Uncomfortable and irritating, mouth ulcers can often signify stress, tiredness and generally poor health. Extreme stress levels can cause a number of other issues which impact oral health, including teeth grinding and tongue ulcers. The link between oral health and mental health is being researched more than ever, so let’s take a closer look at the connection between mouth ulcers and stress below.
Understanding the link between stress and ulcers
Mouth ulcers, also known as aphthous ulcers, usually go away after around ten days. There have been a number of recent studies showing the correlation between poor mental health and mouth ulcers, however, the exact reason for the link isn’t yet known. Stress is one of the most common causes of mouth ulcers and they are also linked to anxiety and depression, suggesting a connection between mental and oral health. Unfortunately, mouth ulcers can also lead to more stress as they can be incredibly uncomfortable and cause pain during eating.
For more information, please read our article on what mouth ulcers could tell about your health.
How to treat mouth ulcers
There are several treatments for mouth or tongue ulcers, but they often go away on their own with time. Try to avoid things that irritate your mouth and consider antimicrobial mouthwash, painkillers, saline mouthwash and corticosteroid lozenges to treat mouth ulcers. When you have mouth ulcers, try to avoid chewing gum or eating acidic or crunchy foods. If you’ve had a mouth ulcer for more than two weeks, it might be a sign of something more serious, so it’s important to talk to a medical expert or ENT specialist for advice.
Reducing stress levels
If you think your mouth or tongue ulcers have been triggered by stress, it’s essential to take steps to try and reduce your stress levels. Taking walks, using mindfulness techniques, reducing your workload or trying meditation or yoga can all be valuable ways to reduce stress.
If you are repeatedly getting mouth ulcers due to stress, try and eat softer foods, use a softer toothbrush and get regular dental check-ups so you don’t cause more irritation. Suppose you have tried to reduce your stress levels and are still suffering from regular mouth ulcers. In that case, a specialist ENT consultant can complete an examination to see if there are any underlying issues.
It is important not to self-diagnose mouth ulcers as they may be due to cancer. Although mouth cancers are not as common as lung, breast and bowel cancer, it is on the increase. Ulcers are therefore best assessed by medically qualified people.
Book an appointment
If you have been getting mouth ulcers regularly, it’s worth talking to an ENT specialist who can advise you on a potential treatment plan. Contact one of our experienced consultants by booking a consultation online.