Make your Mouth an Ulcer-Free zone!
A great meal makes everyone happy, and if it happens to be your favorite dish, then your day is made. But the moment you put the first spoonful in our mouth, it starts to burn. This is a very common symptom which happens to most of us and it is none other than a Mouth Ulcer.
A Mouth Ulcer is an ulcer that occurs on the mucous membrane of our oral cavity. Mouth ulcers are very common, occurring due to different causes but usually there is no serious underlying reason. More often than not, it can be accompanied with pain in the mouth. Mouth ulcers can be caused due to:
- Mechanical Injury like rubbing on sharp edges of teeth, fillings, crowns, false teeth, braces etc.
- Thermal Injury occurs when you consume extremely hot food or beverages.
- Apthous Ulcer is a condition that causes recurrent mouth ulcers due to iron deficiency, riboflavin deficiency, smoking, severe acidity, stress, food allergy, hypersensitivity to sodium lauryl sulphate (found in many brands of toothpaste).
- Infections — The most common are Herpes Simplex Virus (causing ulcer over the lips and in the oral cavity), Chicken pox, Fungal infection, HIV etc.
- Drug-induced — Allergy to drugs can cause eruptions in the oral cavity and recur whenever that medicine is taken. Also drugs used for bone diseases, chemotherapy medication can cause oral ulcers.
- Long term smoking, chewing tobacco or continuous consumption of betel leaves can cause persistent ulcers that can be cancerous lesions. This, however, is rare.
- Allergen — An ingredient called Balsam of Peru is used in food and drink for flavoring, in perfumes and toiletries for fragrance, and in medicine and pharmaceutical items for healing properties. This could cause mouth ulcers.
- Some skin diseases will have oral involvement like Lichen Planus, Bullous disease, etc
A visit to your doctor is a must if you have mouth ulcers. Treatment is mostly related to the cause but is also symptomatic. Your doctor is the only one who can rule out any infections, deficiencies, etc. Most ulcers will heal completely. In case of pain, a topical analgesic may be prescribed. Topical (gels, creams or inhalers) or sometimes oral steroids may be used to reduce inflammation.
There are certain steps that you will have to take to prevent having Mouth Ulcers in the first place.
- Maintain good oral hygiene.
- Regular brushing of teeth is mandatory.
- Use of antiseptics like Chlorhexidine (diluted forms) mouth wash after each meal is important.
- Have a healthy, balanced diet.
- Don’t eat hot spicy food.
- Don’t repeatedly touch and press the ulcer.
Something as small as a mouth ulcer shouldn’t ruin you day. Get it treated at the earliest. Neglecting it is not the solution. Make sure that you follow the steps mentioned above to prevent recurrent ulcers. A healthy and hygienic lifestyle will go a long way in protecting you against a number of diseases.
Originally published at www.drmeenusethi.com on June 25, 2016.