A mouth ulcer is essentially the erosion or loss of the delicate tissue lining the mouth.
They are usually small, painful, sometimes occur in groups and will often occur on the inside of your mouth. The occurrence of ulcers is usually a sign to listen to your body, and take a good look at your immune system, health and tiredness levels. Mouth ulcers can develop for no apparent reason in healthy people however there are a range of factors that can cause them, including:
1. Oral trauma
Accidentally biting lips, cheeks or tongue; physical trauma from old, ill-fitting or loose dentures or cracked fillings; sharp foods such as bones or dry biscuits; objects placed in the mouth, for example, pens; burns from very hot or spicy foods, to name a few.
2. Stress or anxiety
Ulcers can be a telltale sign that your body is overworked and a bit run-down.
3. Nutritional deficiencies
Includes inadequate vitamin B12 and iron in the diet.
4. Poor oral hygiene
Skipping out on brushing or flossing allows bacteria to multiply in your mouth at high levels.
5. Reaction to some medication
If you suspect your medication is causing a reaction you should discuss this with the practitioner who prescribed it for you.
6. Hormonal changes
Some women notice they develop mouth ulcers prior to their monthly period.
7. Various infections and diseases
Conditions such as herpes virus (cold sores) oral thrush, lip cancer, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, Coeliac disease (ie any disease which causes inflammation in the body or affects the immune system can cause a mouth ulcer).
Treatment for mouth ulcers involves initially identifying the cause if possible.
In addition, preventing mouth ulcers involves maintaining excellent oral hygiene, regularly visiting your dentist, eating a healthy diet, looking after yourself generally and avoiding foods that seem to trigger ulcers, such as acidic or spicy foods.
Most mouth ulcers heal by themselves but do seek dental/medical help if ulcers last longer than 7-10 days. Some options for easing the ulcer pain include topical gels (Curasept Gel is excellent – buy it from your dentist). Strict oral hygiene should be maintained (keep gently brushing your teeth).
Essentially, remember that the very best home care involves listening to your body, prioritising some regular exercise into your life, and definitely having a good nights sleep. It will work wonders for you and your mouth ulcers!