Sign Of Something Serious
While mouth ulcers are painful but not life-threatening for most, they should be taken seriously, especially if children get them, Dr Nespolon said.
“If children get them, they sometimes refuse to drink because of the pain and can become dehydrated.”
Anyone with recurrent mouth ulcers should visit their GP to make sure they don’t have a systemic illness.
“One ulcer while you’re sick is OK, but persistent and recurrent ones could be a sign of illness,” Dr Nespolon said.
Aphthous ulcers can be a sign of systemic diseases including coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease especially if you’re also experiencing abdominal pain, diarrhoea and weight loss.
Mouth ulcers can also be an indication of oral cancer. If you’re a smoker and you develop a mouth ulcer particularly on your tongue you should get it checked by GP, Dr Nespolon added.
But oral cancer is not a disease that only affects smokers.
“The demographics of oral cancer have changed significantly over the last decade,” said Professor McCullough.
“There’s been an increase in the number of non-smoking people getting oral cancer.
“We think that heavy alcohol consumption may be playing a bigger role.”
And oral cancers are often detected very late, partly because people ignore symptoms, which include large mouth ulcers.
Complications Of Mouth Cancer
Both surgery and radiotherapy can make speaking and swallowing difficult .
Dysphagia can be a potentially serious problem. If small pieces of food enter your airways and become lodged in your lungs, it could trigger a chest infection, known as aspiration pneumonia.
Read more about the complications of mouth cancer
What Are The Symptoms Of A Mouth Ulcer
Mouth ulcers are easy to spot. They usually appear as sores on your lips, gums, tongue, inner cheeks or roof of the mouth. While red around the edges, mouth ulcers are typically white, yellow or gray in the center. You may only develop one ulcer, or there might be more. Other symptoms could include:
- Swelling around the ulcer.
- Increased soreness when brushing your teeth.
- Pain that worsens when eating spicy, salty or sour foods.
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And If You Do Have A Canker Sore Here Are Some Simple Ways To Lessen The Struggle
One of the pieces of good news is that unlike cold sores, canker sores arent contagious. So thats a relief. But theres no cure for them, so for treatment, you can only manage the annoyance. The NIDCR recommends avoiding abrasive foods like potato chips that can scrape or exacerbate the sore. Also, avoid overly spicy or acidic foods. UMM also recommends gargling salt water or mouthwash . And they last no more than two weeks, so at least its only temporary.
And even if it doesnt make the pain any less annoying, its at least good to know that if youre a frequent canker sore sufferer, youre not suffering alone.
Because Canker Sores Are In Your Genes
Thats right, according to Science Daily, if youre susceptible to repeated canker sores, its probably genetic. Studies suggest that a family history of canker sores may make you more prone to getting them yourself. So you can thank mom and dad for predisposing you to these annoying mouth sores. The bad news is, you cant fix your genetics. But the good news is, at least you have a clearer idea of why these sores keep happening.
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Why Do I Keep Getting Mouth Ulcers And How Can I Prevent Them
Mouth ulcers are painful round or oval sores that appear in the mouth, on the inner cheeks, lips, or on the tongue. Although the problem is usually non-threatening and resolves without intervention, mouth ulcers are a source of considerable discomfort, making it difficult to brush your teeth, eat food, or even drink fluids.
While traumatic ulcers that appear in isolation are obviously caused by trauma to the mouth, there is still little understanding about the underlying causes of mouth ulcers in most other cases.
Nevertheless, there are certain possible triggers and conditions that experts believe could cause recurrent mouth ulcers.
Common Causes Of Chronic Canker Sores
If canker sores develop in your mouth more than a few times a year, an underlying trigger could be responsible for your outbreaks. Do you have any habits associated with the leading causes of canker sores? Any of the following factors could contribute to repeated canker sore outbreaks in your mouth.
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What Are Other Ways To Help Healing
There are a few canker and cold sore home remedy tips may help ease the discomfort during the healing process.
While your canker or cold sores are healing, try to avoid any foods or drinks that could further irritate them. Some of the foods, drinks and other things to consider avoiding are:
- Crunchy foods, like chips or toast
- Acidic fruits, like citrus or tomatoes
- Salty crackers or pretzels
- Spicy foods or hot peppers
- Very hot drinks, like tea or coffee
- Tobacco products
While many foods can irritate mouth sores, don’t worry there’s still plenty you can eat! Instead of irritating foods, opt for soft, bland foods. Yogurt, mashed potatoes and pudding are just a few examples. Your dentist or doctor may be able to recommend other suitable foods to eat during this time.
Dietary changes aren’t the only way to ease the discomfort associated with these ulcers. Ice is another easy home remedy to try when you have painful mouth sores. The Mayo Clinic recommends letting ice chips slowly melt against the lesions to help relieve pain and swelling.
If you suffer from recurrent canker sores, try to identify your triggers for mouth sores,such as acidic foods or stress, so you can better prevent them.
What To Do When You Have Recurrent Canker Sores
Mouth ulcers are relatively common and can usually be managed at home, but they can also be irritating, especially when reoccurring often. In this article we explain the basics of what mouth ulcers actually are, how to know if youve got one, key canker sore treatments and what to do if you get recurrent canker sores.
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Possible Causes Of Mouth And Tongue Ulcers
So what causes tongue ulcers? Besides canker sores, there are a number of different possible triggers that can make a mouth ulcer appear.
- Oral thrush: This is a condition caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans within the mouth. The fungus creates white, creamy-colored cuts along the inner cheek and tongue that can develop into ulcers if not treated. Aside from the white lesions, oral thrush also presents with cracking at the corners of the mouth, loss of taste, and cottonmouth.
- Injury: Minor injuries can sometimes develop into canker sores or mouth ulcers. Over-eager brushing, dental work, biting your cheek or tongue, or sporting accidents are all possible causes.
- Food sensitivities: For obvious reasons, the surface of your mouth reacts to the food you eat. In some people, foods like chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, cheese, and spicy or acidic food can provoke enough irritation to form a sore.
- Allergies: Your mouth is home to lots of bacteria, and sometimes your body wants them out. The ulcer that forms is a result of tissue getting caught in the way.
- Bacteria and viruses: Various illnesses can cause mouth ulcers to appear. The most common candidate is called Helicobacter pylori, the same culprit behind peptic ulcers and herpes. Strictly speaking, herpes causes cold sores, which, while not related to canker sores, can develop into more persistent wounds like a mouth ulcer if left unaddressed.
How Can I Treat A Sore Spot
Most mouth sores will heal on their own over time. However, while your mouth is healing, there are a few things you can do to ease the pain and prevent further irritation. According to the American Dental Association, saltwater or baking soda rinses can relieve your discomfort. There are also over-the-counter topical anesthetics to provide relief. In some cases, your dentist may prescribe an antiviral drug.
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Because Youre Stressed Out
Both the NIDCR and Science Daily agree that stress can cause an outbreak of canker sores. Because thats what we need on top of a stressful day painful mouth sores. But thats why managing our stress and trying to calm ourselves down is crucial. So make sure to take care of yourself, particularly after a tough day, to help avoid these mouth sores.
What Are The Symptoms Of Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis
This type of mouth ulcer is common and often appears on the inside of the cheeks, on the lips, tongue or gums. Rarely will you see this type of ulcer on the roof of your mouth. It is not known why these ulcers appear but they are not infectious or inherited.
The minor ulcers are generally the size of the top of a pencil and may come in clusters. Larger ulcers are more painful and can take a longer time to heal. If they last more than 3 weeks you should visit your dentist. If you also have ulcers on other parts of your body please make sure to let your dentist know.
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Permanent Solution For Mouth Ulcers:
If you are tired of thinking, why do I keep getting mouth ulcers? And now, if you want a permanent solution for mouth ulcers, you should follow the following tips.
- Avoid too many spicy and sour foods.
- Add the food that contains an adequate level of iron and vitamin B12
- Make a habit of drinking fluids a lot.
- Maintain oral hygiene
- Frequently rinse your mouth out with lukewarm, slightly salted water.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle to make your immune system strong
- Try to avoid stress and anxiety as much as possible.
Can Canker Sores Be Prevented
Although there is no cure for canker sores and they often recur, you may be able to reduce their frequency by:
- Avoiding foods that irritate your mouth, including acidic, hot or spicy foods.
- Avoiding irritation from gum chewing.
- Brushing with a soft-bristled brush after meals and flossing daily. This will keep your mouth free of foods that might trigger a sore.
- Avoiding oral hygiene products containing sodium lauryl sulfate.
You should call your doctor or dentist if you have:
- Unusually large sores.
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Why Do I Keep Getting Recurrent Mouth Ulcers
Mouth ulcers can sometimes be caused by certain medical conditions, such as: viral infections including the cold sore virus, chickenpox, and hand, foot and mouth disease. vitamin B12or iron deficiency. Crohn’s disease a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.
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
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Causes Of Mouth Cancer
The two leading causes of mouth cancer in the UK are drinking too much alcohol and smoking.
Both alcohol and tobacco are carcinogenic, which means they contain chemicals that can damage the DNA in cells and lead to cancer.
The risk of mouth cancer increases significantly in somebody who is both a heavy smoker and heavy drinker.
Exactly what triggers the changes in DNA that lead to mouth cancer and why only a small number of people develop mouth cancer is still uncertain.
How Do I Prevent Mouth Ulcer Recurrence
It is difficult to solve the problem of mouth ulcers, and there is no real way to prevent them. Recurring ulcers may, however, be prevented, or at least temporarily halted, by the treatment of an underlying cause.
Some simple habit changes might help prevent mouth ulcers. See below some suggested changes to your lifestyle to prevent the likelihood of your ulcers returning:
- Get a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night
- Reduce stress: take time to relax and see a doctor if your stress seems unmanageable
- If you cut your mouth, rinse it with mouthwash straight away. This could help to prevent an ulcer forming
- Avoid any known allergens, even mild ones
Sometimes, hormone changes and genetics have a role to play in the problem of repeated mouth ulcer growths. Unfortunately, these cant be prevented, but speaking to a health professional about ways to manage them is a good idea.
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What Causes Mouth Ulcers
In many cases, the reason for mouth ulcers is unclear. Most single mouth ulcers are caused by damage to the lining inside of the mouth. For example:
- accidentally biting the inside of your cheek or a sharp tooth
- poorly fitting dentures
- hard food
- a defective filling
Its not always clear what causes mouth ulcers that keep returning, but triggers are thought to include:
- stress and anxiety
- hormonal changes some women develop mouth ulcers during their monthly period
- eating certain foods such as chocolate, spicy foods, coffee, peanuts, almonds, strawberries, cheese, tomatoes and wheat flour
- toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulphate
- stopping smoking when you first stop smoking, you may develop mouth ulcers
Your genes are also thought to have a role around 40% of people who keep getting mouth ulcers report that it runs in their family.
- Crohn’s disease a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system
- coeliac disease a common digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to gluten
- reactive arthritis a condition that causes inflammation in various places in the body, usually as a reaction to an infection
- weakened immune system for example, due to HIVor lupus
- Behçets disease a rare and poorly understood condition that also causes swelling of the blood vessels
Medications and treatments
Mouth ulcers can sometimes be caused by certain medications or treatments, such as:
How To Treat Mouth Ulcers And Canker Sores
So long as they arent constantly being rubbed against or repeatedly bitten down on, ulcers should go away by themselves.
However the pain and interference with eating and talking that mouth ulcers and Canker Sores cause can mean that you want them gone as soon as possible.
Here is how its done:
1) Ulcers will disappear faster if they are not irritated or interfered with.
It therefore may be a good idea to avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where you have an ulcer .
Similarly you should try and to resist the urge to play with your ulcer with your fingers or tongue.
2) You can use over the counter painkillers to reduce the pain of your ulcer or canker sore.
The reduced pain should also decrease your urge to play with your ulcer. This should promote healing further.
Ideally you want to be using painkillers withan anti-inflammatory quality.
Anti-inflammatories fight infection as well as reduce pain, therefore making your ulcer or Canker Sore heal faster.
Ibuprofen and Aspirin are the two most common over the counter anti-inflammatory painkiller.
Paracetamol is not an anti-inflammatory.
Anti-inflammatories are best for reducing most painful oral health issues
3) Inflammation can be reduced by rinsing the ulcer with warm salty water.
This is because salt-water is a mild anti-septic. It can kill the harmful inflammation causing bacteria without doing any damage to the infected tissue itself.
A Saltwater solution will gently disinfect your mouth ulcer
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When To Get Medical Advice
You don’t usually need medical attention if you think you or your child has hand, foot and mouth disease. The infection will usually pass in 7 to 10 days, and there isn’t much your doctor can do.
Antibiotics won’t help as hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by a virus.
If you’re unsure whether you or your child has hand, foot and mouth disease, you can call the NHS 24 service or your GP for advice.
You should also get medical advice if:
- your child is unable or unwilling to drink any fluids
- your child has signs of dehydration, such as unresponsiveness, passing small amounts of urine or no urine at all, or cold hands and feet
- your child develops fits , confusion, weakness or a loss of consciousness
- your child is under three months old and has a temperature of 38C or above, or is between three and six months old and has a temperature of 39C or above
- the skin becomes very painful, red, swollen and hot, or there’s a discharge of pus
- the symptoms are getting worse or haven’t improved after 7 to 10 days
Get advice from your GP if you’re pregnant and you become infected within a few weeks of your due date. Infection in pregnancy is usually nothing to worry about, but there’s a small chance it could make your baby ill if you’re infected shortly before you give birth.
Because You Might Be Eating The Wrong Things
Now, there are some causes that you can control, although again, science doesnt totally understand how. But there has been evidence that what you eat can make you more prone to a canker sore. According to the NIDCR, one study suggested that deficiencies in certain foods like vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron can cause these sores. However, another similar study did not have the same findings.
The University of Maryland Medical Center also notes that an allergy to a particular food could cause sores to flare up. Because scientists havent totally pinned down what foods may or may not cause canker sores, avoiding them can be tough. But if you notice a new sore, maybe write down what food you recently ate. If theres a common food that seems to cause it, that could be a contributing factor. However, all these studies admit that because there hasnt been firm evidence, what youre eating is only one of many factors.
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