Mouth ulcer is a very common condition, and most people will have at least once in their lifetime.
A mouth ulcer (also termed an oral ulcer or a mucosal ulcer) is an ulcer that occurs on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity. Mouth ulcers are open sores in the mouth that appear as white or yellow sores surrounded by a bright red area. Usually painful, they appear on non-keratinized mouth tissue including the inner surface of the cheeks, lips,tongue,soft palate,and the base of the gums. Mouth ulcers are very common, occurring in association with many diseases and by many different mechanisms, but usually there is no serious underlying cause .They usually begin with a tingling or burning sensation followed by a red spot or bump that ulcerate. These can be small, large or in clusters.
Irritation of the sores by salty, spicy or sour foods, Loss of appetite, pain and discomfort, particularly when eating, drinking,talking or brushing your teeth, burning sensation makes life miserable for the sufferers who can neither eat nor speak.Mouth ulcers cannot be passed from person to person. For example, you cannot get an ulcer from kissing someone, or from sharing a glass, or cutlery.
There may be excessive salivation and bad breath, and the inflammation may extend to the tonsils and throat. A mild fever may be present in this condition. Usually they heal within 7 to 10 days. The recurrent, bothersome form of mouth ulcers is known as aphthous stomatitis or simply aphthous ulcer.
In Ayurveda, the inflamed conditions of the mouth are described under Mukhapaka. Due to fallacious diet and lifestyle, pitta is vitiated which in turn results in mouth sore.
- Oral trauma - Injury from accidental biting or chewing sharp, hard, foods. Brushing your teeth over-vigorously,such brushing causes abrasions on the gums that can turn ulcerous. Damage to your mouth can also occur from a sharp tooth.
- Hormonal changes - ulcers often appear at puberty or during menstruation, many women notice that they are more likely to have an ulcer during their periods. This is due to the changes in hormone levels in your body during your menstrual cycle.
- Constipation, improper digestion, bowel disturbance are also some of the factors responsible.
- Burns which are produced while eating hot food.
- Poor oral hygiene also is one of the important reasons behind mouth ulcer.
- Suffering from stress, anxiety or depression.
- Poorly fitting dentures mostly noticed in elderly people.
- Stopping smoking -When you first stop smoking, you may find that you have more mouth ulcers than usual. This is a normal reaction and is part of your body's way of dealing with the chemical change in your body.After quitting smoking, any increase in mouth ulcers will be temporary, and you should not let it deter you from stopping smoking. The long-term health benefits of stopping smoking are far greater than the short-term discomfort of mouth ulcers.
- Family history -Around 40% of people who have recurrent mouth ulcers have a family history of the condition. If both the parents have recurrent mouth ulcers, there is a 90% chance that you will have them too.
- You may be irritated by certain chemicals, spices, tobacco or even alcohol.
- The culprit may be the herpes simplex virus, which also causes cold sores. The first attack can be severe, with sore throat and ulcers inside the mouth. Subsequent attacks are less severe, with fewer and smaller ulcers.
- Certain foods - some people may find that eating certain foods can cause mouth ulcers. Foods that have been identified as increasing the risk of ulcers include chocolate, coffee, peanuts, almonds, strawberries, cheese, tomatoes and refined flour etc.
- Occasionally, mouth ulcers can also be caused by a reaction to a medicine that you are taking. Some of the medicines which can cause mouth ulcers are listed below. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (pain killers), certain Antibiotics, Beta-blockers( a medicine used to treat a variety of conditions which affect the heart and blood flow, such as angina, heart failure, high blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms) etc. Speak to your doctor if you find that you are experiencing mouth ulcers as a result of your medication. They may be able to prescribe an alternative medicine for you. However, you should never stop taking medication unless your doctor advises you to do so
- Underlying condition
- Vitamin B12 deficiency - Vitamin B12 helps to make red blood cells and keeps your body's nervous system healthy. If you do not have enough vitamin B12, it can cause tiredness, shortness of breath and mouth ulcers.
- Iron deficiency - if you do not get enough iron in your diet, your red blood cells will not be able to carry as much oxygen. This can make you tired, lethargic and dizzy. Although not as common as other symptoms, an iron deficiency can also cause mouth ulcers.
- Celiac disease-this is a condition where the small intestine becomes inflamed, and it is caused by intolerance to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley etc.
- Crohn's disease - this is a condition which causes inflammation of the gut. This inflammation can cause ulcers in both your stomach and your mouth.
- Reiter's syndrome - this is a reaction to another infection within your body. It can cause inflammation, which sometimes spreads to your mouth.
- Immunodeficiency-any condition which attacks, or suppresses, your body's immune system (which protects the body against infection and illness) can cause you to get mouth ulcers. HIV is an example of an immunosuppressant illness.
Do not do
Avoid spicy food,junk food.
Do not spend sleepless night.
Do not take dry and hard food which is difficult to digest.
Do not keep stomach empty for long hours.
Do not take aerated drinks (bottled beverages) regularly.
Discontinue the habits of betel chewing, smoking, eating chewing gum etc.
Avoid constant stress, reduce the tension and hurry in work.
Do not take alcohol, as it may worsen the condition.
Avoid pain killers, unless it is very essential.
Avoid sour things, including curd and pickles etc.
Take sufficient quantity of water.
Have the habit of evacuating the bowel regularly.
Take time to exercise regularly.
Eat more whole grains, green and leafy vegetables.
Effectively manage stress with meditation, proper sleep etc.
Eating boiled Ragi everyday prevents Mouth ulcer as it keeps the stomach cool.
Brush the teeth properly and maintain good oral hygiene.
Give priority for balanced diet and food rich in fiber content.
Food you should consume are papaya, yam (sooran) ,guava etc.
Eating aniseeds (sauf) after meals prevents mouth ulcer.
Apple should be eaten as it has bactericidal properties and banana as it prevents gastric ulcers and acts as protectant for internal mucosa.
Drinking tender coconut water is good.
Consume fresh yogurt as it contains bacteria which can heal and prevent ulcers.
Make sure that your teeth are in good order by regularly visiting your dentist. If you attend regular check-up,this will help to ensure that no sharp edges of your teeth, or fillings, can cause damage to the inside of your mouth.
Following are some of the most effective home remedies for optimum results....
- Usually constipation is associated with oral ulcers.If you notice such a situation, you should take mild laxative, which will give some relief. Triphala choorna is the proper laxative for this purpose. You can take a teaspoonful of the same at bedtime with warm water.
- Fine powder of the Chebulic myrobalan (Haritaki) macerated with honey is an excellent application that is very effective.
- Licorice (mulathi) is proved to be beneficial in the treatment of oral ulcers. Chew on a piece of it. It refreshes the mouth and cleanses the teeth, arresting tooth decay. It heals the sores in the mouth. When it is boiled in water, it releases a sweet taste, so you can drink a warm infusion or decoction similar to tea.
- Boil crushed cardamom in a glass of water, gargle when water has moderate temperature, also cures bad-breath.
- Apply a pinch of turmeric powder over the blisters.
- Mix honey 2 ml + 500 mg of purified borax (Tankana Bhasma) and apply to the lesion of mouth ulcer. It cures the complaint within 1-2 days.
- Chewing of Tender buds of Guava is highly beneficial in case of mouth ulcer.
- 1 Tsp of honey and 1/4th of salt(rock salt) are dissolved in ½ cups of water and gargled. This is helpful to relieve the complaint chronic mouth ulcer.
- Eat raw tomatoes or gargle with the juice of tomatoes for at least three to four times a day. This is one of the best home remedies for mouth ulcers.
- Chew five to six of holy basil (tulasi) leaves, do this for at least 3-4 times whenever you get mouth ulcers.
- Gargle with coconut milk for at least thrice a day and see the difference. This is one of the proven home remedies for mouth ulcers.
- Massage the gums with a mixture of coconut oil and honey. This is one of the proven home remedies for mouth ulcers.
- Apply indian gooseberry (amla)powder on the ulcer. Do this for at least twice a day and see how it cures the ulcers. This is one of the best home remedies for mouth ulcers.
- Durva (Dub, a grass used to worship Lord Ganesha)should be boiled in water, filtered and this decoction should beused as a mouth wash cures mouth ulcers.
- Warm water mixed with Salt and Lemon juice used as a mouth wash helps to get relief from Mouth ulcer.
- Chewing Henna (Mehandi) leaves, or Henna leaves boiled in water and filtered, and use of this decoction as a mouth wash, helps in curing Mouth ulcer.
- Boil Turmeric powder in water and this warm decoction if used as a mouth wash helps in curing Mouth ulcer.
- Pomegranate (Anar) skin boiled in water, filtered and this decoction used for mouthwash gives a great relief from Mouth ulcer.
- Boil Coriander seeds (Dhania) in water and filter,wash mouth with this decoction.
- Ayurveda recommends honey gargle for mouth sores. Even as general practice as part of Dinacharya honey gargle is recommended for better voice, improved speech and to prevent all type oral inflammations and infections. Honey is extremely effective in reducing the inflammation, improving the tissue healing.
- Mix small amount of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda ) with water and use this solution as mouth rinse.
- Mix 7 parts of sugar candy (mishri) with 1 part of camphor and some ghee. Apply on the blister.
- For relief from the ulcer aloe vera gel can be applied three times a day or aloe vera juice can be used as mouthwash twice a day to reduce pain and inflammation.
Treating mouth ulcer according to dosha....
If Vata Dosha is upset, then the lips and mouth becomes fissured and ulcers occur in the oral cavity (by the time one ulcer heals another is ready to harass you); one also is unable to tolerate cold water. In such a situation, one can apply a paste in which Pippali (Piper longum), cardamom and rock salt are mixed together with ghee, milk cream or milk. Sometimes one can get immediate relief by gargling with warm sesame oil.
If it is the Pitta Dosha that is upset, then a burning sensation in the mouth and a bitter taste in the mouth early in the morning are the main symptoms. Gargling with Tiphala decoction proves effective. Chewing the leaves of Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) is helpful.
On the other hand, if in the morning the mouth gets filled with thick saliva, or if the ulcers are covered by mucous secretions, it is indicative of a Kapha Dosha abnormality. Gargling with a mixture of honey and Triphala decoction is useful. If this problem persists, a light diet is recommended. Sour, salty foods (like pickles, papadam etc.) and pungent items should be avoided, also food items like tea, jaggery or beans must be avoided too.
Note - Mouth ulcers left untreated generally go away in a week or so;with these home remedies, you can expect faster relief. However, if you notice an ulcer in the mouth that is persistently present although it does not cause you any pain, do not neglect it or try to treat it with home remedies beyond a few days. Make it a point to see your health consultant soon...
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