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Mouth Ulcer Symptoms and Treatment

Updated on January 21, 2010

Mouth ulcers can vary from one or two millimeters in diameter to over a centimeter, and can cause considerable distress and discomfort. There are many reasons for the development of a mouth ulcer, but the most common is an imbalance between the normal bacteria, viruses and fungi that are meant to be present in the mouth. An infection, allergy, being overtired or run-down, or a course of antibiotics may be sufficient to alter this delicate balance and allow one type of germ to overgrow, attack the lining of the mouth, and form an ulcer.

Other causes include injuries to the mouth from false teeth, biting on hard food, dental disorders, burns from hot liquids, food allergies, infections of the mouth and numerous less common but sometimes quite serious diseases. Some women develop them before their periods every month.

If the mouth ulcers are recurrent, it is essential to have a checkup by your doctor to see if there is some significant disease causing the problem. Cancers in the mouth may first appear as a mouth ulcer, particularly in smokers.

The best treatment involves using one of the innumerable mouth ulcer preparations available from chemists. All of these work to some extent, but it will be a matter of trial and error to find the preparation that suits you best. A combination of a mouth-wash and paints or pastes to put on the ulcer is probably the best form of management. Some doctors believe that vitamin B and folic acid supplements can be beneficial.

Please Note:


  • The information provided on this page is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a registered physician or other healthcare professional.

  • The content of this page is intended only to provide a summary and general overview. Do not use this information to disregard medical advice, nor to delay seeking medical advice.

  • Be sure to consult with your doctor for a professional diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment.

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