Mouth Ulcers and Teenagers : Mouth Ulcer Guide

Teenagers can be prone to mouth ulcers which may be attributed to their lifestyle. Late nights, junk food diets, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption all take their toll. This places a strain on the body’s immune system which leads to a feeling of being ‘below par’ or ‘run down’.

Mouth ulcers are a sign that the immune system has been compromised in some way.

What causes mouth ulcers in teenagers?

We have already mentioned about lifestyle: many teenagers lead ‘unhealthy’lifestyles in which they drink and smoke too much, stay up all hours and eat all the wrong foods.

Diet: a diet in which not enough essential vitamins are absorbed, e.g. Vitamin B12 or is lacking in folic acid and iron will result in mouth ulcers. Stress is another factor: studying for exams or trying to find a job in a difficult economic climate can raise stress levels. High levels of stress have a negative impact upon our physical and mental health. One outcome of this is the development of mouth ulcers which is usually a sign that the body’s immune system is under pressure. Mouth ulcers can be caused by a tooth rubbing against the inside of your cheek, over enthusiastic use of a toothbrush or as a side effect of a certain type of medication. If either of your parents suffers from persistent mouth ulcers then there is a very good chance that you will do the same.

A mouth injury sustained as a result of playing sport or an accident can also result in mouth ulcers. Teenagers can develop mouth ulcers for the same reasons as an adult. Find out more about these in our causes of mouth ulcers section.

Mouth ulcers and teenage girls

Women and girls are more prone to mouth ulcers than men which are largely due to hormones. Fluctuations in the female monthly cycle –especially during menstruation, pregnancy or after the menopause are all triggers for mouth ulcers. However, persistent mouth ulcers seem to improve during pregnancy.

Mouth ulcers last for a week to 10 days and tend to disappear with the need for any treatment. This is usually the case with minor ulcers but major or herpetiform ulcers may require treatment.

If your mouth ulcers are accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss, raised temperature, upset stomach or ulcers have developed on other parts of your body then see your GP. He or she will need to carry out tests to determine if your ulcers are a symptom of an underlying disease.

Treating mouth ulcers

Treatment for mouth ulcers includes:

  • Antiseptic mouthwashes: these contain an ingredient called chlorhexidine gluconate which kills bacteria and protects the teeth against tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Steroid mouthwashes: these are stronger than the varieties of mouthwash you can buy in your chemist or supermarket. They help mouth ulcers to heal more quickly and ease any pain or discomfort. Steroid mouthwashes along with gels, lozenges, pastes and sprays are only available via a prescription from your GP.
  • Home based treatments such as gels, pastes and sprays. These can be obtained over the counter at your local chemist and include ‘Bonjela’, ‘Xylocaine’ and ‘Difflam’.

There are a few ways of reducing the risk of persistent mouth ulcers which include avoiding spicy or salty foods such as crisps, cleaning your teeth on a regular basis and avoiding acidic drinks such as fruit juices.

If your teenage son or daughter appears to develop mouth ulcers on a regular basis or has an ulcer which refuses to heal then they need to see a GP or a dentist.

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