A mouth ulcer is a small sore in the mucous membranes inside the mouth
The mouth is sensitive to many irritations. Problems in other parts of the body can also cause sores in the mouth. Although most mouth sores will go away by themselves and are of little concern, some are much more serious.
Mouth ulcers are generally yellow or gray in color and vary in size. Other signs and symptoms may include the following: difficulty chewing mild feverpain when brushing or using mouthwashsorenessswelling around the ulcer
There are many causes of mouth ulcers. They range from minor irritants to mouth cancer. Some of the common causes are as follows: accidental cheek, lip, or tongue bitingaccidental damage from tooth brushingallergic reaction to medicationsburns from food or drink that is too hotburns or irritations from medications, such as aspirincancer of the mouth or lipschemotherapy or radiation therapydenture soreselectrical burnsfood allergyHIV, the virus that causes AIDS food allergyan impacted toothirritation from a dental procedureirritation from orthodontic applianceslocalized irritation from a disease, such as Parkinson's diseasemedications that cause mouth dryness, including antihistamines such as diphenhydraminea new tooth coming in, known as a tooth eruptionreactions to tobacco productsserious medical illnesses that weaken the person, such as cancersome sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea or genital herpesviral disease, such as oral herpes
Women are more prone to mouth ulcers than men are, especially during pregnancy or right before a menstrual period.
Some methods to prevent mouth ulcers include the following: Avoid food and drinks that are too hot.Avoid foods, medications, and other substances that trigger allergic reactions.Drink plenty of liquids when taking medications that cause mouth dryness.Eat a balanced diet, following the Food Guide Pyramid.Follow good oral hygiene, including regular tooth brushing and flossing.Practice safer sex to avoid sexually transmitted diseasesSeek prompt treatment for denture problems, impacted teeth, or irritating orthodontic appliances.Quit smoking.
Since many mouth sores look alike, diagnosis is best done by a health professional. Any ulcer of the mouth or lips that lasts longer than a week should be seen by a healthcare professional.
Mouth ulcers rarely cause long-term effects, unless they become seriously infected.
Some mouth ulcers are contagious through direct contact, while others are not.
Many mouth ulcers will go away on their own without treatment. Some measures to speed the healing process include the following: Clean the area gently with a very soft brush and mild (1-1/2%) hydrogen peroxide or a warm salt water solution made by adding 1/2 teaspoon salt to a full glass of warm water).Do not use any medications before checking with a health professional.Keep the area clean and clear of food scraps.See a healthcare provider if the ulcer lasts more than a week.
The healthcare provider may prescribe a liquid paint, mouthwash, gel, or rinse to treat the mouth ulcer.
Rarely, medications used to treat mouth ulcers may cause an allergic reaction.
Mouth ulcers usually go away on their own or with treatment. If the underlying cause of the ulcers is not treated, they may recur. A person with recurring mouth ulcers should see a healthcare professional for further diagnosis.
Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.