What is Mouth Ulcer?
A mouth ulcer is an exposed nerve. The lining of your mouth is incredibly sensitive and any break in its surface exposes the nerves that lie in and beneath it. Anything that touches them, whether it's food, liquid or a toothbrush, causes pain that means it can be difficult to eat, drink and even talk.
Mouth Ulcer Causes:
In most cases, mouth ulcers are not caused by an infection. This means they cannot be passed from person to person. For example, in most cases it is not possible to get a mouth ulcer from kissing someone who has a mouth ulcer, or by sharing drinking glasses or cutlery with them.
Most minor, single mouth ulcers are caused by damage to the mouth. For example, you may damage the inside of your mouth by accidentally biting the inside of your cheek while you are eating. Mouth damage can also occur from using a toothbrush incorrectly, or from a sharp tooth or filling.
Recurrent mouth ulcers :
The cause of recurrent (returning) mouth ulcers is often
unknown. However, a number of factors may increase your chances
of getting recurrent ulcers. These are listed below.
- Stress and anxiety
- Oral trauma, such as excessive tooth brushing, or chewing sharp or hard foods.
- Hormonal changes: some women develop mouth ulcers during their period. This is due to changes in the hormone levels in your body during your menstrual cycle.
Eating certain foods can also increases your likelihood of developing mouth ulcers. Foods that have been identified as increasing the risk of mouth ulcers include:
- wheat flour
Stopping smoking :
When you first stop smoking, you may find that you develop more mouth ulcers than usual. This is a normal reaction. Your body is dealing with the change in chemicals in your body.
After giving up smoking, any increase in mouth ulcers will be temporary, and you should not let it deter you from stopping smoking. The long-term health benefits of not smoking are far greater than the short-term discomfort of mouth ulcers.
If you have recurrent mouth ulcers, they may be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as those outlined below.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency: vitamin B12 helps to make red blood cells and keeps your body's nervous system healthy. A lack of vitamin B12 can cause tiredness, shortness of breath and mouth ulcers.
- Iron deficiency: if your diet is lacking in iron, your red blood cells will not be able to carry as much oxygen. This can make you feel tired, lethargic (lacking energy) and dizzy. Sometimes, an iron deficiency can also cause mouth ulcers.
- Coeliac disease is caused by intolerance to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye and barley. The condition causes the small intestine to become inflamed. Mouth ulcers are also a common symptom in adults with the coeliac disease.
- Crohn's disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the gut, leading to ulcers developing in both your stomach and mouth.
- Reactive arthritis is a reaction to another infection within your body. It can cause inflammation, which sometimes spreads to your mouth.
- Immunodeficiency: any condition that attacks or suppresses the body's immune system (the body’s natural defence against infection and illness) can cause you to develop mouth ulcers. For example, HIV is an immunosuppressant illness.
Occasionally, mouth ulcers are caused by a reaction to a medicine that you are taking. Some of the medicines that can cause mouth ulcers are listed below.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): painkilling medication, such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Children who are under 16 years of age should not be given aspirin.
Nicorandil is sometimes used to treat angina (chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart).
Beta-blockers are used to treat a variety of conditions that affect the heart and blood flow, such as angina, heart failure, high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms.
You may notice that you start to get mouth ulcers when you begin taking the medicine, or when you increase the dosage. However, this is often only a temporary effect of the medication.
Mouth Ulcer Symptoms:
- A round sore or sores inside the mouth
- Swollen skin around the sores
- Problems with chewing or toothbrushing because of the tenderness
- Irritation of the sores by salty, spicy or sour foods
- Loss of appetite.
Mouth Ulcer Prevention Tips:
- Brush your teeth at least twice every day.
- Floss regularly.
- Brush your teeth very gently, taking care not to slip with the brush.
- Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet.
- Make sure that underlying conditions, such as diabetes mellitus and inflammatory bowel disease, are managed appropriately.
Mouth Ulcer Home Remedies:
- Most effective home remedy for mouth ulcer is to chew few holy basil leaves with water twice in a day. This not only treats your ulcers but also prevents bad smell.
- Gargle at least 3-4 times in a day with fresh coconut milk.
- Alternately gargle with cold and hot water.
- Eat lot of raw salad especially raw onions. Onion contains lot of sulfur and it is effective in treating mouth ulcers.
- Drink lot of orange juice as deficiency of Vitamin C can lead to mouth ulcer.
- Eat lot of yogurt, buttermilk and cottage cheese.
- Mix small amount of sodium bicarbonate with water and use this solution as mouth rinse.
- Avoid eating spicy food especially meat, fish or any type of animal protein.
- Avoid eating sharp edged food like dry bread or potato chips. Also avoid lozenges, chewing gums, coffee, tobacco and any food which you think can trigger ulcer formation.
- Apply peppermint oil on the ulcers; this will relieve you from the irritation and pain.
- Thrice a day gently massage your affected gums with honey and coconut milk mixture.
- Until your mouth ulcers are cured make it a point to eat curd and banana daily in morning.
- Apply paste of honey and 1 tsp of powdered root bark of Indian Gooseberry on the affected area.
- Mulberry juice is highly beneficial in treating mouth ulcers.
- To 1 cup of water add 1tsp of coriander seeds, heat it till warm. Strain it and gargle with the solution 3-4 times a day