A mouth ulcer, also known as aphthous ulcer, is an inflamed lesion on the mouth and gums. While you aren’t at risk for any physical harm from this condition, these ulcers can keep you from swallowing, eating, or doing a good job of brushing your teeth, and they can cause lots of pain. Canker sores appear similarly to aphthous ulceration, a painful lesion on the mouth that turns yellow to red and becomes irritated. If you or someone you know has one, here are some mouth ulcer causes and symptoms to help you recognize them and get treatment for them quickly.
Injury in the mouth is one of the most common causes of these lesions. While it’s tempting to suck at the lesion, this only irritates it and increases the likelihood you’ll have trouble clearing it up. The pain can be so severe that you may feel unable to eat or drink on your own, and there is usually very little you can do to prevent it from spreading to other parts of your body. Injury to the soft tissue of the face, such as a broken tooth, can also lead to canker sores. If you already have a sore throat due to cold or flu symptoms and are prone to cold sores, you’re more susceptible to an aphthous ulcer.
Some people aren’t as lucky as others when it comes to protecting their mouth from canker sores. When the area is injured, it can be extremely painful to try to heal it without damaging the tissues further and making them vulnerable to infection. This is especially true when the ulcers are located near the corners of the mouth, because they can be easily irritated when you try to dry them out. These soreness can increase with irritation, so even minor aggravations can make them painful enough to cause a healing condition known as dry mouth.
Other causes of mouth ulcers are poor oral hygiene and the overuse of products containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). These chemicals can irritate the membranes around the teeth and gums, causing tooth decay and ulcers. People who use denture wearers must avoid products containing SLS. If you notice that your dentures itch or feel sore after eating or drinking anything, contact your dentist and ask him or her to recommend products that won’t irritate your dental equipment.
An untreated mouth ulcer can also be the result of fungal infections such as staph and yeast infections. These types of infections are contagious and can easily spread from person to person. In fact, most people who have a cold often get staph infections. So if you believe you have a cold or a similar respiratory infection, make sure to visit your doctor and get the appropriate treatment.
Mouth ulcers can also be caused by trauma to the mouth. If you’re accidentally cut or bruised, you can develop a deep gash in which blood can pool and can be very painful. These wounds, called cankers, are extremely common among people who have had dental work or are in the dental profession. For this reason, you should try to avoid getting a cut or a bruise on your mouth. Preventative care can help reduce the risk of developing these cankers.