Mouth ulcer

Summary of mouth ulcer

Summary of mouth ulcerMouth ulcers are painful lesions that appear mostly on the oral mucus membrane such as tongue, inside the lips or cheeks, palate or throat. Though sometimes referred to as “clean damage” because the ulcers are not caused by fungi, bacteria or other microorganisms. Their size varies, we can distinguish miliary mouth ulcers (small) and giant ulcers. Read also: definition
The reasons are not yet fully known, but it is estimated that the ingestion of certain foods or drugs promotes their growth.
Other causes or triggering factors are infectious agents, poor oral hygiene, hormonal influences, trauma or stress.

Symptoms are characterized by small craters round or oval shape with a yellow background surrounded by a red border.

Treatment of mouth ulcers concentrates on relieving pain. Therefore, treatment can be gels or ointments anesthetics, anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin gargle, corticosteroids (most efficient) or more alternative use baking soda or some herbs like rhubarb.

Good advices to treat or prevent mouth ulcers include taking an excellent oral hygiene and identify the causes to prevent this from happening again, e.g. don’t eat certain foods that cause mouth ulcer.
The intake of vitamin C and B vitamins (vitamin complex) may have a prophylactic effect. advises
Who to see in case of mouth ulcer or canker sores?
A pharmacist
For miliary mouth ulcers, small ones and if the sores can be treated with medications. In addition it should only involve healthy patients when ulcers occur abruptly and for a short time. Otherwise consult a physician (see below).
The pharmacist may ask the patient to search for a food source, the farther the leading cause of canker sores. If food is involved, the patient should then change his eating habits.

General medicine
If canker sores or mouth ulcers are not able to be cared for or there are complications (giant ulcers) or recurrent (sores that last for weeks, we call it canker sores).
He can give you good advices (oral hygiene, etc.).
The specialist of this disease, to see if ulcers fail to be healed with conventional treatments.


Mouth ulcers are small superficial lesions often taking a yellow or gray-white color.
Canker sores or mouth ulcers are formed mostly at the oral mucosa and in particular on the inside of the cheeks, lips, tongue, gums, palate or throat.
In some rare cases, mouth ulcers may also appear on other organs or areas of the body such as the genital mucosa.
This disease may occur due to hyperacidity of the body, resulting in a rise of acid into the esophagus for example.

They are very unpleasant and cause a burning sensation.

There are two types of mouth ulcer:

– The miliary mouth ulcers (ulcers are very small, not exceeding 1cm in diameter), usually it is mild cases that can be treated by self-medication
– The giant mouth ulcers (canker sores from 1 to 4 cm). When having giant ulcers it is better to consult a doctor.

Generally mouth ulcers heal spontaneously in the space of a few days (usually 5 to 7 days) and for some it takes two weeks, with the exception of giant ulcers, which take about two months to regress.


epidemiologia mouth ulcer

It is estimated that 10-20% of the population is affected by mouth ulcers or canker sores.
Women have canker sores more often than men.
Young adults (16-25 years) have canker sores more often than older people or younger. In fact, the children rarely have ulcers.

Approximately 10% of the population suffers from canker sores (recurrent aphthous stomatitis).

This is the most common disease of the oral mucosa.

Causes of mouth ulcers

Causes of mouth ulcers

Although the exact causes of the appearance of mouth ulcer (canker sores) are often unknown we note that:

– Abuse of some foods such as cheese, dried fruits, nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, chocolate and spices and certain preservatives (E210, E200, …) as well as the gluten (found in wheat) may promote the development of mouth ulcer. It should thus be noted that people allergic to gluten (celiac disease) often suffer from (recurrent) canker sores. These foods that trigger canker sores are often rich in histamine.
Food is the main cause of mouth ulcer and canker sores.

– Mouth ulcers can occur as a result of taking certain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, benzoic acid (E210), vitamin K antagonists, meprobamate, chemotherapy in general (medications in a cancer, such as leukemia, …).

– Poor oral hygiene

– Iron deficiency

– Folate deficiency

– Irritation in the oral cavity due for example to a filling or denture

– Viruses (herpes, …)

– The use of toothpaste containing lauryl

– When biting the inside of the cheek

– In some cases, canker sores precede other diseases such as fever, herpes or diseases of the digestive tract.

– Canker sores can occur in the following cases:

> Patient under stress (burnout)
> Menstrual period
> Puberty
> Pregnancy
> Menopause
> Diabetes
> Alcohol and / or smoking


Canker sores or mouth ulcer can be compared to small craters round or oval, yellowish background and surrounded by a red inflamed border.
Minor forms of ulcers occur with small ulcers with a diameter of 2 to 5 mm. The healing of these ulcers appear 7-10 days after their appearances and most of the time spontaneously.
The giant ulcers (more than 1 cm in diameter) take longer to heal, usually 10 to 40 days.

If canker sores or mouth ulcer persist after a few weeks or the ulcer is giant, consult a doctor.

Mouth ulcers appear on the gingiva, inside the lips and cheeks, the edge of the tongue, palate or throat.

They are often very painful. This pain can be increased when the patient eats.
In some severe cases, there may be other symptoms such as fever.

Canker sores can be a symptom of diseases such as Behcet’s syndrome (in this case the lesions can be observed in other places than the mouth as the genitals, eyes, lungs, etc.), mononucleosis, herpes or prolonged fever.
Some of these diseases can be very serious as pernicious anemia, anemia or leukemia.

Recurrent mouth ulcers, also named canker sores, or recurrent aphthous stomatitis (SAR)
In case of SAR or canker sores, mouth ulcer have a recurrent character. The interval between attacks can vary from weeks to months. In some cases the same interval may be reduced over time.

Medicines, drugs to treat mouth ulcers

First note that for mild cases, healing will often occurs spontaneously (without treatment) in 5 to 7 days.
In cases of giant mouth ulcers (1-4 cm) they can sometimes last up to two months, please consult a doctor.

You should also know that in general the treatment of mouth ulcer and canker sores is quite disappointing, which is why some medical institutes around the world are trying to better understand this disease (causes, etc.) to find more effective treatments.

Treatment for mild cases (self-medication)

– The first thing to do to relieve pain in case of mouth ulcer is to improve oral hygiene and this using suitable toothpastes with oral antiseptics facilities.

– It is also possible to reduce pain using specific drugs containing anesthetics (lidocaine) or anti-inflammatory drugs (acetylsalicylic acid, …) premises, acetaminophen-based drugs to treat pain or antibacterial.

These drugs are in the form of a gel, oral spray, oral solution or in the form of sweets.

To fully support the treatment, you can gargle with some salt water 2-3 times a day.
Indeed, as canker sores of the mouth are sometimes due to hyperacidity, the salt will remove the acidity.

In some countries rhubarb (an herbal plant) is sometimes applied with a small brush on canker sores.

Treatment of ulcers at the physician

For recurrent mouth ulcers (recurrent aphthous stomatitis) or canker sores and in case of giant mouth ulcers the physician will usually prescribe some drugs.

– According to some experts the most effective treatment against canker sores and mouth ulcer is to use topical corticosteroids. These treatments inhibit the immune response of the body. These drugs can be taken as a mouthwash for instance.

– In some cases the doctor may use a low-energy laser treatment to reduce pain and promote healing.

– In severe cases, especially in cases of giant ulcers (more than 1 cm in diameter) or in cases of resistance to treatment in the form of topical corticosteroids, the doctor may use treatments such as systemic corticosteroid therapy, colchicine, azathioprine, thalidomide (strictly against-indicated in pregnant or planning to become pregnant women, under strict medical prescription) and sometimes some antibiotics.

Natural treatment in case of mouth ulcer

1. Herbal plants against mouth ulcers
Here are some plants that can help treat canker sores (ulcers and herbal medicine).

– Mallow (in tea or gargle solution)
– Myrrh, use tincture form
– Black tea, applying wet bag on the sores
– Witch hazel (in tea)
– Rhubarb, in solution to be applied on canker sores
– Aloe Vera (in mouthwash or a small nut kept in the mouth, it heals quickly and reduces pains)
– Sage (in tea, as a mouthwash or gargle solution)
– Licorice (in pastille to be sucked)

2. Essential Oils

The essential oils effective against canker sores are essential oil of tea tree oil (tea tree) and essential oil of rose, they are used as a mouthwash.
For the essential oil of tea tree, simply dilute 3-4 drops in a little water. As for the essential oil of rose, 1 drop is enough in a glass of water.

3. Home remedies to treat mouth ulcers

According to a doctor of Berne in Switzerland (explained to a client from a pharmacy) gargles based on a solution of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and vitamin C, for example the C effervescent Aspirin ® in a glass of water (3 dl), have preventive and curative effects against mouth ulcer and canker sores.
Dosage: gargle a few minutes as soon as you feel the first itch characteristics of ulcers, repeat a few times a day.

Note: a light absorption can, in our opinion, occur in the mouth (for aspirin), please take it into account, that is to say not to do too much gargle. Consult your pharmacist if you are sensitive to aspirin and report if you take other medicines. comment: This health tip is ideal especially when the mout ulcer or canker sores are located in several parts of the oral cavity.

Other home remedies

Baking soda

– Tincture of myrrh

– Tincture of thyme

Homeopathy mouth ulcers

To treat ulcers in homeopathy Borax 5CH or 9CH can be used.
In case of burning sensation in the mouth we recommend Arsenicum 9CH.

For more detailed and personalized consult your doctor or homeopathic pharmacist information.

Good advice to treat mouth ulcers

– Avoid eating foods that may promote the development of canker sores and mouth ulcers like spices, cheeses, chocolate, almonds, walnuts, cheese…

– Respect strict oral hygiene measures (toothbrush, dental floss, fluoride solution). However prefer toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulphate.

– To reduce the pain you can dab the sores with a disinfectant mouthwash (available in pharmacies) all medicines to treat mouth ulcers

– It is recommended to turn to a doctor when the canker sores appear often when, they exceed 1 cm in diameter (giant), bleed or when the pain is too intense.

– To eat foods or supplements rich in vitamin C and/or B vitamins. These vitamins have a beneficial effect to treat and prevent mouth ulcers.

– As mentioned in the definition, they may appear following hyperacidity in the body, resulting in a rise in the acid for example in the esophagus.

Be sure to have a good acid-base balance, paying attention to food: red meat, sweets, melons, nuts, etc. promote the development of canker sores and mouth ulcer.

By cons a diet that includes salads rebalance this overload of acidity.

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Informations sur la rédaction de cet article et la date de la dernière modification: 16.06.2017