Painful and unpleasant, mouth ulcers are a relatively common ailment to suffer from. They are sores which occur on the inside of the mouth and usually have a deep red appearance, although they can be yellowish, as well. They should not be mixed up with cold sores, which appear on the outer lips. Cold sores are exclusively the outcome of a virus. On the other hand, mouth ulcers can be caused by a variety of reasons. What causes mouth ulcers to occur, and what can you do about them?
Causes of Mouth Ulcers
Internal damage of the mouth can be caused by biting or sharp objects. For instance, you may have bitten the inside of your cheek before, causing soreness. Alternatively, you might have scraped your gums on a hard food, which caused them to swell. In either case, a mouth ulcer may come about due to the damaged tissue not healing properly. You can think of them like a blister that occurs on your outer skin. Some ulcers are caused by brushing your teeth too hard or from ill-fitting dentures. In either case, follow your dentist's advice to avoid a reoccurrence of this. In addition, certain cancer types can lead to ulcers forming, notably those at the back of the mouth.
Treating Mouth Ulcers
Many mouth ulcers will heal quite naturally and go away in the matter of a few days or weeks. It is advisable to keep your mouth clean if there is an ulcer because this will help to prevent unwanted bacteria from building up close to the ulcer, which often makes ulcers more painful and causes them to last longer. Rinsing your mouth with an anti-bacterial mouthwash and regular, gentle brushing with toothpaste is the best course of action. Nevertheless, some ulcers will hang around for much longer than is wanted, and these tend to be referred to by dental professionals as traumatic ulcers. In some cases, patients will have a number of traumatic ulcers in their mouth which refuse to heal naturally despite their best efforts to keep the mouth clean. This condition is called recurrent aphthous stomatisis.
When to Seek Professional Help
Most people deal with mouth ulcers themselves. Having said that, more serious ulcers should be seen by a dentist to make sure that the problem does not become more widespread. If you have multiple ulcers, large ones or ones that are located at the back of the mouth, close to your tonsils, then it is advisable to have them checked professionally. If your ulcer or ulcers have not healed in a three-week period, then seek help, too.