Did you know that more than one in ten people around the world are concerned about by mouth ulcers?* Once you understand what causes mouth ulcers, and know how to manage any resulting discomfort, there’s no need to worry. Read on to find out more about mouth ulcers.
What is a mouth ulcer?
A mouth ulcer is defined as an open sore on the skin inside your mouth (called the mucous membrane). They often form as a reaction to either trauma (biting your cheek, for instance) or internal changes (such as stress and anxiety). The spot will usually be circular or oval, white or grey in colour, and surrounded by a red edge. Mouth ulcers can vary in both size and duration with the longest healing time lasting several weeks. It is possible to have more than one at a time, and they will almost always vary in colour, shape, and location. They are usually found on the inside of your lips, cheeks or tongue, and cannot be passed from one person to another. It is important to remember that most of the time, mouth ulcers are nothing to be concerned about. Mouth ulcers may make eating, drinking, and brushing uncomfortable, but they will usually heal on their own. The initial pain that results from having an open sore in your mouth should go away within a couple of days and be completely healed within a week or two.
What are the causes of mouth ulcers?
What are the causes of mouth ulcers? There are a huge variety of causes for mouth ulcers that may apply to you. Some of the most common factors can include:
Biting the inside of your mouth
Trauma caused by a sharp edge on your tooth or dental fittings, like braces
Weakened natural defences of the mouth, due to bacteria imbalance
Stress and illness
Acidic foods: lemons, oranges, apples, and tomatoes for example
Spicy foods: such as curry or chillies
Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
Some medications: your pharmacist can give you more information
Using a toothbrush with hard bristles
Although they are common and generally harmless, mouth ulcers can also be painful and worrying. The first step in dealing with them is simply to be more aware of the above factors and make note of any patterns that result in recurring outbreaks. Speak to your doctor or dentist if you have more specific questions or concerns: they will be able to give professional advice that is unique to your medical history.
Many of the self-care methods recommended to help speed up the healing process can also be great for preventing mouth ulcers.
How to prevent mouth ulcers and speed up the healing process
Even though mouth ulcers tend to heal on their own, there are many ways to help speed up the process and alleviate discomfort. The different types of mouth ulcer treatments range from simple self-care remedies to solutions your pharmacist or doctor can recommend.
Solutions for mouth ulcers include:
Using soft-bristled toothbrushes with small, rounded heads that are designed to be gentle on delicate mouth tissue
Choosing a mild toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive mouths that doesn’t contain the foaming agent SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate), like Zendium
Avoiding spicy and acidic foods
Using a toothpaste that can boost good bacteria in the mouth and improve the microflora balance, like Zendium
Taking over-the-counter painkillers or lozenges with numbing ingredients to help with pain relief
Medicating with prescribed steroids to help reduce pain and swelling. You should consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication and ensure you follow the dosage instructions and avoid mixing medicines.
One of the best ways to fight mouth ulcers is to prevent them from happening in the first place. From reducing your stress levels to avoiding irritation from chewing gum, there are a variety of simple ways to prevent mouth ulcers from appearing. Many of the self-care methods recommended to help speed up the healing process can also be great for preventing mouth ulcers. A good oral health routine – using a soft-bristled brush and a gentle toothpaste – and avoiding foods that irritate your mouth can help you to care for your mouth and keep ulcers at bay. Everyone’s mouth is different, but with a little time and attention, it is possible to better understand how to manage your health and lifestyle in order to find a mouth ulcer treatment that works for you. Zendium does not contain foaming agents, instead it uses mild ingredients that won’t irritate delicate tissue in your mouth. It also contains natural enzymes and proteins already present in your mouth. So every time you brush, it boosts your mouth’s good bacteria whil reducing the bad bacteria and protects your mouth naturally against dental problems, such as mouth ulcers.
For more information on mouth ulcers and how to improve your oral health, click here.
*Based on research with 28,974 people, in thirteen countries around the world, about their oral hygiene. This sample is representative of more than half the global population. Research conducted by TNS in 2014-15
The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist if you are experiencing any oral care issue.