Persistent Mouth Ulcers : Mouth Ulcer Guide

There are people who suffer from recurring or persistent mouth ulcers. If you find that you are constantly developing a mouth ulcer of are particularly prone to them then there may a variety of reasons for this. These include:

  • Hectic lifestyle: a stressed, adrenaline fuelled lifestyle which includes a lack of sleep, inadequate diet and emotional pressure can lead to recurring mouth ulcers. Persistent mouth ulcers are a reaction by your body’s immune system to stress and/or anxiety. It is a sign that your body is under pressure and is not functioning as per normal.
  • Hormonal changes: this is more of an issue for women who are subject to fluctuations in their monthly cycle. These changes are more evident during menstruation, pregnancy or just after the menopause. This is why mouth ulcers are more common in women than in men.
  • Disease or illness: there are medical conditions which can compromise your immune system or cause an inflammation within the body which includes the mouth. If you suffer from Crohn’s disease or any other type of inflammatory bowel complaint then you may find that you are prone to recurring mouth ulcers. Crohn’s disease is an inflammation of the digestive tract, in particular the small intestine which causes inflammation, swelling and weight loss.
  • Mouth injury: if you brush your teeth with excessive force or have a habit of accidentally biting the inside of your cheek then this leads to recurring ulcers.
  • Side effect of medication: if you are taking certain types of medication then these can cause persistent mouth ulcers. This includes beta blockers for angina or high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. This doesn’t happen to every person who takes this medication and if it does, it tends to be a temporary side effect. If you do find that you are developing mouth ulcers then have a word with your GP. Do not stop taking the medication unless advised to do so.
  • Unhealthy diet: what we eat has a noticeable effect on our health. If you are not getting enough essential vitamins in your diet or are eating certain types of foods which cause mouth ulcers then have a careful look at your diet. A junk food diet which includes excessive amounts of fat and sugar can cause recurring mouth ulcers.
  • Genetics: you cannot change your genes or a family pre-disposition to mouth ulcers. If your parents are prone to persistent mouth ulcers then you will have inherited this tendency.

If you have persistent mouth ulcers or ulcers which have worsened or refuse to disappear then seek medical advice. This means speaking to either your GP or your dentist to determine the underlying cause.

Diagnosing persistent mouth ulcers

Your GP will ask you a series of questions about your mouth ulcers which may include how often they occur, the level of pain and discomfort and whether you have treated them at home (and what type of treatment you used).

He or she will carry out a series of tests to exclude any conditions. These may include blood tests and a test to check your Vitamin B12 levels.

The reason for the vitamin B12 check is that a deficiency in that area can cause mouth ulcers.

If you have mouth ulcers which have lasted for three weeks or more then your GP will refer you to a specialist. The specialist will send you for a biopsy - which is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed for further investigation.

This will enable him/her to determine the exact cause of your mouth ulcers.

A persistent mouth ulcer may be a sign of mouth cancer but this is extremely rare.

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