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How to treat mouth ulcers

by the editorial team Published on 6 October 2010
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Ouch, mouth ulcers are the worst. Nasty painful little blights on the inside of your mouth which ache and irritate.

How to treat mouth ulcers

The appear at the worst possible times and then stick around making you feel awful for as long as they can.

So, how to treat mouth ulcers... well first let's look at the facts:

What are mouth ulcers?

They're extremely common is what they are! They look like miniature craters on the lining of your mouth.

They're painful because your mouth is super sensitive and packed full of nerves. Any break in the surface of the inside of your mouth exposes the nerves. Nerve expose = worlds of pain.

What causes mouth ulcers?

1. The accidental mouth ulcer

    • Most of the time it's just accidental damage, from overzealous brushing or eating something too hot, biting the side of your mouth... that sort of thing.
    • They go away pretty quickly but if whatever's causing the ulcer stays put so can the mouth ulcer. Here we're taking braces or rough teeth.

    2. The stress-related mouth ulcer

      • This nasty variation can crop up on it's own just because your feeling stressed or anxious, or maybe just cause you're generally run down and under the weather.
      • They're most common in teens.
      • Stress mouth ulcers last a few weeks and will often reoccur until you feel calmer or well again.

      3.The serious mouth ulcer

        • This is the one everyone talks about. Sometimes ulcers can be bought on by a herpes infection. But they can also be caused by inflammatory bowel disease and immune disorders.
        • Having a mouth ulcer doesn't automatically mean you're suffering from herpes. If the ulcer is related to any of these things then you'll more than likely have other symptoms too.


        4. The vitamin and mineral ulcer

          • Sometimes mouth ulcers are an indication of iron, folate or vitamin B12 deficiency. If you get recurring mouth ulcers unrelated to anything fixed (a brace/rough tooth/nasty cheek biting habit) don't just head to the supplements counter, see your GP for advice.

          How to stop mouth ulcers

          Obviously the first step is keeping your teeth and mouth clean but be careful - over-brushing and flossing can actually cause mouth ulcers so go gentle but be thorough.

          Making sure you get all your vits and minerals through a good balanced diet is another way of how to stop mouth ulcers. Healthy eating no only ensures you get your required vitamins and minerals, it also helps to regulate your mood and keep you in tip top condition. But we don't need to tell you that!

          Finally, de-stress your life. It's easier said than done but just having a day to yourself or a night in can really help.

          How to treat mouth ulcers

          Mouth ulcers can be treated in a number of ways:

          Our favourite is dabbing on some Bonjela Complete Plus (£6.49 from Chemist Direct) which forms a protective barrier over the ulcer to stop food and other debris getting in and making it worse. Bonjela Complete Plus comes with a little applicator which is definitely better than poking around with grubby fingers.

          It's good stuff - helps to ease the pain and even aids healing. You can apply it up to four times a day. Doesn't taste as good as old Bonjela but at least that stops you over-using it.

          The downside is no-one aged under 16 can use it. Sorry teen's...

          Want to know other ways of how treat a mouth ulcer?

          You can also try gargling and swallowing soluble paracetamol to help take the pain away.

          Or there's a whole shelf of pastilles and ulcer gels in your local chemist which also take the pain away with anaesthetic and then there oral rinse products which can help too.

          Bonjela, Corsodyl, Oralmedic and Anbesol to name a few established brands to try.

          How to treat mouth ulcers naturally

          Try gargling with ice water before a meal makes eating a lot more comfortable.

          You can also try camomile tea - but make sure it's cool before you swill it around your mouth. Hot drinks only help spread infection.

          Sage is also said to have ulcer healing properties (try rubbing a little crushed sage leaf into the effected area). Clove oil can temporarily numb the pain of ulcers and tooth ache but beware of using too much of these as they can irritate and make the problem worse!

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