What are Mouth Ulcers?
Mouth ulcers are raw spots on your gums or the lining of your mouth formed mostly in response to some form of irritant. An ulcer is often whitish in the middle with an edge of redder tissue around it. Depending on their cause, mouth ulcers may be quite painful but usually resolve within 7-10 days.
What causes Mouth Ulcers?
- Mouth ulcers may be caused by the following:
- Hot or spicy food
- Repeated rubbing from an ill-fitting denture
- Stress (canker sores or “aphthous ulcers”)
- A viral infection
- Erosive Lichen Planus (an autoimmune disorder)
Who is at risk for Mouth Ulcers?
Most mouth ulcers are caused by trauma (pizza burns) or stress (canker sores). People with weakened immune systems may be more susceptible to both canker sores and certain viral infections which show up as groups of small ulcers in the mouth. Trauma from an ill-fitting denture may also cause ulcers. More rarely, mouth ulcers may be caused by cancer.
What is my role in managing Mouth Ulcers?
Note the size, appearance, location and duration of the ulcer. Determine if it is painful, and recall if you may have traumatized the area. If an ulcer persists beyond one week, have the area examined by your dentist.
What can happen if I do nothing about my Mouth Ulcer?
If the ulcer is the result of a disease process, it may worsen if left untreated. If it is caused by ongoing trauma, it may also worsen with time. In the rare event that it is cancer, it can lead to disfigurement or death if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.