Mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores, are small, painful sores that develop inside the mouth. There are several causes of mouth ulcers, including:
- Injury or trauma to the mouth: This can include accidentally biting the inside of the cheek, brushing too hard, or wearing ill-fitting dental appliances.
- Infection or inflammation: Certain illnesses, such as the herpes simplex virus or thrush, can cause mouth ulcers. In addition, inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel or celiac disease can contribute to their development.
- Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of vitamin B12, iron, or folic acid can increase the likelihood of developing mouth ulcers.
- Hormonal changes: Women may be more likely to develop mouth ulcers during certain times of the menstrual cycle.
Treatment for mouth ulcers usually focuses on relieving the pain and discomfort and promoting healing. Some treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Topical treatments: Over-the-counter creams or gels containing benzocaine or hydrogen peroxide can help to relieve pain and promote healing.
- Mouthwash: Rinsing with a solution of salt water or baking soda and water can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Avoiding certain foods: Spicy or acidic foods can irritate mouth ulcers and make them more painful. Avoiding these types of foods can help to reduce discomfort.
Occasionally, mouth ulcers will heal independently within a week or two. If you experience frequent or particularly severe mouth ulcers, it is essential to see your dentist or doctor to determine the underlying cause and determine the best course of treatment.