The Truth About Mouth Ulcers or Mouth Sores

Millions of individuals experience recurrent ulcers in the mouth, and they can be tremendously painful. Teenagers are most often affected, though many encounter their first lesions well outside of this age range.

Usually, one to five small ulcers appear on the inside of lips or cheeks, floor of the mouth or tongue. The ulcers tend to be most frequent towards the front of the mouth.

Before the ulcers or mouth sores appear, the patient may experience a burning or tingling sensation. The ulcers are quite excruciating, particularly if the tongue is involved, which may make speaking and eating difficult. The life span of these ulcers can run a little over two weeks, but most commonly they last for about 10 days.

Types of Mouth Sores

Canker sores: A canker sore, also known as an mouth ulcer, is a single pale or yellow ulcer with a red outer ring or a cluster of such ulcers in the mouth, usually on the cheeks, tongue, or inside the lip.

Cold sores: Also called fever blisters, cold sores are fluid-filled sores that occur on or around the lips. Most commonly, herpes type 1 is the cause. Cold sores also very rarely form on the gums or the roof of the mouth. They are usually associated with tingling, tenderness, or burning before the actual sores appear. Cold sores are most contagious within the first few days of an outbreak. 

Related: Why Are Regular Dental Visits Important?

Some possible causes of mouth sores are as follows:

  • Biting your cheek, tongue, or lip.
  • Wearing braces or another type of dental apparatus, or having a sharp, broken tooth.
  • Chewing tobacco.
  • Burning one’s mouth from hot food or drinks.
  • Having gum disease (gingivitis) or other type of mouth infection.
  • Having hypersensitivity to certain things, such as foods or medicines.
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, Crohn’s disease, or Behcet’s disease.
  • Taking certain drugs such as chemotherapy, antibiotics, medications used for rheumatoid arthritis, or epilepsy medications.
  • Receiving radiation as part of cancer treatment.

General Health and Oral Health

Oral health is critical to general health and well-being throughout a person’s life. A healthy mouth enables your physical nutrition, enhances social confidence, and promotes self-esteem. Yet the mouth also serves as a window to the rest of the body, providing signs of general health disorders. For example, mouth lesions may be the first signs of HIV infection. Mouth ulcers are occasionally a symptom of Celiac disease, or Crohn’s disease, pale and bleeding gums can be a marker for blood disorders, bone loss in the lower jaw can be an early indicator of skeletal osteoporosis, and changes in tooth appearance can indicate bulimia or anorexia.

Related: What are the Costs of Delaying a Visit to the Dentist?

Potential Treatments

  • Upholding a high level of oral hygiene will reduce the likelihood of infection when ulcers occur; this can prove to be quite tricky since patients may find toothbrushing painful.
  • Covering agents are also available. Though they can be difficult keep in place on the inside of the mouth due to constant movement.
  • Use of antiseptics, chlorhexidine mouthwash, for example, is reportedby some patients to be helpful. Topical steroids can also provide relief.
  • In some females there is complete remission from mouth ulcers during pregnancy. Hence hormonal therapy has been tried with varied success.
  • Local anesthetic lozenges, sprays, and gels are also used to give the patient some relief when eating, for example.

Cross Biting and Mouth Sores

Malocclusion is a term that describes a difficulty in the way that the upper and lower teeth fit together in biting or chewing. The word malocclusion literally means “bad bite.” The condition may also be referred to as an irregular bite, crossbite, or overbite.

Furthermore, a person with crossbite may accidentally chew or bite the sides of their mouth, which can in turn lead to the development of mouth sores. If you think that you may have mouth sores that have developed as a result of your crossbite, you should see your dentist immediately to have the condition diagnosed and treated. If this sounds like you, then contact Dr. Jason Harvey’s office today.

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