Mouth ulcers are small painful ulcers that appear on the tongue, the lining of the cheeks and lips or the gums. They can be single or multiple. While most mouth ulcers are harmless, they are very painful and can cause considerable discomfort in eating, chewing, speaking and swallowing. A consultation with a dentist is a must for recurrent mouth ulcer problems.
CAUSES FOR MOUTH ULCERS
There are number of reasons for mouth ulcers. Some of the most common causes are injury or trauma due to sharp teeth, caps and dentures. Other common causes include stress, gastrointestinal problems, vitamin deficiency, and infections. People who use tobacco in any form should be worried about ulcers that can be cancerous.
HOW LONG DOES A MOUTH ULCER TAKE TO HEAL?
Unfortunately, there is no overnight cure for mouth ulcers. Mouth ulcers need time to heal. Generally, mouth ulcers take 7 to 14 days to heal. However, some larger ulcers can last even longer. Your dentist would be able to prescribe some ointments and tablets to reduce the pain and fasten the healing process.
ARE MOUTH ULCERS DANGEROUS?
Most mouth ulcers are small harmless ulcers that heal over a period of 2 weeks. Occasionally mouth ulcers can be cancerous especially in people with habits such as smoking or tobacco chewing. These ulcers can be dangerous if not treated early.
SIGNS OF DANGEROUS MOUTH ULCERS
- An ulcer that is non-healing for more than 3 weeks
- A painless non-healing ulcer
- An ulcer that is gradually increasing in size
- An ulcer that bleeds on touching or while chewing
- An ulcer that keeps recurring
ARE MOUTH ULCERS CONTAGIOUS
Ulcers that are of infectious origin due to bacteria, virus or fungus can be contagious.
DOS AND DONTS IN MOUTH ULCERS
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles
- Use a straw to drink fluids
- Eat a soft and bland diet
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fruits
- Visit your dentist regularly
- A non-healing ulcer of 3 weeks or more should be examined by a dentist or doctor and further investigations carried out
- Stop eating spicy, salty or acidic food
- Avoid crispy and crunchy food items
- Do not use toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulphate
- Do not neglect oral hygiene