Posted on: 14 June, 2022
Mouth ulcers are sores that develop on the inside of the mouth. Sores may appear on the inner lip or cheek, the gum, the tongue or other soft areas of the mouth.
3 minute read
Mouth ulcers are usually harmless and should go away on their own within a couple of weeks, but they can cause a lot of discomfort in the meantime. In cases where mouth sores don’t go away, they may be a sign of something more serious.
Read this guide to find out what causes mouth ulcers, when you should see a dentist and ways to relieve mouth ulcer pain.
Got questions about your oral health? Contact our team today.
A mouth ulcer can develop when soft tissue inside the mouth is damaged or worn away. They are usually caused by irritation or injury, but may have other underlying causes.
If ulcers are in a visible position, they usually look round and white or grey in colour and may be accompanied by swelling.
Ulcers can feel painful or uncomfortable when touched or irritated. This is more likely to happen when:
Mouth ulcers are sometimes referred to as mouth sores. It's important to distinguish them from cold sores, as ulcers are not contagious and do not itch.
Mouth ulcers can have many possible causes. The most common are accidental injuries or irritation caused by:
Other causes of mouth ulcers can include:
Dentists routinely perform oral cancer screenings to look for signs of a problem during a regular check-up. If you're overdue for a check-up, or if you're concerned about anything abnormal inside inside your mouth, book an appointment with us today.
Mouth ulcers may be more likely to develop or have worse symptoms if:
Some people have recurring mouth ulcers, known as aphthous ulcers. Treating these ulcers requires addressing the underlying cause.
Most mouth ulcers heal by themselves within 10 to 14 days. You should see a dentist, GP or other health professional if:
A mouth ulcer that doesn't heal can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health problem. Your dentist may conduct an oral cancer screening if you are in a risk category.
Your dentist or doctor may also recommend a blood test or biopsy to determine whether your ulcer may be a symptom of a medical condition or vitamin deficiency.
Your dentist can discuss steps you can take and home remedies that might speed up the healing process, help to relieve discomfort and lower your risk of developing further ulcers. These can include:
Your dentist or doctor can give you advice about products you can buy from pharmacies without a prescription that may help to ease symptoms or lower your risk of developing further ulcers. Depending on your situation, these could include:
A warm salt water solution is the most common home remedy for disinfecting a mouth ulcer and helping it to heal faster. To use a salt water rinse:
If a mouth ulcer is more severe or recurring, your dentist or doctor may prescribe a stronger immunosuppressant or steroid medication in tablet or mouthwash form.
If you need to talk to a professional about a mouth ulcer or for other oral health advice, make an appointment with our East Vic Park dentists at EVP Dental.