Mouth Ulcers (aphthous stomata)
Mouth ulcers (canker sores) are open wounds in the mouth, usually white in colour. Contrary to popular belief mouth ulcers are not contagious.
The causes of mouth ulcers are:
- Physical damage such as biting the tongue or cheek.
- Allergic reaction.
- An auto immune system reaction to biological or chemical agents.
- Deficiency in B12 vitamin, folic acid or iron.
- Using a toothpaste or mouthwash with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) in.
- Viral infections such as the herpes simplex virus or han, foot and mouth disease.
- Intestinal conditions.
- Mouth cancer.
Once the above have taken place and created an opening in the inner lining of the mouth or on the tongue then bacteria get to work turning the damage into a painful mouth ulcer. The bacteria release toxins in the wound killing more cells causing the mouth ulcer to get larger and resulting in pain.
It is important to see your doctor if your mouth ulcer does not heal within a few weeks as it can be a sign of mouth cancer, although this is rare.
Treatments of mouth ulcers vary and are a matter of personal preference:
- using a mouthwash made of salt and warm water, chlorhexidine or povidone or iodine mouthwash.
- local anaesthetic.
- carmellose gelatin paste forms a protective layer over the mouth ulcer.
Mouth ulcers usually heal within a week or two so it is important to see your doctor if your mouth ulcer does not heal as it can be a sign of a more serious condition.
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