Mouth ulcer, also known as apthous ulcer,oral ulcer or a mucosal ulcer are sores that appear inside the mouth. Mouth ulcers are very common particulary in women and young adults.
These ulcers are painful when eating, brushing teeth etc. Many times ulcers are harmless and heal on their own. However when ulcers last longer than 3 weeks, one should consult an ENT doctor.
Mouth ulcers can be mainly classified into 3 types:
1. Minor Ulcers
2. Major ulcers
3. Herpetiform ulcers
Minor and Major ulcers can be differentiated based on their size and time required to heal. Minor ulcers are smaller, around 2-8 mm and generally clear up in 10 days to 2 weeks. Major ulcers are bigger and deeper and required several weeks to clear. It also leave scars in the mouth.
Herpitiform ulcers appear in the form of clusters of very small sores.
Following are the main causes of mouth ulcers:
2. Certain citrus of acidic foods
3. Reactions to certain medicines
5. Weak immune system
– Painful sore inside the mouth
– Sometimes fever and swollen lymph nodes
Diagnosis and Treatment:
Most of the times oral ulcers heal by themselves. However certain ulcers which are more severe need intervention by an ENT doctor. Doctor generally checks patient’s medical history followed by an oral examination. At times special investigations will be required like blood tests, microbiological swabs, urine analysis, biopsy etc. Rarely does a non-healing ulcer may be a cancerous lesion.
As the exact cause of a mouth ulcers is not known, there is no standard way to prevent it. However, following measure will help reduce the risk of getting an ulcer:
- Using toothbrush with soft bristles
- Relaxation to relieve stress
- Good oral and general hygiene
- avoids things that you think is triggering the ulcers
- Avoid smoking
- Eat balanced diet rich in vitamins
- Get regular check ups by your ENT doctor
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