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Oral Ulcer

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Oral Ulcer

Mouth ulcers are small sores that form on your gums, lips, inner cheeks or palate (roof of the mouth). They can be triggered by several different factors, including minor injuries, hormonal changes and emotional stress. Mouth ulcers aren’t contagious and they go away on their own but there are treatments to help ease pain and discomfort.

A mouth ulcer is a sore that develops in the soft tissue lining of your gums, tongue, inner cheeks, lips or palate. They’re usually yellow or red, and they can be quite painful. Mouth ulcers may also be called aphthous ulcers or canker sores.

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.

What causes mouth ulcers?

The exact cause of mouth ulcers is unknown. But there are several factors that can contribute to the development of these sores:

  • Minor tissue injury from dental work, such as having a cavity filled.
  • Accidentally biting your cheek or tongue.
  • Allergic reaction to certain bacteria.
  • Wearing orthodontic braces or retainers.
  • Vitamin deficiencies.
  • Using harsh or abrasive toothpaste.
  • Eat a lot of acidic foods, such as oranges, pineapples and strawberries.
  • Hormonal changes during your period.
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Viral, bacterial, or fungal infections.

How are mouth ulcers treated?

While most mouth ulcers heal on their own, topical treatments may be prescribed to ease discomfort and reduce the risk of complications. Common mouth ulcer treatments include antiseptic gels, steroid ointments or medicated mouth rinses. In severe cases, your healthcare provider may prescribe immunosuppressants.

Are there home remedies for mouth ulcers?

There are also several things you can do at home to relieve discomfort associated with oral lesions. Here are some tips for healing a mouth ulcer:

  • Use over-the-counter topical anesthetics, such as Orajel or Anbesol.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Practice good oral hygiene to keep your mouth as clean as possible.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water a few times each day.
  • Avoid hot and spicy foods until the ulcer heals.

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