It’s amazing that something as small as a mouth ulcer can cause so much pain and discomfort. Searing, stinging pain every time that you eat or drink is definitely no fun – luckily there are a number of things you can do to treat a mouth ulcer, as well as actions you can take to try and prevent them from occurring.
What is a mouth ulcer?
A mouth ulcer is normally a small, painful lesion that develops in your mouth or at the base of the gum. They are not contagious, so cannot be passed from person to person. Mouth ulcers are more common in women than men. They can be painful when eating or drinking.
What causes a mouth ulcer?
There is no definite cause of mouth ulcers, but the following can be triggers or factors:
- Minor injury due to accidental biting or braces
- Lack of essential vitamin e.g. vitamin B12, zinc, iron and folates
- Stress and lack of sleep
- Hormonal changes
Other factors that may cause ulcers may be more serious e.g
- Coeliac disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Behcet’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
How do I know if I have a mouth ulcer?
Mouth ulcers normally follow a pattern in where they form and what they look like.
They normally look:
- Round or oval in shape
- Inflamed around the edge
- White or yellow in colour
They mostly occur:
- Inside the cheek
- Behind the lips
- Or on the base or floor of the mouth
How can I prevent a mouth ulcer?
Some steps you can take to prevent or avoid mouth ulcers are:
- Avoid foods that irritate your mouth like some acidic fruits
- Eat a balanced diet to ensure that you are getting all your vitamins and minerals.
- Take your time eating, as to prevent accidental biting and injury.
- Get enough sleep to ensure that you are not run down.
- Practice good dental hygiene by brushing carefully, with a soft brush, twice daily and floss regularly.
- Take a multi-vitamin (ask your CarePlus pharmacist for what’s best for you)
How can I cure a mouth ulcer?
Most mouth ulcers do not need treatment as they normally heal naturally, but if you require treatment to help speed up recovery then the following can be recommended by your local CarePlus pharmacist:
- Medicated mouthwashes that help with dental healing
- Painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol can be used if you have pain associated with the ulcer
- Gels that contain a local anaesthetic to help numb the ulcer
- Barrier cream/gels help to protect the ulcer from irritants like food and drink
- L-lysine supplements
If you have any concerns regarding recurring mouth ulcers, please pop into your local CarePlus Pharmacy.