30/09/2021 / Digestive Disease & Gastroenterology

Mouth Ulcers: Their Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What exactly are mouth ulcers? Are they dangerous? Is there a need to see the doctor for treatment? A lot of questions regarding this come to mind. This article sums up everything you need to know about mouth ulcers.

Mouth Ulcers: Their Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Mazia AhmedMazia Ahmed
Mazia Ahmed
MSc Nutrition Science, Ph.D. Scholar
Medically Cited
Fact Checked

Table of Contents


  • Mouth ulcers are also known as Canker Sores. So in any textbook or another place, you see canker sore written, they are not a new name; in fact, they are Mouth ulcers. Mouth Ulcers are normal and can happen to anyone. It is normal in many cases, but when they are extremely painful, then in such a case, there is a need for a doctor for its treatment. 

  • Mouth ulcers are the lesions inside your mouth that can be extremely painful. They are not harmful, though, but the pain might be a problem; but if you face the pain for a longer time, you should go and take advice from the doctor. 

Who Can Get These Canker Sores Frequently?

1. Those who have a family history of mouth ulcers

2. Children and women become prime suspects

3. Adolescents get this easily.

  • They can heal by themselves within two or three weeks, but this means that you need to tolerate the pain caused by them. Some home remedies are found effective for treating mouth ulcers.

Major Causes of Mouth Ulcers

There are various reasons behind mouth ulcers, but broadly, there might be two main factors:

3 Internal Causes of Mouth Ulcers

1. There are cases where certain vitamins like Vitamin B12, zinc, or iron are lacking. These vitamins are good for blood production and healthy nerves. Deficiency of these may cause mouth ulcers. 

2. In women, any hormonal changes during their menopause and puberty. 

3. Stress or emotional breakdown can also be one of the causes of getting mouth ulcers.

5 External Causes of Mouth Ulcers

1. Any injuries due to accident, teeth biting, during dental treatment, while brushing, etc., that damage the mouth's internal tissue causes mouth ulcers.

2. Certain toothpaste or mouthwash have chemicals that can harm the internal lining of the mouth, making them damaged, causing ulcers.

Mouth Ulcers: Their Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

3. The type of food we eat mostly contains acids like citrus fruits. While eating this kind of food, we feel a little bit of sensitiveness which could also cause mouth ulcers.

4. If you are on medication, then there is a chance you might get sores inside your mouth.

5. Smoking would be the common cause of mouth ulcers where it damages the whole mouth region.

3 Different kinds of Canker Sores

According to the causes, they can be different in size and severity. Different types of mouth ulcers are:

1. Small or Tiny Sores

They can be small, which makes them the least harmful. In addition, they can heal on their own within two weeks. Thus, they can be less painful and don't affect us that much. It's not that these can only be found inside our mouth; they can occur nearby gum or at its base. But in some cases, they cause more pain which can be long-term.

2. Irregular or Deeper Sores

They are somewhat larger or deeper canker sores that can take at least six weeks to heal. They are more painful than smaller ones. They can be anywhere inside our mouth or at its lining. 

3 Different Kinds of Canker Sores

3. Large or Cluster Sores

They may be one in number or many, i.e., 10-100 in cluster form. They are highly painful, and you should seek a doctor’s advice in such a case. 

6 Primary Symptoms of Mouth Ulcers

As they are painful and can be seen inside our mouth, the symptoms appear quickly and make their recognition easier. Here are some of the symptoms:

1. Yellow or white spot on the place of sore

2. Painful with fluid-filled blister appearance

3. Weakness due to loss of blood (Anemia)

4. In children, you can see frequently and causes flu-like symptoms

5. Internal tissues of mouth somewhat damaged and appearance of pale skin

6. You can also see a dry throat with cracked skin at the corner of the mouth.

6 Effective Home Remedies for Mouth Ulcers

If you have a tiny bump-like sore and they cause pain, then you can follow some remedies at your own home. They are simple remedies that you can follow without taking anyone’s help.

1. Using Saltwater with baking soda might be helpful for your pain. It immediately gives you comfort from your pain.

2. Applying ice on your canker sore relieves the pain

3. Apply honey or coconut oil 

6 Effective Home Remedies for Mouth Ulcers

4. Apply baking soda paste

5. Turmeric, an antiseptic, can be one of the best remedies for your mouth ulcer.

6. Every kitchen has this common ingredient which is garlic. They are effective on sores, but yes, there might be an odor problem you have to deal with after applying it. So to deal with odor, you should use mouthwash after its application. 

  • Repeating these natural treatments at least twice a day can overcome the mouth ulcer problem. Just remember to not apply salt directly on your sore as it can give you a burning feeling. 

  • If you have large and deeper sores, these home remedies can be very effective and easy to do even then. 

How do they get diagnosed?

  • If your pain is not relieving or you are getting these mouth ulcers so often, then there is a good possibility that they will not heal on their own. Therefore, it will be better if you take proper treatment from your doctor. 

  • The doctor will examine your mouth by looking at sores carefully, and if needed, he will do a biopsy to see the condition of the sore and its severity. 

  • Based on the diagnosis result, he will suggest either medication or any other treatment that would be required here. 

Mouth Ulcers: Their Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

2 Most Effective Treatments for Mouth Ulcers

  • In most cases, the canker sore does not even need any treatment from the doctor. But in a severe case where you are getting these regularly, or there is intolerable pain. In cases where the sore is spreading fast inside or at the lining of the lips, then in such situations, you need to visit the doctor for well-prescribed treatment. 

  • The treatments include:

1. Medication

Some common antiseptic or antibiotic medicines can treat your canker sore. By taking these, your pain will be relieved. The doctor could also suggest some gels that can be applied to the sore. It would be effective for your damaged underlying tissues.

2. Rinsing and cleaning your mouth

This process has to be done regularly, but the doctor won't simply recommend a mouthwash rinse. Instead, the doctor will clean the pus or anything which is creating pain inside the mouth. This treatment could be painful, but after this, you will be relieved from your pain, and your sore will be reduced. 

5 Major Consequences if we don’t get proper treatment?

1. Most mouth ulcers are not harmful and can be healed within one or two weeks, but if you are experiencing sores in your mouth frequently and there is a chance that it is spreading throughout your mouth, you should consult with your doctor. 

2. Ignoring this can cause more damage to your mouth than anything else. It will get complicated, and you will feel unbearable pain.

3. You will find daily routines like brushing, talking, or eating painful. 

4. It might happen that it will spread outside of your mouth as well, which creates more complications. 

5. It can spread to other areas of your mouth like gum or teeth, making them weak in case of bacteria or any infection. 

  • So it is better that you take good care when you get a canker sore.

3 Precautions to be taken care of

Some precautions are needed when you have a canker sore in or outside your mouth or in any place. These include:

1. Avoid eating spicy food.

2. Don’t drink too hot or too cold items that create some sensation.

3 Precautions to be taken care of when you have Mouth Ulcers

3. Maintain oral hygiene like washing your mouth or brushing your teeth twice a day.

Word of Wisdom

However, canker sores are not that harmful, but ignorance can make the situation complicated. If you are okay with the pain, that means you can tolerate the pain; then it's not needed to go to any doctor. Still, if your pain is not relieving after doing some home remedies as well, then you should visit your nearby dentist or any professional to get treatment. 


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