Mouth Ulcer? Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Mouth ulcers, commonly referred to as canker sores, are small, painful lesions that form in the mucosal membrane of the mouth or at the base of your gums. Sometimes, they can grow larger and significantly interfere with your ability to eat, drink, and speak comfortably. Wondering what triggers them, or how you can prevent and manage them effectively? Let’s dive into the details.

Causes of Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers can be triggered by a variety of factors:

  • Minor Oral Trauma: Injury from dental work, accidental cheek bites, or harsh brushing can lead to ulcers.
  • Stress and Anxiety: Emotional stress is a common trigger for mouth ulcers in many people.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Lack of vitamins, especially B12, zinc, folate, and iron, is linked to the occurrence of mouth ulcers.
  • Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations during menstruation/ menopausal stages can trigger ulcers in some women.
  • Certain Foods: Acidic and spicy foods can aggravate the mouth lining and lead to sores.
  • Medical Conditions: Gut related conditions like Crohn's disease, and immunocompromised diseases can also make one more susceptible to mouth ulcers.
  • Environmental conditions: dry and humid weather or excessive air conditioned spaces could trigger mouth ulcers due to dehydration.

Preventing Mouth Ulcers

While not all mouth ulcers can be prevented, understanding their causes can significantly reduce their frequency. Ensure a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals known to prevent ulcers, and consider supplements if necessary. Managing stress through mindfulness and therapeutic practices may also help minimize the occurrence of ulcers. 

Treating Mouth Ulcers

Most mouth ulcers tend to heal naturally within one to two weeks. However, healing times can extend if the underlying causes are not addressed. To ease the discomfort and potentially accelerate the healing process, several treatment options are available:

  • Saline Rinses: Regularly rinsing your mouth with a saline solution can help soothe the ulcerated area and keep it clean, reducing the risk of infection.
  • Antimicrobial Mouthwashes: Use mouthwashes containing effective antimicrobial agents, such as povidone-iodine, which can help reduce microbial load and soothe irritation. 
  • Over-the-Counter Creams and Gels: Look for topical products that contain eugenol as an active ingredient. Eugenol, derived from clove oil, has been recognized for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying these creams or gels directly to the ulcer can numb the area, providing relief from pain and helping to heal the sore more rapidly.

Mouth ulcers may be small but they can be really uncomfortable and annoying. Understanding the causes and implementing measures for prevention and treatment  can significantly help you overcome them. 

Nuffield Pharm