Mouth ulcers are aching sores that surface in the mouth, on the inner surface of your cheeks. They are also referred to as Aphthous ulcers and turn out to be a painful condition while drinking, eating or brushing your teeth. Most of the mouth ulcers are harmless as they do not require any medical treatment and heal on their own.

Mouth ulcers are a recurring problem that one in five people suffer with around the world. It is a mixture of bacteria from the surrounding air and a disturbed liver. A disturbed liver means a liver that is either in harm’s way by anything you have consumed recently such as alcohol or if you have a certain liver problem that is either genetic or picked up from somewhere. All this illustrates the fact that an unhealthy liver is the root cause of mouth ulcers. Gastric problems may also cause mouth ulcers as the mouth is linked to the stomach and is one direct route.

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Mouth ulcers last not more than two weeks and come and go seasonally; they are extremely painful and hinder our routine of eating. This is because the ulcers can be so painful that even the slightest touch with any substance can trigger a stabbing pain in the mouth thus forcing you to stick to liquids much easier to consume.

Mouth ulcers are easy to treat but they can never be gotten rid of in just one day. It is a fact that people suffering from a recurring mouth ulcer problem their entire life have now gotten used to it and pay no heed to its eradication; it comes at its own time and leaves when it wants. Mouth ulcers can extend in the most severe cases all the way down the throat and at this point requires medical attention, only liquids such as warm or cold milk can be consumed at this point.

Causes and Symptoms Of Mouth Ulcers:

What are the symptoms and causes of mouth ulcers you can follow the below paragraphs carefully.

Causes Of Mouth Ulcer:

There are a few distinct causes of mouth ulcers which both contribute to and cause this infection of the mouth; some of these distinct causes are:

1. Biting:

Minor mouth ulcers are usually caused by biting on the inside of the mouth or cheek or any collision that may have hurt the skin on the inside of your mouth, cheek or tongue. Biting is the most basic cause of mouth ulcers and contributes to 60% of all cases that involve this infection. Biting may occur while chewing food or while talking. Your teeth make an abrasion in the lining of your mouth causing a sore or an ulcer.

2. Hormonal Changes:

This particular cause is prevalent mostly in women. Ulcers in women occur at most times due to hormonal changes that are when they are having their period or are pregnant. Periods and pregnancy are the two major hormonal changes that women face in their lives and it has been noted that hormonal changes cause mouth ulcers in most women as the blood heats up from inside.

3. Mineral or Vitamin Deficiency:

Mineral or vitamin deficiency can even sometimes lead to mouth ulcers. It has been found that iron or Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause mouth ulcers along with a feeling of tiredness and breathlessness. These vitamins and minerals are essential as they aid the production of red blood cells and keep the nervous system healthy. Hence the deficiency of these vital minerals or vitamins in the body can increase the risk of developing mouth ulcers.

4. Weakened Immune System:

Any medical condition or infection that weakens the immune system of the body greatly increases the risk for the development of mouth ulcers. A weakened immune system reduces the body’s ability to fight against illness or foreign infections. Infection through HIV/AIDS also increases your chances of developing mouth ulcers as these illness causes immunodeficiency in the body.

5. Medical Conditions:

A genetic or hereditary problem may be a cause of mouth ulcers. Sometimes recurring ulcer genes can be passed from parent to child. This medical condition is a minor problem in almost all households and is generally overlooked. Medical conditions may also include ongoing problems such as high blood pressure, gastric problems and other ailments that affect the functioning of your body. Sometimes an ailment as mild as fever may cause mouth ulcers.

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6. Specific Foods:

It has been found that certain food products like citrus fruits and some vegetables should be avoided during mouth ulcers. They include oranges, lemons, apples, pineapples, figs, strawberries and tomatoes. Although they cannot be termed directly to be the causes of mouth ulcers, these specific foods are known to be the triggers and in some cases worsen the condition. It is therefore best to avoid these specific foods during mouth ulcer infections to prevent the condition from getting more severe.

7. Stopping Smoking:

If you are stopping smoking then it is highly likely that you will face mouth ulcers at some given point in time. Stopping smoking alters the chemicals in your body causing a bit of a disbalance this disbalance is the cause of mouth ulcers. During this period mouth ulcers only last for a limited period of time and will leave on their own accord so don’t give up if you are stopping smoking just for mouth ulcers it is just a small setback to a greater victory that you will have later.

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8. Certain Medications:

Recent studies have shown that specific medications can cause some reactions in the body that may ultimately lead to the development of mouth ulcers. These include beta-blockers, common painkillers and specific medicines for chest pain. In cases where you cannot completely avoid these medicines, it is best to consult your doctor for any alternative medication or treatment. Furthermore, some medications like alendronate, cytotoxic drugs and nicorandi may cause mouth ulcers in the form of side effects.

9. Poor Oral Hygiene:

Not maintaining proper oral hygiene can also lead to the development of mouth ulcers. The presence of food particles in the cavities of teeth is an ideal ground for microorganisms to grow. The infections thus caused then increased the likelihood of the development of ulcers. Sometimes mouth ulcers are also caused due to rigorous brushing or due to an injury resulting from a toothbrush.

10. Stress:

Stress is also known to be one of the vital mouth ulcers causes. A stressful condition often causes emotional and mental pressure and a person finds it difficult to cope. When you are under stress your body also becomes weak thereby making you more susceptible to infections such as mouth ulcers. If your stress is causing you serious health problems like high blood pressure, it is best to consult your GP. The doctor may then prescribe further tests and medications to detect any underlying problems, which might result due to stress.

Mouth Ulcer Symptoms:

There are some distinct and highly understandable symptoms of mouth ulcers which will give you a heads-up as to when you are going to start facing this problem; these distinct symptoms are given below:-

1. Presence of Round Sores In The Mouth:

The foremost symptoms of mouth ulcers are the formation of round or oval sores inside the mouth, on the soft palate, on the inside of the cheeks or sometimes even on the tongue. These sores are very painful and cause a feeling of discomfort in chewing, drinking and brushing the teeth. These sores in your mouth may appear red or can even look grey, white or any other colour.

2. Tear In Skin:

If you have recently faced a problem involving the biting of the inside of your mouth or tongue or if by any chance you have cut your lip or the inside of your cheek then the chances of you getting a mouth ulcer in that area are extremely high. This is because your mouth is open to millions of bacteria throughout the day with the food you eat and the air you breathe. This bacteria mixes with the saliva in your mouth and is introduced to these existing cuts and abrasions. When the bacteria moves into these cuts a mouth ulcer is formed.

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3. Numbness:

Usually, the area that is going to face a mouth ulcer goes numb a few days prior to the event. The numbness is followed by a dull pain that reduces the tasting capacity of your mouth for any food. Food will hurt the area sometimes even without you noticing. The pain will slowly build up if not treated with gel readily available at any drug store. Warm water gargling along with a little salt also helps but this is a traditional process to nip the problem in the bud.

4. Swelling:

Usually pain or hurt inflicted areas that cause ulcers usually swell up over time. This is because the skin has been hurt to a great extent. The swelling is home to mouth ulcers as this area of the mouth is now a bacteria-prone zone. There is no way a person can prevent ulcers from forming in their mouth at this point and therefore can do very little for its treatment. Ice and warm water gargling may help in reducing the pain and swelling over a period of time.

5. Difficulty In Eating:

When you begin to develop mouth ulcers in your mouth, you will begin to witness difficulty in eating your food. The presence of sores in your mouth is the main cause of this problem. Eating hot or cold food may hurt and you might also feel difficulty in drinking liquids. Also, a person may feel difficulty while brushing and cleaning teeth.

6. Speech Problems:

This sign and symptom is normally related to tongue ulcers. You know that the tongue is the speech provider that helps us speak without hindrance therefore due to ulcers that form on the tongue this facility is flawed. The tongue cannot function properly as every word you speak is painful. If you notice that the tongue begins to hurt in certain areas over time while eating or speaking then it is highly likely you will get a few ulcers.

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7. Swollen Lymph Nodes:

Other common mouth ulcer symptoms are swollen lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are small glands that are present all over the body. They form a crucial part of the lymphatic system that carries nutrients, waste material and lymph fluids between the bloodstream and body tissues. During the development of mouth ulcers, the lymph nodes in the mouth get inflamed due to the infection around the area.

8. Loss of Appetite:

Sometimes mouth ulcers also result in loss of appetite. This can be owing to the fact that the presence of ulcers in your mouth may make it difficult for you to chew the food. The discomfort is even felt while drinking any liquids. Due to this sensation of pain, the person feels reluctant to eat which eventually leads to loss of appetite.

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9. Fever:

Although uncommon, fever can also turn out to be one of the symptoms of mouth ulcers. Due to the development of sores in your mouth, the body temperature may rise slightly to fight this infection. The fever during mouth ulcers may not be recorded to be very high, yet it is better to consult the doctor and take suitable medications.

10. Feeling Of Tiredness:

Mouth ulcers also at times, lead to tiredness. The patient might feel lethargic and a feeling of dullness may prevail at all times. This condition also results due to a loss of appetite when the body is devoid of essential vitamins and minerals. If you begin to feel too tired after doing the little task or the feeling prevails even after taking adequate rest, check with your GP immediately.

In most cases, mouth ulcers appear harmless and go away within a few weeks of the infection. However, when you witness any of the above-mentioned symptoms it is important to check with your physician. The symptoms of mouth ulcers may vary depending on the cause of the infection. The doctor may suggest some blood tests or even a biopsy to identify the exact cause of the same. If the ulcer in your mouth persists even after 2-3 weeks, it could signal the development of mouth cancer. The doctor will give you suitable medications to treat the problem and prevent the condition from worsening.

Mouth ulcers more often cause discomfort in eating, drinking or while doing oral hygiene and do not cause any major harm to the body. While you are suffering from mouth ulcers avoid the triggers like specific foods or using any hard brushes. Maintaining good oral hygiene will help to soothe the condition. Mouth ulcers will get cured on their own within 10-15 days. If however, the problem persists, contact your GP immediately.


About Saanvi

Saanvi Sharma is an excellent web content writer in health and nutrition. Her expertise in the subject stems from in-depth research and knowledge that she gained over the years. Her interest in science coupled with a bachelor's degree in biotechnology proves as an added advantage and further adds value to her writing. She is highly interested in science, thus writing quality content became her virtue.