Mouth ulcers are small and painful lesions that appear in the mouth, but can also develop on the tongue, inside the cheeks, and on the lips. Although they are not a serious medical condition, they can be very uncomfortable and can make it difficult to eat and speak. If you are struggling with a mouth ulcer that won’t heal, there could be several reasons for this.
What causes mouth ulcers?
Mouth ulcers can be caused by various factors, including:
- Trauma: Accidentally biting the inside of your cheek, tongue, or lips, or using a toothbrush that’s too hard can cause small cuts that turn into ulcers.
- Viral infections: Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause painful ulcers on the lips, mouth, and gums.
- Bacterial infections: Certain bacteria, such as Helicobacter pylori and Streptococcus, can cause mouth ulcers.
- Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid can lead to mouth ulcers.
- Allergies: Some people may develop mouth ulcers due to an allergic reaction to certain foods or medications.
How are mouth ulcers treated?
Fortunately, most mouth ulcers will heal on their own within a week or two, but there are several treatments that can help to alleviate the pain and speed up the healing process. These can include over-the-counter pain relievers, topical medications, such as benzocaine, and mouthwashes that contain antimicrobial agents.
When to see a doctor for a mouth ulcer?
If your mouth ulcer is particularly large or painful, or if it hasn’t healed after several weeks, it is advisable to see a doctor or dentist for a proper diagnosis. They may recommend a course of prescription medication, such as corticosteroids, or perform a biopsy to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
What to do when mouth ulcers keep coming back?
If you are prone to recurrent mouth ulcers, there are several things that you can do to help prevent them from occurring. This can include avoiding spicy or acidic foods, maintaining good oral hygiene, and managing stress levels. You may also wish to consider taking vitamin and mineral supplements, such as vitamin B12 and zinc, which have been shown to reduce the frequency of mouth ulcers in some people particularly those deficient in these minerals and vitamins.
In conclusion, if you are struggling with a mouth ulcer that won’t heal, it is important to seek medical advice. While most mouth ulcers will heal on their own, there may be an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. If you are looking for further advice and support, Mr Wale Olarinde is an ENT doctor who can provide a personalised treatment plan to help manage your mouth ulcers and prevent them from recurring. Book a consultation today.