Mouth sores can be defined as small but painful lesions developing at the base of gums or in the mouth. Doing activities such as talking, drinking and eating can get disturbed by these mouth sores. The other names given to the mouth sores are canker sores and mouth ulcers.
The individual, whether he is an adolescent, woman, or any person having a family history of mouth sores is at increased risk of mouth sores and can get affected with mouth sores very easily.
This condition is not contagious and usually gets treated within a time period of one to two weeks. But in rare cases, if a mouth sore is extremely large, painful, and takes a long recovery time, then a consultation with the doctor is required.
The exact cause of mouth sores is not known yet. But there are several known factors that can trigger the development of mouth sores. These factors include:
- Fungal, viral or bacterial infections
- Lack of sleep and emotional stress
- Changes in hormones during the menstruation period
- Dental braces
- Allergic response to mouth bacteria
- Deficiency of essential minerals and vitamins such as iron, folate, zinc, and Vitamin B-12
- Food sensitivities to highly acidic foods such as pineapples, strawberries, and various other citrus fruits.
- Excessive intake of coffee and chocolate
- Mouth rinses or toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate
- Minor injury in the mouth during an accidental bite, dental work, sports injury, or hard brushing
Mouth sores can also be an indication of conditions that are more severe and need medical treatment. These conditions would be:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Behcet’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Celiac disease
- Abnormal functioning of the immune system makes the immune cells attack the healthy cells of the mouth
Types and Symptoms
Basically, there are three types of mouth ulcers. These are:
- Minor: Minor mouth sores are little oval or round sores that get treated within one or two weeks without any scarring.
- Major: Major mouth sores are deeper and larger than minor mouth sores. Usually, they have irregular edges and can be healed within six weeks. This type of mouth sores can result in prolonged scarring.
- Herpetiform: This type of sores is of a pinpoint size and occurs in clusters of 10 to 100. Herpetiform mouth sores are mostly observed in adults. Irregular edges of mouth sores are also seen in this type and they can take up to one or two weeks to heal.
A doctor’s checkup is immediately required if you are developing any of the following:
- High fever or diarrhea along with mouth sores
- Mouth sores extending to the lips
- Painless mouth sores
- Mouth sores taking more than three weeks to get healed
- New mouth sores before the healing of old ones
- Uncommon large mouth sores
Mouth sores can be diagnosed via a visual exam performed by the doctor. If a person is facing severe, frequent mouth ulcers, he must need to be tested for other medical conditions.
Home Remedies & Tips for Treating Mouth Ulcers
Mouth sores don’t need any treatment. They get healed on their own within one or two weeks. But if the pain of mouth sores is extremely painful, following given home remedies and tips will decrease pain and heal faster. These tips include:
- Applying ice to mouth sores
- Placing damp tea bags on mouth sores
- Using topical pastes
- Using baking soda on mouth sores
- Applying a rinse of baking soda and saltwater
- Using milk of magnesia on mouth sores
- You can also use honey on mouth sores
- Yogurt is also helpful in reducing the healing time
- Echinacea herb is also beneficial for wound healing and strengthening the immune system
- Watermelon frost can be considered as the effective cure for mouth sores
Preventable Measures For Mouth Sores
Here are some measures to be followed which helps you in the prevention of mouth sores as well as in improving overall health:
- Avoid consuming foods that irritate your mouth such as acidic fruits including lemon, orange, grapefruit, pineapple, etc.
- Take a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients
- Avoid talking during chewing food which helps you in decreasing accidental bites
- Reduce stress
- Maintain healthy hygiene of mouth by brushing teeth twice daily
- Get proper rest and sleep i.e. 7-8 hours in a day
Mouth sores are less painful but very annoying, irritating, and can disturb our daily routine activities such as chewing, speaking, etc. But there is no need to worry, follow above mentioned preventable measures to prevent the development of mouth sores but unfortunately, if the mouth sores are already developed in your mouth, use the above-given tips and home remedies to reduce pain and heal mouth sores in a fast manner.