Mouth ulcers are sores that tend to develop inside the lips and cheeks. They are very common and most people will have at least a few ulcers in their lifetime. If you have a troublesome ulcer or you keep getting mouth ulcers, we may be able to help.
About mouth ulcers
Mouth ulcers are characterised as painful open sores, which are usually blue, grey or yellow in colour. In most cases, they develop following an injury or accident that causes the skin to be broken. If you accidentally catch yourself when eating or bite your tongue, for example, and ulcer may occur. Ulcers can also be caused by jagged or uneven tooth surfaces, loose fillings or sharp foods like crisps.
Possible causes of recurrent ulcers include stress, anxiety, eating certain types of food and hormonal changes in the body. In some cases, there may also be family history.
Treating mouth ulcers
In most cases, ulcers don’t cause any problems and they disappear after a few days without any need for treatment. However, in some cases they can be very painful and treatment may be recommended. You can buy over the counter medication, usually in the form of topical gels, which are applied directly onto the surface. These treatments help to ease pain and speed up the healing process.
If you get ulcers on a recurrent basis or you have an ulcer that is taking a long time to heal, it is advisable to see your dentist. Sometimes, sores that take longer than normal to heal can be symptomatic of oral cancer and although this is very unlikely, it is always best to get checked out.
If you have an ulcer, there are some simple self-help techniques that can help to reduce discomfort, such as avoiding sharp and acidic flavours, being careful when chewing food and avoiding the ulcer when you brush your teeth. It may also be helpful to keep a food diary if you find that you get ulcers on a regular basis. This could help to identify potential triggers to be avoided in the future.