Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers are sores that appear in the mouth, often on the inside of the cheeks. Mouth ulcers, also known as apthous ulcers, can be painful when eating, drinking or brushing teeth. Occasional mouth ulcers are usually harmless and clear up on their own. Contact us if they last longer than 3 weeks or keep coming back. Up to 1 in 5 people get recurrent mouth ulcers.

What causes mouth ulcers?

The exact cause of most mouth ulcers is unknown. Stress or tissue injury is thought to be the cause of simple mouth ulcers. Certain foods, including citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables (such as lemons, oranges, pineapples, apples, figs, tomatoes and strawberries), can trigger a mouth ulcer or make the problem worse. Sometimes a sharp tooth surface or dental appliance, such as braces or ill-fitting dentures, might also trigger mouth ulcers. Some cases of complex mouth ulcers are caused by an underlying health condition, such as an impaired immune system. When you first quit smoking, you may develop more mouth ulcers than normal, but this is temporary. Some medications, including common pain killers, beta-blockers and some chest pain medicines may cause a reaction that leads to mouth ulcers.

What are the symptoms of mouth ulcers?

You might experience a painful sore or sores inside your mouth, on the tongue, soft palate (the back portion of the roof of your mouth), or inside your cheeks. They look like sores in your mouth that are round, white, or grey in colour, with a red edge or border. Only in severe mouth ulcer attacks, you may also experience fever, physical sluggishness or swollen lymph nodes.