are simply described as “sores or open lesions in the mouth.”
have several causes, including canker sores, gingivostomatitis, herpes simplex (fever blister), leukoplakia, oral cancer, oral lichen planus (a disease that affects the skin and/or mucosal tissues), and oral thrush.
The skin lesion of histoplasmosis, (an infection that occurs from breathing spores of the fungus) may also appear as a mouth ulcer.
Symptoms vary depending on the specific cause of the
but usually include:
Open sores in the mouth
Pain or discomfort in the mouth
A dentist or health care provider usually diagnoses the type of mouth ulcer, based on its appearance and location. Blood tests or biopsy may be needed to confirm the cause.
Avoid hot or spicy foods, which often increase the pain of mouth ulcers.
Many mouth ulcers are harmless and heal without treatment.
Ulcers usually start as a result of physical damage, from either an allergic reaction or auto immune system response to chemical or biological agents.
When you accidentally bite your tongue or cheek or puncture it with a sharp object, this can start what develops into a mouth ulcer!
A person who has an allergic reaction or auto-immune system response to chemical or biological agents, can initiate the formation of ulcers.
The primary damage takes place underneath the surface, causing cells to die within the connective tissue.
Now there’s a wound in the lining of the mouth. There are many good and bad micro-organisms and bacteria in your mouth, which now have access to the wound.
If too many bad bacteria colonize the wound, they take over and produce toxins, which in turn promote more cell death, causing the ulcer to get larger.
More infection, more pain!
Then, the bacteria lining the mouth ulcers surface can produce a “fibrillous exudate” (covering composed of cells, proteins, or solid material, serum, fibrin, and white blood cells) which effectively makes a protective coating over their new home. (Looks like a whitish covering to the mouth ulcer surface).
This continues until the body’s immune system comes up with the solution and the bad bacteria are controlled.
There are certain types of cancer, (squamous cell carcinoma) however, that first appear as a mouth ulcer that does not heal.
There are also cellulitis of the mouth, from secondary bacterial infection of ulcers and dental infections (tooth abscesses).
See your health care provider if your mouth ulcers don’t go away after 3 weeks, or if mouth ulcers return frequently, or new symptoms develop.
Good oral hygiene may help prevent some types of mouth ulcers, as well as some complications from mouth ulcers.
Good oral hygiene includes brushing your teeth at least twice per day, flossing daily, and getting regular cleanings and examinations.
Mouth ulcers can be avoided by keeping the lining of the mouth as healthy as possible. Here are some things you can add to your diet to build resistance to mouth ulcers.
Amino acids are the building blocks of life, and L-Lysine has been beneficial. Supplements containing a whole range of amino acids are available.
Avoid mouthwashes and toothpaste with anti-microbial action, as they will destroy the good bacteria as well as the bad.
Avoid toothpaste with detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
Vitamin B12 is particularly beneficial, but it is not stored in the body, so choose a supplement with a slow release.
Coconut oil is a great home remedy for curing mouth ulcers.
Coconut oil has been used for treating and healing sore throats, skin infections, dysentery, fevers and even flu.
But it’s the recent studies that have shown coconut oil to be a great home remedy for mouth ulcers, since it kills certain types of bacteria.
Rub the oil directly on your ulcers twice a day and you should notice a huge difference.
Several mouth washes are thought to kill the mouth ulcer causing bacteria also.
Mix a little tee tree oil in some hot water and gargle twice a day, but DO NOT swallow the mixture, as tee tree can be poisonous.
You can also rub salt or baking soda directly on to the wounds, these ease the pain and discomfort and help shorten the recovery time.
Products containing hyaluranon (hyaluronic acid) help tissue regeneration and can help prevent ulceration. it also helps protect connective tissue.
Add more good bacteria, acidophilus, natural yogurt and pro-biotic supplements to your diet. They are very beneficial.
Products containing xylitol also help get rid of some of the bad bacterias. (e.g. strep, which causes plaque and bad breath)
Author: Steve Berchtold