Mouth ulcers are unpleasant sores that appear on the mouth or on the base of the gums. They make eating, drinking, and talking uncomfortable and often painful. Even though mouth ulcers aren’t contagious and go away within 7 to 14 days, they can make anyone’s life miserable.
Sometimes, ulcers turn into large and painful sores that don’t go away for weeks. Such sores require special medical attention. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for the mouth ulcers. You can battle the condition by prevention as well as avoiding irritants once the sores appear.
What Causes Mouth Ulcers?
Researchers are yet to find the causes of mouth ulcers. However, they have identified several triggers to avoid in order to prevent mouth ulcers formation. If you are prone to this condition, you should closely watch your behavior in order to prevent the breakouts.
- Small mouth injuries, which can occur due to improper brushing, accidental bites, and indelicate dental work.
- Brushing teeth with toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate. Studies have shown that even though SLS is FDA approved, it can cause mouth ulcers. Mouthwashes with SLS should also be avoided.
- Acidic foods, such as lemons, pineapples, and citrus can trigger mouth ulcers. If you are sensitive to these foods, it’s vital to watch the diet closely.
- Lack of certain vitamins, especially iron, folate, B-12, and zinc. If you are prone to mouth ulcers, it’s important to run blood tests to determine vitamin deficiencies. Don’t take vitamins if you aren’t sure you have a deficiency. Overdosing on vitamins is even more dangerous than suffering from the lack of them.
- An allergic response to certain mouth bacteria
- If you are wearing dental braces, you may have an increase in mouth ulcer breakouts.
- Certain hormonal changes during adolescence or pregnancy may trigger mouth ulcers.
- Lack of sleep and emotional stress are common mouth ulcer triggers.
- Fungal, bacterial, and viral infections can trigger mouth ulcers.
- If you quit smoking, you may trigger the appearance of mouth ulcers.
Women and adolescents are more prone to mouth ulcers. This condition is hereditary. So if one or both parents have mouth ulcers, the child is likely to suffer from them.
How To Treat Mouth Ulcers?
For regular mouth ulcer cases, an experienced dentist may prescribe an anti-bacterial mouthwash to deal with the sores. Certain ointments can also relieve the pain.
In case the sores don’t go away in two weeks, it may mean that the ulcers are symptoms of other conditions, such as AIDS, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more. That’s why it’s important to contact a doctor as soon as possible.
How To Prevent Mouth Ulcers?
Preventing mouth ulcers mostly includes avoiding the triggers. The more you watch your lifestyle, the more chances you have to prevent the sores or at least extend the time between the breakouts
- Avoid eating acidic foods that cause mouth ulcers. You may want to make a log of the foods you eat to see which ones seem to cause ulcers.
- Check if you have a vitamin deficiency and take proper vitamins.
- Try to avoid stressful situations and practice stress-relieving activities.
- Lead an active lifestyle and avoid junk food.
- Visit the dentist on a regular basis to ensure proper mouth hygiene.
- Try to avoid small mouth injuries. In some case, sharp teeth cause them. Discuss this problem with your dentist.
- Visit a physician to ensure you don’t have underlying diseases that can cause mouth ulcers.
- Avoid toothpaste and mouthwashes containing sodium lauryl sulfate.
Preventing mouth ulcers is easy. However, sometimes, these sores appear regardless of your prevention efforts. Be careful about not aggravating the condition and treating it timely.