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What Are Mouth Ulcers?

What Are Mouth Ulcers?

Mouth ulcers are red or yellow sores which appear inside your mouth. Most mouth ulcers will disappear within three weeks but some can be more persistent and problematic. They are sometimes confused with cold sores which are actually quite different, appearing on the outside of your lips as the result of a viral infection. This can occur on the lips, tongue, gums, cheeks or on the roof of the mouth itself.

Mouth ulcers are incredibly common, with almost everyone having at least one in their life. The ulcer itself can be very painful on contact and can cause constant irritation.

  • If it is swollen it can interfere with one’s bite and be bitten accidentally.
  • Ulcers that occur on the cheek and gums are usually the most painful as these are the most likely to be bitten on.
  • These can vary in size, being anything from 1mm to 1cm in diameter.
  • Anything larger than 1cm in diameter may be a cause for concern.
  • Mouth ulcers are usually a light yellowish colour in the centre. The outside of the ulcer can often be tinged bright red (brighter than the tissue that surrounds it).
  • This brightness is a result of inflammation and the area can also be swollen.
  • These are non-contagious.

Are all Mouth Ulcers the Same?

While mouth ulcers are easy to identify there are several different types of ulcers that can appear in your mouth:

Traumatic Ulcers

Sharp teeth, aggressive brushing, biting your cheek or tongue, ill-fitted dentures, all of these could cause a traumatic ulcer. Traumatic ulcers are usually a single mouth ulcer. It is advisable to visit the best dental clinic in Delhi every six months for a general dental check-up.

Sharp Teeth

Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis

Recurrent aphthous stomatitis is a common problem but the cause is currently unknown. These ulcers keep coming back. Children and young people are most likely to suffer from them. Most of them are minor ulcers sometimes found in clusters of four to six. Larger versions of this ulcer are more severe and can take longer to heal. These larger ulcers usually appear one at a time and can be very painful. They can often appear on or near the tonsils or at the back of the mouth.

Ulcers Caused by Viral Infections

Mouth ulcers can be the result of viral infections, but these are less common. For example, Herpes Simplex which can cause mouth ulcers.

What Causes Mouth Ulcers?

In the majority of cases mouth ulcers are caused by trauma to part of the mouth. They are not normally indicative of any underlying medical condition.

This Trauma Can Include:

  • Cuts and scrapes inside the mouth from any sharp teeth or oral appliances (including braces, dentures and sleeping appliances).
  • Burns from excessively hot or acidic food.
  • Burns from stomach acid if you have acid reflux.
  • Injuries related to tooth grinding.
  • Lacerations from habitual chewing of pens or other objects.
  • The ulcer arises as bacteria from tooth plaque, which gets into the damaged area of the mouth and infects it.
  • As mouth ulcers are the result of infections in the mouth, they are more likely to occur if someone’s immune system is compromised.

Factors that Compromise One’s Immune System and have been Linked to Increased Risk of Mouth Ulcers Include:

  • Poor diet – in particular deficiencies in Iron, Vitamin B12 or Vitamin C
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Autoimmune diseases (including HIV)
  • Viral infections (including Oral Herpes- although this is more commonly associated with cold sores)
  • Excessive alcohol consumption – Spirits can also damage tissue in the mouth on contact
  • Undiagnosed food intolerances
  • Smoking – hot smoke can also damage tissue in the mouth on contact

You Can Reduce the Risk of Damaging the Soft Tissue in Your Mouth by:

  • Avoiding food that is hard, crispy or crunchy.
  • Reducing your intake of too sweet, sour or spicy food or drinks
  • Drinking less fizzy drinks as these contain carbonic acid
  • Not eating food that it is very hot
  • Drinking as little alcohol as possible
  • Wearing a night guard if you grind your teeth
  • Brush with a soft bristled toothbrush

Dental Visit

The Risk of Damage to the Soft Tissue in Your Mouth Becoming Infected Can be Minimised by:

  • Maintaining as high levels of oral hygiene as possible: brush your teeth twice and floss daily and visit the best dentist in Delhi for regular check-ups.
  • Have a healthy diet to boost your immune system: in particular make sure you take on enough Vitamin C and Vitamin B12
  • Avoid smoking a cigarette; smoke itself can infect damaged tissue
  • Rinse any sore part of your mouth with salt water solution
  • Keep well hydrated to allow the body to flush out toxins efficiently

Good Diet

How to Treat Mouth Ulcers?

As long as the ulcers aren’t constantly being rubbed against or repeatedly bitten down on, ulcers should go away by themselves.

  • Ulcers will disappear faster if they are not irritated or interfered with. It therefore may be a good idea to avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where you have an ulcer. Similarly, you should try to resist the urge to play with your ulcer with your fingers or tongue.
  • You can use the medicine prescribed by your dentist or general physician to reduce the pain of your ulcer. The reduced pain should also decrease your urge to play with your ulcer. This should promote healing further.
  • Anti-inflammatories / soothing gels / steroid based ointments fight infection as well as reduce pain, therefore making your ulcer heal faster.

Is There a Link Between Ulcers and Mouth Cancer?

Most of the time mouth ulcers are completely harmless, however they can be a symptom of mouth cancer.

These ulcers are usually single and last a long time without any obvious cause.

It’s important to be aware of the signs of mouth cancer. If your ulcer has lasted longer than three weeks, it is always a good idea to visit the best dentist in south Delhi to get it checked.

Can I Stop Ulcers Developing in My Mouth?

Readers battling the pain of a mouth ulcer may ask this question. How can you prevent mouth ulcers appearing in your mouth?

The best place to begin is with a good level of basic oral hygiene.

  • Keep your mouth clean and healthy by brushing your teeth twice a day
  • Clean between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes
  • Keep up with the best dentists in Delhi for six monthly check-ups

If mouth ulcers are repeatedly appearing in your mouth don’t forget to ask the dentist near you about it during your next check-up. The best cosmetic dentist in Delhi may be able to help identify the cause of a traumatic ulcer such as a sharp tooth.

If you’re frequently getting traumatic ulcers due to the way you brush your teeth you may want to change your toothbrush. A quality toothbrush will reduce the risk of damage to your mouth.

You may also want to check your diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins and reduce the risk of both mouth ulcers and mouth cancer.

It’s important to take mouth ulcers seriously but if you follow these steps, you have nothing to worry about.

If mouth ulcers have been bothering you recently, please book an appointment at ‘Smile Delhi- The Dental Clinic,’ we would be happy to take a look and give advice.

Healthy Lifestyle

To book an appointment with us at, ‘Smile Delhi – The Dental Clinic’– call us on +91-9811106871 or whatsapp Dr. Suprriya B Bhatia on +91-9811106377. We pride ourselves to have the best cosmetic dentist in South Delhi. You can also mail us on [email protected].

“We Care To Make You Smile”

Posted by: Dr Hema