All about mouth ulcers
Mouth ulcers are painful, inflamed, crater-like round or oval lesions that form in the mouth, often on the inside of the cheeks, and the inside of the lips.
Although mouth ulcers can be uncomfortable, especially when eating, drinking and brushing teeth, they are harmless. They may occur singly or in groups, and recurrent attacks are common.
Most mouth ulcers heal within 10–14 days and heal without scarring, although they may last for several weeks in severe cases.
In most cases, mouth ulcers are not caused by an infection. Most minor, single mouth ulcers are caused by damage to the mouth. For example, by accidentally biting the inside cheek whilst eating, using a toothbrush incorrectly or from a sharp tooth or filling.
The cause of recurrent mouth ulcers is often unknown. However, the following factors may increase your chances of getting recurrent ulcers:
- stress and anxiety;
- hormonal changes;
- oral trauma (such as excessive tooth brushing or chewing sharp foods);
- poor dental hygiene;
- nutritional deficiency of Iron, Vitamin B12 or Folic Acid;
- coeliac disease (intolerance to gluten);
- Crohn’s disease (condition that causes inflammation of the gut); and/or
- immunodeficiency (any condition that attacks or suppresses the body’s immune system).
Foods that may increase the likelihood of developing mouth ulcers include:
- dairy – cow’s milk and cheese;
- citrus fruits;
- tomatoes; and
- wheat flour.
Diet and Lifestyle
Increase consumption of:
- Sulphur containing fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, onions, garlic, brussel sprouts and cabbage; and
- Manuka honey applied topically may help to speed the healing.
Avoid consumption of:
- citrus fruits;
- processed and refined foods;
- sugar; and
- any known allergens.
- Use a soft toothbrush when brushing teeth.
- Avoid eating foods that have been known to cause ulcers in the past.
- Use aloe vera juice as a mouth wash. Alternatively a mouth wash that contains herbs such as thyme, myrrh, golden seal, St Johns wort, calendula, sage and/or marshmallow.
- Take zinc supplement in liquid or lozenge form.
- Reduce stress levels.
- If your mouth ulcer gets progressively more painful and inflamed or lasts for more than 3 weeks, it would be best to make an appointment with your health care professional.
by Sam Sample