Mouth ulcers cause discomfort and could actually be a sign of a more serious issue.
If you’ve ever had a mouth ulcer, you’ll know how unpleasant it can be. First, you feel a tingling on your gums or lip, and then an uncomfortable stinging sensation when anything comes into contact with the sore. We take a look at what causes mouth ulcers, and why you should keep an eye on them.
What is a mouth ulcer?
An ulcer is a small lesion that develops in the mouth, often at the base of the gums or the inside of the lip. They can cause discomfort when eating and drinking, as well as when you brush your teeth. Generally, mouth ulcers only last a week or two, but if you notice a sore that doesn’t heal over time, it’s a good idea to see your dentist for a check-up.
What causes mouth ulcers?
In many cases, mouth ulcers are caused by trauma to the soft tissues in the mouth. Accidentally biting your lip or the inside of your cheek, for example, can cause a sore to develop.
Other types of ulcers, however, can be triggered by factors like stress; poor nutrition that results in a vitamin deficiency; an allergic reaction to certain mouth bacteria; and an infection in the mouth. While these factors often trigger the development of mouth ulcers, the exact cause is still unclear.
Why do you get mouth ulcers?
While the cause of mouth ulcers has not been determined, research shows that they could be a sign of a more serious underlying health issue. These issues include diabetes; inflammatory bowel disease; celiac disease; or a problem with the function of your immune system.
Can certain foods cause mouth ulcers?
In many cases, people notice an ulcer after eating certain foods. While it might seem like these foods cause the ulcers, it is actually more likely that eating them causes a stinging sensation, forcing you to become aware of the sore in your mouth. Foods that can cause ulcers to burn or sting include acidic foods like citrus fruits, as well as spicy dishes.
How to treat mouth ulcers
Generally, mouth ulcers do not lead to serious problems, but it is still important to seek professional help if they don’t clear up within a couple of weeks. It’s also important to see your dentist if you notice that you are developing ulcers regularly, as this could be a sign of a more serious health condition. In some cases, mouth ulcers can even be a sign of oral cancer, so we encourage you to come in and see us if you are struggling with recurrent sores.
One of the best ways to avoid serious oral health problems is to come in for regular check-ups. We will assess the health of your teeth and gums and perform a though examination of your tongue, throat, face, head and neck for possible signs of cancer.
If it’s been a while since your last visit, please get in touch with us to make an appointment.