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Seema is again not feeling well. The cause is minor...but pain and swelling is unbearable. She is suffering from mouth ulcer. And recurrent mouth ulcer causing a lot of trouble in eating, chewing even in speaking. Different peoples are offering different advice to her. Someone is saying “it is a digestion issue”, and then someone has given the advice to take vitamin B12 supplements. Yes! It is true that there could be different reasons for mouth ulcers, and it may be a symptom of some underlying disease. What is the mouth ulcer? What are their types? What are the different causes and symptoms of mouth ulcers? And how can we manage it at home? Read on to know about this?
What is mouth ulcer?
The mouth ulcer is an ulcer on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity, usually appears as a small, painful lesion, white or pink in colour. Mouth ulcers are very common occurring in association with different diseases and by many different mechanisms. They may form individually or multiple ulcers may appear at the same time. Mouth ulcers often cause pain and discomfort and may make eating, drinking and talking uncomfortable. Women, adolescents and people with a family history of mouth ulcers are at higher risk for developing mouth ulcers.
Although they are uncomfortable, they are usually harmless and go within 1-2 weeks. Rarely there is any serious underlying cause detected. However, if these ulcers are large, painful or last for a long time without healing then you should seek professional medical advice for further treatment.
Types of mouth ulcers
There are mainly 3 types of mouth ulcers.
Minor aphthous ulcer- these are small, round or oval and most common type of mouth ulcer. They are less than 10 mm in size and heal within one to two weeks with no scarring. They are not very painful.
Major Aphthous ulcer – they are larger in size (usually 10mm or larger) and deeper than minor ones. Usually, 1or 2 appear at a time. They are very painful and can take up to six weeks to heal. They leave scar while healing.
Herpetiform ulcer- multiple ulcers occur at the same time but some may join together and form irregular shapes. They appear in the clusters of 10 to 100. Each ulcer lasts 1 week to 2 months.
Symptoms of mouth ulcer
Causes of Mouth ulcers
Even though there are no fixed causative factors that cause mouth ulcers. But still, there are few factors that may act as a trigger. These factors may be classified into following categories:
Apart from general causes, mechanical factors are main responsible factors that cause mouth ulcers. This includes:
Mouth ulcers may be associated with certain disease conditions. There may be certain systemic and iatrogenic causes are responsible for it. Such as:
Microbial diseases- herpetic stomatitis, chicken pox, syphilis, tuberculosis, fungal infections, herpes zoster, hand mouth and foot disease, human immunodeficiency virus infection, infectious mononucleosis, acute necrotizing gingivitis, herpangina
Gastrointestinal diseases- celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis
Malignant neoplasms blood disorder- anaemia, leukaemia, and neutropenia
Rheumatoid diseases- lupus erythematous, Reiter's disease, Bechet's disease
Cutaneous diseases- pemphigus, chronic ulcerative stomatitis, lichen planus, erythema multiformis
Drugs and medication
Mouth ulcers can be caused by certain medications or treatment. Such as
Self-care for mouth ulcers
However mouth ulcers are the self-limiting condition, usually, they tend to clear up by themselves within a week or two. However, self-care and home remedies may ease pain and discomfort. These are:
Homeopathic medicines are very effective in the treatment of mouth ulcers and work wonderfully when symptoms match perfectly. You can use it at home when the infection in not severe, but for recurrent and severe infections professional advice is recommended. Here is some good homeopathic medicine that works great in treating mouth ulcers.
In spite of these self-care measures if you have worsening of the condition, then it is advisable to seek medical attention. Treating the underlying cause is the must for proper relief.