Who knew something so small could be so excruciatingly painful? Mouth ulcers can be extremely unpleasant and discomforting. These red or yellow sores inside the mouth can take at least 2 weeks to go away. While, usually, you shouldn’t be alarmed by these nuisances, sometimes, they can be symptomatic of serious health conditions. On their own, they can make it difficult for a person to consume certain kinds of foods and drinks. Even brushing your teeth can become a hassle. That begs the question of how to get rid of mouth ulcers.
Mouth sores, also known as canker sores, are the bane of the existence of many people. It is important that you know about the common causes of canker sores so that you can avoid triggering or aggravating them. In most cases, the canker sore will clear away on its own. However, patience is key. There’s no miracle cure for it, and there’s no way you can get rid of it in the blink of an eye. It will take some time for your mouth or gums, wherever the canker sore is, to heal.
What Is A Mouth Ulcer?
Before we go about bashing the existence of mouth ulcers, it’s better to understand what makes it so villainous in the first place. Canker sores or mouth ulcers are lesions that develop as a result of the loss of soft, surface tissue lining the inside of the mouth. Usually, round or oval, they can be red or yellow. The size and symptoms of an ulcer can vary depending on its type.
Although they usually go away on their own after 2 weeks, if your mouth ulcer(s) persist for more than 3 weeks, you need to get them examined by a doctor as it may be a sign of oral cancer. Your doctor may also ask you to get tested for underlying conditions. People who consume tobacco products or drink alcohol are at a greater risk of developing oral cancer. Those at high risk should monitor their mouth ulcers, and get their mouth screened and medically reviewed.
You may have more than one canker sore in your mouth at any given time. It can grow in size. If your mouth ulcer has become more painful and red than usual, then it may be infected. In that case, you need to get it checked by a doctor. Before knowing about the different types of mouth ulcers, you should know about something else too.
Aphthous Stomatitis Ulcers
Aphthous stomatitis ulcers are small lesions that develop inside the mouth. These are recurring canker sores. Although it is not exactly known what causes aphthous ulcers, they may develop as a result of stress, trauma, or vitamin or iron deficiency. These tend to run in families.
The person may start experiencing them in childhood. With time and age, the frequency of these sores can decrease. A person may keep developing these; a new one appears as soon as the old one heals. Or they may develop it a few times in a year. They can be quite painful, being round and shallow with a red border.
Are Mouth Ulcers the Same as Cold Sores?
The two are actually different from each other. You can distinguish one from the other by its location. Canker sores or mouth ulcers only develop on the inside of the mouth. They can form on the gums, soft palate, cheeks, lips, and/or tongue. Usually, yellow or white in colour, they can be surrounded by a red border.
Cold sores, on the other hand, usually develop on the outside of the mouth around the external border of the lips (vermillion border) or on the lips. They can also develop on the inside of the mouth. They develop as a result of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Cold sores are highly contagious. These fluid-filled blisters can remain contagious for almost 2 weeks.
If the infected body fluid comes into contact with the other person through the use of common utensils, cosmetics, personal care products, towels, or kissing, the other person can end up catching the virus. You might feel a slight tingling or burning sensation before the appearance of the spot. It can also cause fever, sore throat, headache, nausea, and muscle ache.
Types of Mouth Ulcers
To know how to get rid of mouth ulcers, you need to know about the type of canker sores you’re dealing with. So, let’s take a look.
Minor Canker Sore
Minor mouth ulcers are small in size (2-8mm) with a red-ringed border. Usually, take about 1-2 weeks to heal completely. They don’t leave behind a scar. They can cause slight pain and discomfort.
Major Canker Sore
As the name indicates, major canker sores are bigger than minor canker sores. They usually have irregular edges and penetrate the deeper layers of skin. They can take more than a month to heal completely and can leave behind a scar. Moreover, if they appear near the tonsils, they can cause difficulty in swallowing due to the accompanying pain. They are, in general, quite painful. If you have a persistent mouth sore for more than 3 weeks in your mouth, get it checked by your doctor.
Herpetiform Canker Sore
Herpetiform canker sores are so named because the appearance of the sores is similar to those that develop in herpes. They do not develop as a result of the herpes virus and are not contagious. Usually, they develop later in life and appear in clusters that can merge to give the appearance of one canker sore. They can take around 2 weeks to heal completely and do not cause scarring.
What Causes Mouth Ulcers?
It isn’t known what exactly causes canker sores, but there are certain factors that can trigger or aggravate them. So, let’s find out what’s potentially causing those pesky canker sores in your mouth.
Mouth ulcers can develop as a result of trauma to the inside lining of the mouth. Accidental slipping of the brush, rubbing of the mouth against braces/dentures, biting the cheeks/tongue, sharp, jagged teeth, or a sports injury can all lead to the development of canker sores. Poorly-fitted dentures or any other thing rubbing against the mouth can also cause it.
Diet and Lifestyle
Another reason why you have a canker sore in your mouth is poor nutrition. Vitamin B12, zinc, and iron deficiency affect the immune system and this can cause mouth ulcers. Moreover, acidic, spicy foods can also trigger them. The mouthwash that you’re using can also irritate the soft tissue. Mouthwashes and toothpaste with SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) can cause them. Hot drinks and foods can lead to them and even irritate the existing ulcers rather unpleasantly, which is why you should avoid them.
Quitting smoking can also lead to an outbreak of canker sores, possibly because smoking can have an antibacterial effect. However, it’s only temporary. These usually go away after a month. Regardless, you should get them examined by a doctor before trying any “how to get rid of mouth ulcers” remedies you read about online.
Times of emotional disturbances in the form of stress or anxiety can also be accompanied by canker sores. Stress can trigger their development. Stress-management exercises can be the answer to how to get rid of mouth ulcers here.
Hormonal changes that happen during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can also cause canker sores.
Sometimes, the canker sore is only a symptom of an underlying condition or disease. Canker sores can be symptomatic of autoimmune diseases. Crohn’s disease, which causes an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, can also lead to the development of canker sores. Celiac disease triggers an immune response to the consumption of gluten, which can cause damage to the small intestine. This, too, can cause mouth ulcers. Foot, mouth, and hand diseases can cause it, and so can diseases that weaken the immune response, such as lupus and HIV/AIDS. In complicated cases, it’s more difficult to know how to get rid of mouth ulcers.
Medications, allergic reactions, skin rashes, and food sensitivities can also cause a canker sore to develop.
How To Get Rid of Mouth Ulcers?
The treatment for canker sores can vary depending on their type. Mouth ulcers can heal in time by themselves, but you should avoid some potential triggers.
- Avoid Acidic Foods – First of all, make sure that you avoid eating acidic foods until the ulcers have healed.
- Have A Good Oral Hygiene – Maintain your oral hygiene and rinse your mouth with warm, saltwater for at least 4 minutes to relieve mouth ulcer pain. This is one of the most commonly used at-home remedies for canker sores. Use 1 teaspoon of salt in 1/2 cup of warm water to rinse your mouth. Avoid using toothpaste that contains SLS; it can irritate. To answer how to get rid of mouth ulcers, you can also consider milk of magnesia. Put milk of magnesia on a cotton swab and then dab it on the ulcer. Baking soda can also help with the healing process of canker sores.
- Drink Water – You should also drink lots of fluids. Try drinking cold drinks using a straw, as that can help.
- Medication – Your doctor might prescribe you an ointment or solution for healing; use it as directed. Immunosuppressants can also be prescribed depending on the cause of the mouth ulcer.
These treatments for mouth ulcers will not cure them but may help with the healing process.
Can You Prevent Mouth Ulcers?
Eat a healthy, balanced nutritional diet to prevent the development of mouth ulcers. Use a soft-bristled brush to reduce damage from accidental slips. If braces or dentures are rubbing against your mouth, talk to your dentist for covering the sharp edges. For stress and anxiety, you can try doing some stress-reduction exercises. Before getting to how to get rid of mouth ulcers, you should try preventing them.
You probably wonder how to get rid of mouth ulcers if you’re dealing with painful and persistent canker sores. Although there are at-home remedies, it’s always a wise idea to book a consultation with a professional dentist to get your mouth medically reviewed. For booking a free phone consult with Longevita’s experts, contact us right now!