Mouth ulcers are small sores that crop up on the inner sides of the lips, cheeks, on the gums, and even on the tongue. These ulcers are white or yellowish with a reddish surrounding and vary in size. The exact causes of mouth ulcers have not been established, but it is believed that an immune-system malfunction may lead to the condition. Eating certain foods can also cause these ulcers. They can cause a lot of pain, but usually heal within a couple of weeks. The following methods may be used to make them heal faster.
Healing the ulcers
- There are several pastes or gels available over the counter which you can be used to make the ulcers in the mouth heal faster. They form a protective coating over the sores and these help in the healing process.
- Aloe vera sap can also give relief. Squeeze some of the fluid out of the aloe vera leaf and dab it on the ulcer after having dried it. Repeat as many times as you wish.
- Buy some vitamin E capsules, cut open one and apply some of the oil on the sore several times during the course of the day.
- The nagging pain of the sores is caused by acids and digestive enzymes in them, so you can use antacid tablets to neutralise them. Just put the tablet on the sore and let it dissolve, but don’t exceed the recommended doses.
- Milk of magnesia can be used as a mouthwash three to four times a day.
- Hold a damp tea bag against the sore for about five minutes. Tea is alkaline, and it neutralises acid in the ulcer. It is also an astringent, which relieves the pain.
- Zinc can help these sores heal faster. The moment you notice an ulcer in your mouth, chew on a lozenge that contains zinc. Continue taking it at regular intervals until the ulcer clears, but do not exceed a dose of 25 mg a day, because too much zinc can be toxic.
Preventing mouth ulcers
- You need to cut down on ulcer-causing foods that include whole wheat, rye, barley, shellfish, citrus fruits, figs, chocolate, tomatoes, green capsicums, strawberries. First stop eating these foods, and then gradually reintroduce them, one after the other, to check if any of them are responsible. Once you have identified the causative agent, you can avoid that particular foodstuff to prevent such sores from occurring.
- When you buy your toothpaste, check the label to see if it contains an ingredient called sodium lauryl sulphate, or simply SLS. This is a foaming agent which can cause mouth ulcers in some people, so avoid such toothpastes if you are prone to the condition.
- Small cuts and grazes in your mouth, caused by eating sharp-edged foods such as chips or crusty bread may develop into ulcers. Also, use a soft toothbrush to prevent hurting your gums.
- You may be surprised to know that even stress can cause mouth ulcers, because when you are stressed the body’s immune system overreacts to the bacteria even normally present in the mouth. In such cases, you need to go in for some relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation or even some aerobic exercises.