Health Magazine

Mouth Ulcers - What's Causing Yours?

By Juliepen @Julie_Penfold
My_mouth_is_sore

I knew I had to go ahead with writing about this topic after sourcing the lovely image of this cute teddy bear with a poorly mouth. I expect teddy knows exactly how I felt for five days earlier this week when my mouth ulcer appeared from nowhere. Aside from constant pain when eating, drinking and swallowing, it also hurt whenever I spoke and I felt as if I was talking weirdly too.

My go-to treatment is always Bonjela which I've used right from childhood to presenthood when the odd painful ulcer rears its ugly head. Gels and pastels that contain anaesthetic tend to be the most commonly used treatments, as well as gargling and swallowing soluble paracetamol. Natural relief can also be obtained from chamomile tea, by allowing it to cool and swilling it around the mouth before swallowing.

So what causes those painful lumps or craters in your mouth? Well, accidental damage is often the culprit whether you've brushed your teeth too hard, had a minor burn from hot food and drink or bitten your mouth accidentally - the latter is often what happens to cause mine.

You can also become more prone to them if you are feeling rundown or ill, they are more likely to appear before menstruation, can often be stress-related, or the result of injuries to the lining of the mouth caused by a roughened tooth, braces or dentures. Recurrent mouth ulcers can be due to anaemia, a deficiency of vitamin B or folic acid. If you keep experiencing recurring ulcers or have ones that are not healing, please see your doctor for professional advice.

Ulcers can also occur as a result of herpes infection, inflammatory bowel disease and immune disorders, though these are also accompanied with other symptoms.

Be very wary of a mouth ulcer that enlarges slowly or does not heal and lasts longer than three weeks as this can be a sign of mouth cancer. See your doctor or dentist immediately with any concerns. Smokers and drinkers are most at risk.

As a proud north easterner, my latest research with the area's LAHCC (Look A Head Cancer Campaign) for a nursing healthcare feature led to the discovery that mouth, head and neck cancer rates in my local region are much higher than the national average due to increased smoking and binge drinking. Though the cancers are more common in men and women over 40, they can also occur in younger people too.

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