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Dental Health

What are Mouth Ulcers and What Can You Do about Them?

boy in mouth pain Dental Care Center

Mouth ulcers (also known as canker sores) are generally small, painful lesions that develop in your mouth or at the base of your gums. Mouth ulcers can make eating, drinking, and talking very uncomfortable. Women, adolescents, and people with a family history of mouth ulcers are at higher risk of getting them.

What Triggers Mouth Ulcers?
There is no definite cause of mouth ulcers. However, some triggers have been identified. These include minor mouth injury from dental work, hard brushing, sports injury, accidental biting, food sensitivities to acidic foods, lack of essential vitamins, an allergic response to mouth bacteria, dental braces, and lack of sleep.

Visit a doctor if you develop any of the following problems:

  • unusually large mouth ulcers
  • new mouth ulcers before the old ones heal
  • sores that persist more than three weeks
  • sores that are painless
  • mouth ulcers that extend to the lips
  • pain that can’t be controlled with over-the-counter or natural medication
  • severe problems eating and drinking

Your doctor will be able to diagnose mouth ulcers through a visual exam. If you’re having frequent, severe mouth ulcers, you might be tested for other medical conditions.

Treatment of Mouth Ulcers
Most mouth ulcers don’t need treatment. However, if you get mouth ulcers often or they’re extremely painful, some treatments can decrease pain and healing time. These include using a rinse of saltwater and baking soda, placing milk of magnesia on the mouth ulcer covering mouth ulcers with baking soda paste, using over-the-counter benzocaine products like Orajel or Anbesol, applying ice to canker sores, using mouth rinse that contains a steroid to reduce pain and swelling, and placing damp tea bags on your mouth ulcer.

You can take steps to reduce the occurrence of mouth ulcers, such as:

  • Avoid acidic foods that irritate your mouth.
  • Try to avoid talking while you’re chewing your food to minimize accidental biting.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Floss once a day.

Mouth ulcers aren’t contagious, and they usually go away within one to two weeks. However, if you get a canker sore that is large or extremely painful or if it lasts for a long time without healing, contact your dentist here at The Dental Care Center so we help solve the problem.