It is a wonder how small health issues like mouth ulcers could get people strained. Even when these problems hide in plain sight, they do not fail to make their presence known. Some even opt to visit an emergency dentist or emergency rooms to relieve the discomfort from these ulcers. Oral ulceration occurs in 25% of young adults and a common experience for most. You are probably someone who develops these mouth ulcers from time to time. Hence, it’s presence is not new to you. Or if not, gear yourself for some painful days because even an easy time could get challenging with a vexing sore. And with a mouth ulcer not healing, it could rapidly disrupt your everyday activities. Know how mouth ulcer forms and what happens if it doesn’t heal.
What Are Mouth Ulcers?
The term “ulcer” signifies a break or opening in the skin or tissue lining in the body’s cavity. This tissue, called the mucosa, lines most organs, including the mouth. And although these membrane breakages do not reach the tissues underneath, they are deep enough to cause pain and damage. Most mouth ulcers even cause injury, loss, or disintegration of the cells in the outermost surface. Much more, sores may even recur, like in an aphthous ulcer. This ability alone is a sign of how tricky and troublesome mouth ulcers can get.
Mouth sores often appear as whitish or greyish painful spots in the mouth. It could position itself on the inner lips or cheeks, on the gums or tongue, and under the mouth. The most common signs and symptoms of a mouth ulcer include:
- Swollen tissue around the sore
- Irritation when brushing and chewing
- Sensitivity with some foods
- Loss of appetite.
Mouth ulcers may not be a usual encounter to some people, but it regularly grows in others. This frequency in appearance may be due to some risk factors like gender, age, and vices, such as smoking.
Mouth Ulcer And Its Prognosis
A regular mouth ulcer may be painful, but it goes just as fast as it appears. Usually, a mouth ulcer will heal naturally within two weeks. It is essential to stop habits and practices that could further irritate the sore. With proper care, you could hasten healing and even reduce pain sensation. Here are some tips to augment recovery from a mouth ulcer:
- Brushing teeth lightly or using a soft bristle toothbrush
- Using a straw when drinking a cold or hot beverage
- Avoiding crunchy, spicy, or acidic foods
- Switching to a healthy balanced diet
- Keeping away from gums
- Opting for an antimicrobial mouthwash
When the pain gets intolerable or intractable, you could choose to take over-the-counter medications such as analgesics. Corticosteroids also help with pain and even promote healing of the tissue.
Causes Of Mouth Ulcer
Knowing what sets off your mouth ulcer will pave for better practices and less chance of recurrence in the future. After all, considering the pain and discomfort, you cannot risk another episode of this limiting condition. Here are common causes of mouth ulcer you should note:
Habits like biting the cheek or tongue could lead to mouth ulcers. Also, the irregular and sharp edges of hard foods or braces may cause trauma that leads to ulceration.
This cause is most commonly due to holding medications, like aspirin, long in the mouth.
Recurrent Aphthous Ulcers
Also known as canker sores, aphthous ulcers are the most common form of mouth sores. However, its root cause is usually unknown and only attributed to other existing factors like genes, stress, or allergies.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and herpes are the most common infections that cause mouth ulcers. In the suppressed immune system, opportunistic bacteria in the mouth could also cause sore formation.
Ulcers secondary to diseases often appears in the mouth. These conditions include Kawasaki disease and Crohn’s disease.
Mouth Ulcer Not Healing: What You Should Do
What makes mouth ulcers manageable is the fact that they heal by themselves. You only need to support and hasten the process. But, when mouth ulcers become persistent, they could be potentially dangerous. One condition that could take mouth ulcers into a different spin is oral cancer. This form of cancer also presents in its early phase as a mouth sore. Oral cancer could also appear as a mix of white and red ulceration and are often rough or tough to scrape off. And, in some infections and diseases, mouth ulcers are usual presentations. Hence, when this happens, it is crucial to visit a dentist or physician right away. Or, you don’t have to wait for weeks to see a professional one of these signs appear:
- Spreading and progressive mouth ulcers in more than one area of the mouth
- Unusually painful or big mouth ulcers
- Fever or diarrhea
- Problems when eating or drinking
- Appearance after taking certain medications
- Infection after ulceration appeared
Types of Mouth Ulcers
With the broad occurrence and causes of mouth ulcers, it could present in numerous forms. The classification of mouth ulcers based on their physical characteristics helps professionals arrive at a more accurate diagnosis. Here are the known types of mouth ulcers:
This type of mouth ulcer appears as clusters of pinpoint sores that resemble herpes infection. Each ulcer has irregular edges and may recur very rapidly. Hence, it may look like a mouth ulcer that is not healing as well.
Slightly broader than the herpetiform type, minor ulcers may cause some pain. But it often heals naturally and causes no scarring.
The largest type, major ulcers, may take a while to get better. This type may also extend further into the tissues than the other small variants.
Mouth ulcers may be too small to catch your attention. And even if the associated and increasing pain is much of a bother, its self-healing capacity might lose your care. But, these small ulcers in the mouth may signify worse conditions that may not be apparent to you yet. And with a chance of developing into cancer, a mouth ulcer is worth the care. Besides, even when it does not have related issues, recurring ulceration is not a good sign either way. Much worse, with a mouth ulcer not healing, things could turn a downward spiral. Avoid these troubling instances from happening by practicing awareness and caution. Hence, the next time a mouth ulcer appears, do not just wait for it to heal —support tissue recovery and bring it to a professional before it gets too late.