Living with Mouth Ulcers

What are mouth ulcers?

Mouth ulcers are sore spots that can appear anywhere in or around the mouth.  There are different types of ulcers, all of which are caused by a virus.  They can be a real pain, causing discomfort when eating and drinking.

Mouth ulcers can be caused by a variety of things, including:

  • Biting your cheek or tongue
  • Ill fitting dentures
  • Infections such as Herpes Simplex
  • Some bacterial and viral infections
  • Anaemia

If you experience one ulcer caused by one of the above, it is known as a traumatic ulcer.  If you have a number of ulcers which are recurrent, this is known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis.  Mouth ulcers are very common and everyone at some point will have one, even children.  It is important that if an ulcer takes longer than 3 weeks to heal you must see your dentist.  It could be that a medicated mouthwash or tablets are needed to help it on its way.  There are some medical problems where mouth ulcers are the only sign there is a problem, so seeing your dentist as soon as possible will help diagnose any medical conditions.

How can you prevent ulcers?

Thankfully mouth ulcers are not contagious so will not pass on through kissing or sharing food or drink.  They are not necessarily preventable but you can reduce the risk of getting them by:

  • Ensuring your teeth and gums are as clean as possible.
  • Make sure you are using the correct oral hygiene aids – using a hard bristled toothbrush combined with aggressive brushing can caused trauma to your gums.  If you are unsure which hygiene aids are best for your mouth, speak to your dentist or hygienist.
  • Include fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, especially those rich in vitamins A, C and E.

What is the treatment?

Usually mouth ulcers will go on their own but you can help them along by rinsing with warm salt water mouth rinses.  On some occasions tablets or a special mouthwash may be required.  See your dentist or pharmacist for this.

Help and Advice

If at any time you are worried or notice any change in your mouth it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible! The quicker you are seen then the quicker you can be treated.  Usually these things are nothing and there is a simple explanation but its better to be safe then sorry.  If you need advice contact our practice.  We have a team of specialists who will be more than happy to help and reassure you.  Call us on 01245 211070 or visit


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