Medicine, Treatment and Prevention of Mouth Ulcers
Mouth ulcers. Ouch. Just saying the phrase can make your mouth hurt. Most people have experienced the pain of mouth ulcers at some point in their lives. That's due in part to the fact that there are so many different types of mouth ulcers and reasons that they might occur. For some people, it's just something that happens now and then and it gets written off as a cold sore that will go away on its own in a few days. For others, the very presence of a mouth ulcer gives them fears of cancer. While mouth ulcers can be caused by serious problems such as cancer (and of course, those cold sores could be a form of herpes) the fact of the matter is that most mouth ulcers aren't symptoms of a big health problem. Nevertheless, they can be painful so you probably want to treat them as quickly as possible and to prevent them from returning if you can.
You'll know that you have a mouth ulcer because it hurts. If you open your mouth and use a mirror to look inside, you'll also be able to see the ulcer there. It's basically an open soar that usually appears white. The area of the mouth surrounding the sore will usually be a darker red than the rest of the mouth. If you feel pain in your mouth but don't see this sore, you might be about to experience a mouth ulcer. Catching it at this stage can prevent the pain from getting out of control so you'll want to treat yourself immediately if you feel signs that a mouth sore is emerging.
So how do you treat a mouth sore? It depends a little bit on the cause of the mouth sore. For example, these are sometimes caused by damage to the mouth (such as biting down on your cheek) in which case the best treatment is to leave it alone and let it heal. For other mouth ulcers, you'll basically just want to be kind to your mouth until it heals. This means that you should make sure that your mouth stays clean by brushing your teeth and swishing regularly throughout the day. Use mild products such as a light salt water flush rather than strong products like minty mouthwash. You should also make sure that the foods you eat while you have a mouth sore are mild. Avoid spices and anything too hot or too cold. Finally, if the pain won't go away, you can purchase topical relief for the symptoms either over the counter or through a doctor's prescription.
You should also note that some people get mouth ulcers as a result of significant changes in their bodies or lives. In other words, if you lose a lot of weight at one time, undergo a major surgery or suffer serious stress, mouth ulcers might show up. If you recognize that these are the reasons that you're getting the mouth ulcers, do what you can to improve the health of your body. Try to de-stress, get enough rest and eat properly. Your body should go back to normal and the mouth ulcers will probably go away.
Treatment resolves the problem once it begins but of course you'll also want to engage in mouth ulcer prevention so that you don't have to deal with this problem again in the future. Prevention is difficult at the beginning because it requires that you identify what is causing the mouth ulcers to occur. Once you've determined that, you can simply avoid the cause of the mouth sore. For example, allergies are a common reason people get mouth ulcers. Consider the foods that you eat, the medications that you take and the toothpaste that you use. If you have recurring ulcers, one of these could be the reason and stopping their use can stop the problem. Recurring ulcers may also be a sign that you're body's deficient in something (such as Vitamin C) which means you'll need to get what you need on a regular basis. It can also be hormonal so if you're not finding the problem, keep a diary about the ulcers to determine if this could be the cause.
If you can't find the cause of your mouth ulcers on your own, you may want to go to a doctor. Let him or her know what you've ruled out. Then he/she can check for additional causes such as immune problems in the body, oral cancer and bacterial or viral infections. Chances are that you don't have one of these problems but you might so get it checked out. The doctor can then treat the underlying problem and prevent the mouth ulcers from showing up as a symptom of that problem. Once you've treated the problem that causes the mouth ulcers, you probably won't see them turn up again. If they do, you should immediately note any changes to your diet or medication to see if this is the cause.
Finally, you will want to make sure that you engage in normal healthy oral hygiene to further prevent mouth ulcers from forming. This means that you should brush your teeth twice daily. It also means that you should limit your sugar intake and flush your mouth out with water when you've eaten sugars or spicy foods. Floss your teeth as recommended by your dentist. Follow up with a good mouthwash or rinse your mouth out with clean water to make sure that you've left no residue behind.
The main reason that you'll want to follow these treatment and prevention methods for taking care of mouth ulcers is, of course, because you want to rid yourself of what's causing you pain. You might also want to get rid of them because they can be unsightly if they are in an area that can be seen by others when you speak to them. However, there's also a good health reason to treat and prevent mouth ulcers. Oral ulcers can become infected if untreated. This will lead to additional health problems at worst or make the ulcers stick around longer at best. By treating and preventing the problem, you avoid these risks.
Last updated on October 30, 2012
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