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Symptoms of mouth ulcers and how to heal mouth ulcers

Updated on June 23, 2011
Do you suffer with Mouth Ulcers?
Do you suffer with Mouth Ulcers?

Do you suffer with mouth ulcers? If so then you are not alone, thousands of people suffer with this problem of recurring mouth ulcers, sometimes the ulcers can last for weeks before the pain and swelling goes away.

People suffer from mouth ulcers in different ways, there are some people who say that when they get mouth ulcers it is painful and usually accompanies a raised temperature and fatigue, whereas other can suffer mouth ulcers but have no pain or associated temperature.

In some mouth ulcer sufferers the lesion can heal within a few days, whereas others can suffer for weeks. There is no one reason why people suffer mouth ulcers and no medicine that can cure the problem permanently.

What are mouth ulcers?

Mouth ulcers are small usually start of red and can turn yellowish if infected, painful lesions that form in the mouth. They may affect the inside of your cheeks, your gum-line, edge of your tongue and more rarely, the roof of your mouth. Most people will have a mouth ulcer at some stage, however for some they can be a recurrent problem. Mouth ulcers are not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person.

What Causes Mouth Ulcers?

When most people get mouth ulcers they are caused by damage to the mouth, some common causes of mouth ulcers are:

  • Scraping of the mouth lining by sucking hard sweets.
  • Being stressed, or lacking certain vitamins and minerals in your body such as folic acid and B-group vitamins or iron.
  • Certain medications.
  • Damage to the inside lining of your mouth by very hot or acidic food and drink
  • Biting you inner cheeks
  • Brushing your teeth and gums very hard.
  • Poorly fitted dentures.
  • A very dry mouth due to a medical condition or from some medications
  • Eating food to which you are allergic

However the reason for recurring mouth ulcers is often unknown. Some people tend to suffer with them more often than others, especially if there is a family history. Students and people who are under stressed may suffer from ulcers more regularly.

Some generally accepted underlying condition of recurringmouth ulcers, such as those outlined below.

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency - Vitamin B12 helps to make red blood cells and keeps your body's nervous system healthy. If you do not have enough vitamin B12, it can cause tiredness, shortness of breath and mouth ulcers.
  • Iron deficiency - if you do not get enough iron in your diet, your red blood cells will not be able to carry as much oxygen. This can make you tired, lethargic, and dizzy. Although not as common as other symptoms, an iron deficiency can also cause mouth ulcers.

What do mouth ulcers look like?

Mouth ulcers especially those that suddenly appear and last more than a few weeks, may have underlying medical reasons and therefore it may be prudent in such cases to seek medical advice to rule out any other conditions. Some examples of medical conditions that can cause ulcers in the mouth are:

  • Coeliac disease - this is a condition where the small intestine becomes inflamed, and it is caused by intolerance to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye and barley. Mouth ulcers are a common symptom in adults with the disease.
  • Crohn's disease - this is a condition which causes inflammation of the gut. This inflammation can cause ulcers in both your stomach and your mouth.
  • Reiter's syndrome - this is a reaction to another infection within your body. It can cause inflammation, which sometimes spreads to your mouth.
  • Immunodeficiency - any condition which attacks, or suppresses, your body's immune system (which protects the body against infection and illness) can cause you to get mouth ulcers. HIV is an example of an immunosuppressant illness.

How to heal mouth ulcers?

Mouth ulcers usually go away by themselves in one to two weeks treatments can numb the pain, help protect the ulcer from additional damage and reduce the chance of a bacterial infection. Some conventional medicines may speed up healing if used early enough.

Paste Treatments

  •  Form a protective layer over the ulcer, helping the medicine stick to the ulcer. This allows the ulcer to heal faster and can help relieve the pain.
  •  Some pastes contain anti-inflammatory medicines that, if applied at the tingling stage, can prevent the mouth ulcer from developing further.

Gel Treatments like Bonjela

  •  Form a protective layer over the ulcer.
  •  Some also contain treatments that numb the pain.

Mouth Washes

  •  Are useful for hard to reach ulcers and when there are many at one time.
  •  Can help prevent bacteria causing an infection

Natural mouth ulcer treatments

The following natural treatments have been proven to work on many people who suffer from recurrent mouth ulcers, taking one or more of the following regularly will reduce the recurrence of mouth ulcers or will help in healing mouth ulcers quicker:

  • Vitamin C in high dosage, usually soluble form. You can buy 1000mg Vitamin C Fizzy mix that can be consumed daily as a soft drink.
  • Vitamin Tablets or Capsules that contain combination of Vitamin A,B,C and Zinc. Follow the instructions on the container for dosage instructions.
  • Saw Palmetto has been proven to have many medical benefits; it also has some anti-inflammatory actions on your body if taken during the time when you suffer with mouth ulcers.

If you maintain a healthy diet and take multivitamins with the above you should cut down the recurrence of mouth ulcers and when you do get the ulcers they will heal in much shorter time.


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    • Zubair Ahmed profile imageAUTHOR

      Zubair Ahmed 

      4 years ago


      Thank you for reading and the comment.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      I am gluten intolerant and had never heard that mouth ulcers could result from it. Thanks for this information. Voted Useful!

    • Zubair Ahmed profile imageAUTHOR

      Zubair Ahmed 

      6 years ago

      Hi K,

      What's the weather like in Geordie land? Thank you for read and comment. Mouth ulcers you can wait till you go to that sweet old age or you can fight the ulcers now with the recommendation I make in this hub.

    • K Kiss profile image

      K Kiss 

      6 years ago from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

      I have had mouth ulcers almost all my is more of an inheritance for me as my mother used to have it and so did my maternal grandmother..I live a life of dis-functional routine so I am guessing as I grow older and my routine normalizes like my mom and nani I will be cured too like them. Nice read

    • Zubair Ahmed profile imageAUTHOR

      Zubair Ahmed 

      8 years ago

      Hi Reflux,

      Thanks for the comment. I've not tried that one yet so next time I get mouth ulcers - i will try this remedy

      All the best

    • profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      You can use a pod of elachi (cardamen pods) twice each day to get rid of mouth ulcer or use a pea size amount of bonjela, the elachi will not only get rid of mouth ulcers but it will get rid of bad breath too.

    • Zubair Ahmed profile imageAUTHOR

      Zubair Ahmed 

      8 years ago

      Hi Sweetie1,

      You are right stress and lack of certain vitamins play a huge part in recurring ulcers. Those people who suffer with recurring ulcers and have stressful lifestyles or jobs tend find that healing process between ulcers tend to coincide with new ulcers appearing and therefore these people can help their bodies cope with these situations by combine natural remedies and distressing the lives if possible.

      All the best and thanks for your comment

    • sweetie1 profile image


      8 years ago from India

      Hi ahmed, i did suffer from mouth ulcers and fortunately my very close friend is dentist and he told me to use B complex with some other medicines and he asked me only two questions

      1) am i stressed or keep thinking about something.

      2) and is my tummy normal

      so may be these two are main reasons of oral ulcers.


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