Mouth ulcers, also known aphthous ulcers, are painful sores that occur in the mouth. They may cause pain and discomfort, but they are usually harmless and subside within a week or two without any specific treatment. Home care helps manage mouth ulcers. However, if the ulcers persist beyond two weeks, you need to visit a GP.
Aphthous ulcers usually look oval or round in shape inside the mouth. They can be seen on the lips, cheeks and tongue. They can be red, white, yellow or grey in colour with mild swelling. One should not be confused between a mouth ulcer and cold sore. Cold sore is characterized by burning, tingling and itching sensation around the lips and mouth.
Causes of mouth ulcers
Many cases of mouth ulcers are idiopathic. They can be caused due to following factors –
- Accidental biting inside the cheek
- Ill-fitting dentures
- Eating too hot, spicy foods
- Stress and anxiety
- Underlying medical conditions – Vitamin B12 or iron deficiency, gastrointestinal disease, etc.
Treatment of mouth ulcers
Usually, you do not require any treatment for mild ulcers that fade away within a week or two. However, treatment is required if the condition persists for more than two weeks. Proper self-care helps heal mouth ulcers. Apply a protective paste over and around the ulcers. Use a soft toothbrush while brushing. Do not use toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulphate. Avoid spicy, hot and acidic foods. Medications prescribed for mouth ulcers are –
- Painkillers – Painful ulcers require painkiller medicines in the form of oral tablets, topical gels or spray
- Antimicrobial Mouthwash – This may speed up healing and prevent infection; antimicrobial mouthwash contains chlorexidine gluconate
- Corticosteroid Lozenges – They reduce pain and promote healing
Corticosteroids, certain painkillers and antimicrobial mouthwashes are not advised for children below 12 years, so be careful.
At PharmacyOutlet, you can come across a wide range of medicines that are helpful in treating mouth ulcers.