Mouth sores are little cuts or ulcers in the mouth which can be of different types. Being very painful, they can lead to dehydration, poor eating and weight loss.
Mouth sores, also called mouth ulcer, oral ulcer, canker sores or fever blisters, are little cuts or ulcers in the mouth. They may appear red on the circumference and may have small white patches in the middle. In most cases, only one sore is noticed, but a person may have more than one sore in his mouth.
Some of the common causes of mouth sores are listed below.
• Oxygen therapy
• Celiac disease
• Medicinal drugs
• Poor oral hygiene
• Eating hot food
• Iron deficiency
• Protein deficiency
• Vitamin deficiency
• Hereditary factors
• Folic acid deficiency
• Vitamin B12 deficiency
• Injury inside the mouth
• Alcohol / tobacco abuse
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Bacteria causing peptic ulcer
• Radiation treatments to the head and neck area
• Toothpaste and mouthwash with sodium lauryl sulfate
• Hormonal changes before menstrual cycle
Signs and Symptoms
- The person affected with canker sores may find it difficult to eat, swallow, breathe or talk.
- The sores may bleed when seriously infected.
- They can be present on any of the soft tissues of your lips or mouth, including gums, tongue, the roof and floor of your mouth.
- The sores look red and shiny. The swollen part in the mouth is easy to identify.
- The sores may also bleed inside the mouth while eating or while brushing.
- They may cause soreness or pain in the mouth or even in the throat.
- At times, the person may experience dryness and burning sensation while eating hot or cold food.
- He / she may notice a whitish thin film in the mouth or on the tongue.
- The person may notice soft white patches or pus and increased mucus in the mouth.
- Some people may suffer from fever and listlessness.
- In rare cases, the lymph nodes may also be swollen.
Primary treatment of mouth sore includes minimizing pain till the cells of mouth heal.
- Check your mouth twice / thrice a day with the help of flashlight or padded popsicle stick.
- Use a soft, nylon-bristle toothbrush for brushing. For softening of bristle, you can even try keeping the brush in hot water before brushing.
- Rinse the brush with hot water after brushing and keep it in cool and dry place. Make it a practice to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly after every meal of the day.
- Gently rinse your mouth with a mouthwash after every meal. Please do check that the mouthwash does not contain any alcoholic or toxic element in it.
- Flossing helps remove the plaque where your toothbrush may not be able to reach. Practice flossing at least once in a day.
- Try keeping your lips moist with petroleum jelly and drink enough quantity of liquids or fluids without alcohol or irritants in it.
- If the pain in the mouth continues and is severe, then you may take pain killers after consultation with your doctor.
- Avoid eating too hot and too cold food. Eat soft, non-spicy and well cooked food. Avoid eating raw vegetables, very salty or high sugar foods.
- Avoid drinks that contain alcohol and toxic elements. Also avoid tobacco.
- Depending upon the severity of the symptoms, your doctor may use coating agents to treat the sores. The entire lining of mouth is coated by a medicinal film to protect the sores. It helps minimize the pain while eating or drinking.
- Depending upon the seriousness of the sore you may also be recommended topical painkillers which can be directly applied to your mouth sores.
- Antihistamines, antacids, corticosteroids may be given, depending upon the cause and severity of the symptoms.
- Avoid food with sharp edges or crunchy food.
- You should have small meals more frequently. Food should be cut into small pieces or it should be in semi-liquid or liquid form.
- You may use straw for drinking liquids. It can help keep the liquids away from sore areas in your mouth.
When to Seek Doctor’s Appointment?
If the pain persists and eating or drinking becomes a problem, medical advice should be sort for. You must consult a doctor if you have bleeding gums. If redness, shininess or swelling continues for more than 48 hours you must ask for medical help. Also check if there is any sort of cut or sore in the mouth with whitish or yellowish patches inside the mouth or even on tongue.
Even though there is no assuring way to prevent mouth sores, you can always reduce the risks of developing serious sores in mouth. Preventive measures start with regular dental checkup. A good preventive measure is to take care of your teeth by brushing your teeth and flossing it at regular intervals, at least twice a day. Smoking is injurious to health and especially to oral health. Follow a balanced diet that contains proper proportion of vitamins and nutrients and drink plenty of water.
If a person is suffering from cancer, then depending on the stage of cancer and the treatment given, the doctor may recommend a different line of treatment to reduce the risk of mouth sores, like cryotherapy or cold therapy, medications to repair mouth cells (destroyed by radiation), low-energy laser therapy, etc. The person should consult the doctor for any unsolved gum disease, cavities or tooth decay, etc.
Simple Home Remedy
There are certain home remedies, which prove to be helpful in treating mouth sores. One of the simplest remedy is to mix baking soda with water and apply it to the affected part in the mouth. Glycerin also proves to be of great help in treating cuts in mouth.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.