What are mouth ulcers?
Mouth ulcers are painful sores that make chewing more difficult. Dentists call these wounds mouth ulcers or aphthous stomatitis. They are white or yellowish open wounds with red around the edges. For some people, these mouth ulcers are recurrent throughout life.
What causes mouth ulcers?
It is not always possible to identify the cause, but simple actions such as aggressively brushing or chewing, drinking hot liquids, or eating hot foods can create ulcers. Therefore, the causes may be related to different types of traumas.
It can also be related to the immune system and the lack of body defences. Therefore, ulcers create conditions that are favourable for viral or bacterial infections. The ulcers can also be caused by diabetes and other diseases.
Vitamin deficiency may also be related to mouth ulcers. In fact, anaemia may cause changes in the tongue, losing its normal papillae and becoming thicker. Some cracking and ulcers in the oral mucosa may appear. They are known as angular cheilitis. The oral mucosa characteristics are especially vulnerable to nutritional deficits.
In addition, genetic factors such as hormones and stress may also cause mouth ulcers.
Where do they appear?
These small ulcers appear mainly in the oral mucosa, especially in the tongue (edge or body).
- Good oral hygiene reduces the possibility of having them.
- A diet with soft, cold, or warm foods.
- Small wounds, such as biting the tongue, should be avoided.
- The use of soft brushes is recommended.
When should I do a biopsy?
If a wound in the mouth persists for over 15 days, an analysis of its characteristics is recommended. A biopsy of the wound may exclude the possibility of carcinoma.
Alcohol and tobacco, as well as chronic irritations of a poorly-adjusted dental prosthesis, are factors that may cause oral cancer. The first symptoms are persistent wounds with a hollow shape in the mucosa or white patches, also known as leukoplakia.
There are corticosteroids, such as triamcinolone pills, that should be applied over the affected area with moistened fingertips.
An antiseptic or mouthwash can also be used to treat mouth ulcers.
VitaCentre Medical Reference. Reviewed By Dra. Filomena Santos, Dentist, in March 7, 2022