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Mouth Ulcers: Why Do They Occur?

Mouth ulcers are a very common health problem with one in five adults and 5-10% of children suffering from them on a regular basis. Most of us will experience a mouth ulcer at some time in our lives and there is no specific medical treatment to help prevent or treat ulcers – they usually heal spontaneously within 10-14 days and although irritating and painful, do not have lasting health implications.

What is a Mouth Ulcer?

A mouth ulcer is a painful round or oval sore that develops in the mouth and often causes pain or discomfort, especially while eating or talking. Minor ulcers are usually 2-8mm in diameter and heal in less than two weeks. These are the most common type of mouth ulcer and will not cause scarring.

Major ulcers are larger, more than 1cm in diameter and more clearly defined. These are much less common but are generally not an indication of a serious problem, although they will take longer to heal and can cause scarring. Herpetiform ulcers account for less than 10% of mouth ulcers and form as multiple pinhead sores, which can fuse together to form very painful, larger sores.

What Causes Mouth Ulcers?

Mouth ulcers are often caused by damage to the soft tissue in the mouth, perhaps by a toothbrush or an accidental bite while eating. Recurrent mouth ulcers, however, can be linked to stress or hormonal changes and can also be triggered by certain foods – tomatoes, cheese and coffee are frequent culprits!

It is important to visit your Doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Recurrent mouth ulcers can also be caused by a lack of vitamin B12 or an iron deficiency. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohns disease and Coeliac disease can also cause mouth ulcers as a symptom and any disease that attacks the immune system, such as HIV, can include recurrent mouth ulcers as a complication.

How to Treat Mouth Ulcers

You can help a mouth ulcer to heal more quickly by:

  • Reducing your stress levels! Relaxing will have a huge effect on your overall health and wellbeing as well as helping to heal your mouth ulcer more quickly.
  • Avoiding any foods that may have triggered the ulcer. You may be more susceptible to developing more mouth ulcers while your immunity is lowered so be aware of dietary factors that may be irritating your mouth.
  • Eating softer foods that do not irritate your mouth ulcer. Soft foods will help your mouth to heal more quickly as they are easier to chew.
  • Using a soft toothbrush to avoid damaging your gums and encourage the soft tissues in your mouth to recover from damage.

Visit Your Dentist in Ballincollig

If you’re searching for a Dentist in Cork, look no further than Guiney Dental Clinic, where our experts are on hand to help! Call today on 021-481 0535.


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