Tel: 010 300 0279

mouth ulcerOne of the more uncomfortable and painful things you can experience in the mouth is a mouth ulcer. They can occur any place inside the oral cavity which includes the inner surface of the lips and cheeks, at the bottom of the gums, tongue and soft palate. Mouth ulcers can be caused by various factors some of which include chewing on the cheeks, emotional stress, viral infections to name but a few. So basically mouth ulcers occur as the body’s reaction when there has been some adverse event in your life. Mouth ulcers can occur a few times in a person’s lifetime, or they could be chronic breakouts, and this would require some investigation to determine the cause.

What causes mouth Ulcers?

Though there are some that might disagree, most have agreed that the worst area to have a mouth ulcer is on the tongue. The reason for this is that the tongue has more movements involved when sensing taste, when directing food and receiving sensations of touch. If you have a mouth ulcer, you will find doing any of these things near impossible, because it is very painful. There are some very specific reasons that cause mouth ulcers on the tongue. Some you can avoid, but others are unavoidable. They are:

* Foods high in acidity, spices and salt
* Hormonal balance changes
* Genetic inheritance
* Viral infections
* Too little Vitamin B12, iron and folic acid in the diet
* Using a toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulphate
* When the tongue has been injured by either biting or chewing

What are the symptoms of mouth ulcers?

Mouth ulcers only appear on the inside of the mouth, never on the outside like cold sores.

What are the more common symptoms?

* A sensitive red spot or red bump that eventually becomes an open ulcer. There can be more than one appearing at the same time.
* The colour of the inside of the ulcer is yellow or white
* The size of an ulcer is usually under 1cm, but can be bigger

What are the lesser symptoms?

* Fever
* A feeling of discomfort
* Swollen lymph nodes

A mouth ulcer takes some time to heal, and this can cause great discomfort while eating or drinking because it is extremely sensitive and painful. The pain should start fading anything from 7-10 days; however the ulcer can take up to 3 weeks to heal.

You may need to seek some medical help if the mouth ulcer persists. Tests can be done to determine if the ulcer is a result of allergies to medication, herpes infection, and other potential causes.

What treatment is there for mouth ulcers?

As noted previously, mouth ulcers heal on their own and the duration of the pain lasts for about 1 week to a week and a half. So if you have a mouth ulcer you have two choices. You could either live with the pain for a while, or you could get some over the counter medication that would help to ease the pain. Most people however do opt for pain relief medication especially if the ulcer is on the tongue area.

Believe it or not, the simplest yet effective remedy for an ulcer on the tongue is right in your own kitchen

* Gargling and swishing with salty luke warm water could relieve some of the pain

* A mixture made of half-half hydrogen peroxide and milk of magnesia will sooth the mouth ulcer. To apply the mixture, dip an ear bud (cotton swop) into the mixture and then dab on the ulcer three to four times daily.

* You can also mix one half Benadryl to one half Milk of Magnesia and then gargle and swish the mixture around in your mouth for about a minute long. When done, spit out and then rinse your mouth. Do not swallow.

Over the counter remedies if the home remedies did not work for you

* Any pain relief products containing benzocaine will numb the mouth ulcer and give instant pain relief.

* Aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen will help relieve the pain

* Carbamide peroxide solutions release oxygen on contact with the mouth ulcer. This not only cleans the mouth ulcer, but also relieves the pain as well as give antibacterial properties.

If the common remedies are still not working, then it is advised to consult your doctor for stronger treatments. Medical treatment is advised when the over the counter products are not working, or if the ulcer has not healed after a week and a half. Some of the medications that the doctor might prescribe are:

* Silver Nitrate will provide fast healing and relief. The application has to be done by a medical professional, but there are sticks available on the internet. With Silver Nitrate the pain associated with a mouth ulcer will go away within a few hours, and the mouth ulcer will be healed within a few days. One downer here is that a burnt taste is associated with usage.

* Debacterol, which is a combination of sulfonated phenolic compounds and sulfuric acid. This combination chemically burns the mouth ulcer. It works very similarly to the Silver Nitrate but is only available by prescription.

* There are various antibiotics and corticosteroids that are available from your doctor for the pain relief. They are all used differently, but they all provide quick pain relief and reduce the healing time for severe mouth ulcers on the tongue.

So which treatment would best suit your mouth ulcer?

It would depend on the severity of the mouth ulcer, and your pain tolerance. The pain experienced while trying to eat even the softest of foods while having a mouth ulcer on the tongue is almost unbearable, so the key here is to try and get rid of the mouth ulcer as quickly as possible. You can start with the home remedies first and then take it from there. You might even prefer to be aggressive and get the strongest form of treatment from the word go and relieve the pain in order for you to be able to eat normally sooner. The choice is ultimately yours but there are plenty of options available to you to relieve and heal a mouth ulcer.