INTRODUCTION || CAUSES || SYMPTOMS || DIAGNOSIS || TREATMENT || TAKE AWAY
Do you know about Canker’s sores??
Sounds very unfamiliar right?
How about an ulcer?
Yes, it’s the same. Canker sores are also called mouth ulcers.
You wake up to a bright morning and your mouth alarms you of an ulcer.
But, what is an ulcer — I mean mouth ulcer or oral ulcer.
Mouth ulcers look like small swollen red boils with white or yellow patches on them. They are mostly found on the inside of your mouth, be it on your lips, inner cheek, tongue, or even on the palate.
The white or yellow patch is basically a result of the removal of the topmost layer of skin.
How does that form now?— it is called the cause of mouth ulcers.
It can form on 3 conditions:-
1) An accidental bite or a physical injury of the mouth during eating something, while wearing dental braces, or due to harsh brushing activities, and so on.
Let’s say you accidentally bite your lips or inner cheek. Alongside, your skin might also shed off. So, the shedding of the skin in that particular region exposes the inner skin on the outside.
This inner skin acts as a nutritive media for many breeding bacteria, fungi, and viruses causing bacterial, fungal, and viral ulcer infections. Now, this is what makes it look like swollen white and yellow patches.
2) Due to the internal factors of our body
Hormonal fluctuations in women during their menstruation, depression, stress, loss of appetite, lack of sleep, and deficiency of vitamin B12, zinc, folate, and iron can also cause ulcers.
3) Due to the products that we use which come in contact with our mouth
That is, any kind of sensitivity to sodium lauryl sulfate that is present in most of the toothpaste and mouth rinsing liquids that we use on day to day basis can trigger mouth ulcers.
But, apart from all of this, something that is very important to be known is that mouth ulcers solely as an infection is not dangerous to one’s life at all.
4) Psychological conditions like Stress and Anxiety can also cause mouth ulcers.
But yes, it can be an extracurricular symptom for major diseases like—
1) Diabetes— on lack of insulin.
2) Inflammatory bowel disease — Inflammation in the digestive tracts of the small intestine or large intestine
3) Decline of immunity
4) Celiac disease — Inflammation in the small intestine which thereby arrests the absorption of nutrients into the body system.
5) Behcet’s disease — Inflammation in blood vessels.
6) HIV AIDS — It is a deadly immune deficiency syndrome.
Also, the substantial fact to it is that—
Today, mouth ulcers are common among 20% of the people living.
Mouth ulcers appear in a day and would persist for many days, weeks, and sometimes even for months together depending on their severity.
BURNING SENSATION IN THE MOUTH
INCREASED SENSITIVITY and INTOLERANCE TO SALT / SPICES are the main and the most common symptoms of Mouth ulcers.
This means ulcers cross through different stages of development right from the time of their onset. If it is left untreated, they tend to grow from minor to major to herpetiform ulcers.
Thus, the symptoms that alert you for the above Stages of mouth ulcers are:-
1) Minor ulcers:-
- They appear to be small, round-shaped bumps.
- Redness and swelling around the white or yellow patches of ulcer.
- They take at least 1-2 weeks to heal.
- Leaves no scars on healing
2) Major ulcers:-
- The swelling is comparatively more than the minor ulcers.
- The white or yellow patches of the infection get deeper and more severe gradually.
- They tend to increase in size making irregular boundaries.
- They take a minimum of six weeks to heal and get back to normal.
- But, unfortunately, they leave behind a scar after healing which most of us might get quirky about.
3) Herpetiform ulcers:-
- They look like small dots in numerous numbers that compile together to form clusters of ulcer infections.
- They are called so because these clusters look similar to herpes infection but, unlike that, they are not caused by the herpes virus.
- Larger in size
- They form irregular boundaries
- They spread and pop out new ulcers alongside the old ones. That is they don’t stop with one.
- Not just the mouth, but the herpetiform ulcers also reach out to your lips.
- It causes additional symptoms like high fever, diarrhea, and so on making it more severe.
- Because it is more severe, the duration of treatment is comparatively longer (more than three weeks or over a month)
The pain cannot be rested with normal first stage treatment, thus a more efficient and effective mode of treatment is recommended.
Diagnosis of mouth ulcers is very basic as you or your doctor can identify them by a mere sight.
But, if your ulcers recur over and over again, your doctor would suggest some tests that also include a general blood test.
Mucosal Scrapping and Biopsy– These tests are done to identify the cause of the unending ulcers and also to know if they are associated with any other diseases like Celiac disease, Behcet’s disease, HIV and so on.
Usually, most mouth ulcers heal naturally, but it is also necessary for us to know that this doesn’t work that way all the time.
For some kinds of ulcers, when you see them getting severe from their initial days, it is always a good choice to visit the doctor.
Some of the treatments that possibly suppress mild to moderate to severe ulcers are:-
1. Steroid oral paste-like Kenacort® or Tess®
It helps in decreasing inflammation and associated pain, and in many cases act as a wonder drug.
2. Dologel-CT Gel® is a combination of two medicines: Choline Salicylate and Lidocaine.
- Choline Salicylate is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works by blocking the release of certain chemical messengers (prostaglandins) which cause pain and inflammation (redness and swelling).
- Lidocaine is a local anesthetic. It works by blocking pain signals from the nerves to the brain which decreases the pain sensation.
3. Multivitamin capsules – To replenish the deficiency of micronutrients, microminerals, etc.
Home remedies for Mouth Ulcers
1) Saltwater rinsing
The most basic form of treatment is by rinsing your mouth with saltwater or baking soda. That is, to a half a cup of warm water add one teaspoon of salt or baking soda.
One should be aware that in some cases saltwater might further sting when touches the ulcer.
2) Using milk of magnesia
Take a small amount of milk of magnesia as recommended by your doctor and dab it on the ulcer.
Here, milk of magnesia has an osmotic activity that draws out water and pus from the swollen ulcer thus, suppressing the pain likewise the inflammation. This helps the ulcers to heal faster.
3) Ice cubes
Gliding a piece of ice on an ulcer is always effective as it gives temporary relief to the pain and inflammation.
Never forget, always wrap the ice cube in a piece of cloth and then use it. Don’t ever use ice cubes directly on the infected ulcers as they might irritate your skin.
4) Baking soda
Here, when ulcers are formed, there is a fluctuation in the skin pH which is caused due to the acids released by the residing bacteria or fungi, or viruses in the infected region.
Thus, using baking soda gives an instant fix in case of mild ulcers.
You can either rinse your mouth with baking soda water or make a paste out of it and apply on the ulcers.
In doing this, the baking soda restores the original pH of the skin thereby, reducing inflammation by which it treats ulcers.
5) Using damp tea bags, and consuming chamomile tea, echinacea, myrrh or licorice root will also help calm the infection and redness as they are anti-inflammatory.
6) Some supplements of vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, folic acid, zinc, and so on whose deficiency tend to trigger ulcers.
Prevention of Mouth Ulcers
Like it is always said, prevention means to seal the cause. So, avoiding the cause will simultaneously prevent the infection and a few such methods are:-
- Avoid food that you are sensitive to.
- Healthy eating habits to keep up your immunity.
- Don’t talk while chewing food as you may accidentally bite or hurt yourself.
- Meditate to get rid of your stress and depression.
- Maintain proper dental hygiene and good breath.
- Make sure that your brushes and dental floss are not very harsh on you.
- Sleep for at least 7 hours a day. This will improve your mental health as well as your physical health.
Mouth ulcers have nothing to fear about. Taking necessary precautions would definitely help in treating them better.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER:
This blog including information, content, references, and opinions is for informational purposes only.
The Author does not provide any medical advice on this platform.
Viewing, accessing, or reading this blog does not establish any doctor-patient relationship.
The information provided in this blog does not replace the services and opinions of a qualified medical professional who examines you and then prescribes medicines.
And if you have any questions of medical nature, please refer to your doctor or the qualified medical personnel for evaluation and management at a clinic/hospital near you.
The content provided in this blog represents the Author’s own interpretation of research articles.