Many people get mouth ulcers from time to time. Although they can be painful and annoying, they are not usually anything to worry about and they often heal without the need for treatment. However, if you have recurrent ulcers or an ulcer, which is taking a long time to heal, it is advisable to see your dentist or GP.
What are ulcers?
Ulcers are small, oval-shaped painful sores, which tend to develop on the inside of the cheeks. They can be red, white, grey or yellow in colour and they are usually sore for a couple of days, especially if you catch them with your toothbrush or touch them when you are eating by mistake.
Mouth ulcers can be sore, but they do not usually cause long-term problems and most heal independently within a week. You can buy over the counter treatments for mouth ulcers and they help to ease pain.
What causes mouth ulcers?
In most cases, ulcers develop when you accidentally bite your mouth or cut the inside of your mouth. It is not really known what causes recurrent mouth ulcers, but some people get them when they are tired and run-down; other possible triggers for repeat ulcers include stress and anxiety, eating certain types of food and hormonal changes in the body.
What should I do if I have a mouth ulcer?
If you have an ulcer, leave it alone and try to do your best to avoid touching it when you chew your food and brush your teeth. If the ulcer is painful, try using over the counter gel to ease discomfort.
If your ulcer hasn’t healed within 1-2 weeks, you should see your GP or your dentist. Slow-healing ulcers can be a symptom of mouth cancer and although it is very unlikely that this will be the case, it’s always best to get checked out.