulcers are often painful whereas mouth cancer is not.
- Mouth ulcers will clear up in about 2 weeks, whereas mouth cancer will not go away and will often spread.
- Mouth cancer patches may be rough, hard, and not easy to scrape off.
- Mouth cancer is often a mix of red and white areas or large white areas that appear on the tongue, the back of the mouth, the gums, or on the cheeks.
- Mouth cancer is often linked to heavy drinking or tobacco use.
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When To Seek Treatment For Mouth Ulcers
If ulcers are interfering with your normal daily activities, or have persisted for 2 weeks, see your dentist or an oral medicine specialist.
In some cases, you may need blood tests if its suspected that you have an underlying deficiency or an inflammatory condition.
If your oral health professional cant determine the cause of your mouth ulcers, or if the ulcers dont respond to the normal treatments, you may need to have a biopsy of part of the ulcer and some of the surrounding tissue. A biopsy is a procedure where a tissue sample is taken for examination and diagnosis.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Canker Sores
Canker sores usually appear as round, painful open sores that have a white or yellowish coating and a red “halo” around them. Most are small and shallow, but occasionally can be larger and deeper.
Most often, canker sores pop up alone, but they can appear in small clusters. Sometimes an area will tingle or burn before a canker sore actually develops.
It takes about 2 weeks for canker sores to heal. During this time, the sores can be painful, although the first 3 to 4 days are usually the worst. Unless they are very large or deep, they usually heal without scarring.
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How To Manage Aphthous Or Canker Sores
These ulcers have no known cure hence, relying on general measures is a good way to go.
- Reduce stress
- Individuals with occasional recurring episodes can use pastes that form a barrier over the ulcer as a protective layer against irritants
- Local anesthetics Benzocaine or Lignocaine to reduce pain
- Medicated toothpaste without Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- Medical procedures such as cauterization can also be of help
- Limited or controlled use of antibacterial mouthwashes to keep bad bacteria at bay
- Keep off any trigger be it food or medicines. Patients must do so when they have adequately consulted a medic
- Dietary supplements of vitamins or minerals. Again, this should be a clinic approach
Even though, aphthous stomatitis is a recurrent problem, this presentation is not a threat in terms of being infectious. Therefore, if you have aphthous stomatitis, you cannot spread to healthy individuals.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mouth Ulcers
1. Does Salt Get Rid of Mouth Ulcers?
Salt is one of the cheapest substances in the world. It has been in use for thousands of years as a medicine.
Here is the chronology of steps you should follow when using salt to get rid of your canker sores:
- Take a teaspoon of salt and add it to a cup of lukewarm water. Stir thoroughly.
- Rinse your mouth with this salt solution for not less than 30 seconds. It will disinfect your mouth. Spit out the salt solution.
- Next, you should take a pinch of salt and put it directly on the mouth ulcer. This will cause you some pain, but it will also aid faster healing.
Repeat this procedure four or five times each day, and it wont be long before your mouth ulcer becomes a thing of the past.
2. Does Listerine Get Rid of Mouth Ulcers?
Yes. Listerine is also something you can use to treat your mouth ulcers.
3. Does Honey Get Rid of Mouth Ulcers?
Most of us have honey jars in our kitchens. But did you know that the sweet substance also happens to have medicinal properties? Yes, honey contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties which are invaluable for getting rid of your mouth ulcer.
Dip a teaspoon into your jar of honey and carefully apply it around your ulcer. Mind you, this will hurt for a few minutes, but after a while, the pain and inflammation will begin to lessen. Carry out this procedure several times each day.
4. Can Antibiotics Get Rid of Mouth Ulcers?
5. How to Get Rid of Mouth Ulcers in Babies
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Are Cold Sores The Same Thing As Canker Sores
No. Although these sores are often confused for each other, they are not the same. Cold sores, also called fever blisters or herpes simplex type 1, are groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters. Cold sores are caused by a virus and are extremely contagious. Canker sores are not caused by an infection and so are not contagious. Also, cold sores typically appear outside the mouth usually, under the nose, around the lips or under the chin, while canker sores occur inside the mouth.