Mouth ulcer is the erosion of mucous membrane, resulting in disruption of the pinkish-red lining inside the mouth. They are usually painful and uncomfortable, making eating, drinking, chewing and even speaking difficult.
Mouth ulcers are round or ovoid sores and may occur on tongue, gums, lining of the cheek , palate , lips. They resemble a shallow crater and are yellow, grey or red in colour.
Why do they occur?
- Trauma due to biting on hard objects, ill fitting dentures, sharp tooth, accidental tongue/ cheek bite. These resolve by themselves when the source of injury is removed.
- Food allergy, hormonal imbalances in females,lowered immunity , and nutritional deficiency(vitamins) can also result in ulcers.
- Minor (small) ulcers usually heal within a week or ten days and the major (large) ones can take more than two weeks to heal.
- Sometimes gastro intestinal disorders like chron's disease,coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease result in mouth ulcers.
- Use of certain drugs (medicines)- anti hypertensives, anti malarials, anti biotics, NSAIDS result in ulcer, and subside once the medication is withdrawn.
- Stress affects the immune system, and may result in ulcers. Though, this is not established through research.
- Certain non-healing ulcers can present as non- healing ulcers, hence it is extremely vital to identify the underlying cause.
Treatment of ulcers-
Home care -
- Avoid hard, spicy , hot and sour foods until the ulcer heals.
- If the food allergen is known, avoid it.
- Tongue has a natural tendency to explore the ulcer area, consciously avoid the contact of tongue with the ulcer.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Take a well- balanced diet (lot of greens included)
- Use a soft brush to avoid pain while brushing.
- Maintain good oral hygiene.
- Keep a healthy mind, if ulcers seems to be associated with stress, and anxiety.
Doctor care -
- Identification of underlying cause.
- Multi vitamin tablets, and advice on consumption on vitamin rich fruits (citrus - lemon / orange)
- Use of anti microbial mouth washes
- Use of analgesic gels
- Steroid gels or tablets (for large non-healing ulcers)
Note- Mouth ulcers are usually harmless and heal by themselves, but it is advised that you visit the dentist if the ulcer does not heal within a couple of weeks.
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