Treatment of Mouth Ulcers : Mouth Ulcer Guide

Most cases of mouth ulcers are minor and can be treated at home. Very often they disappear without any need for you to do anything but sometimes they need a bit of extra help to disappear.

The minor type of mouth ulcer usually disappears without any need for treatment. But major or herpetiform types of ulcers may require medical attention.

Treatment for mouth ulcers eases the pain and helps them to disappear but it doesn’t stop them from reoccurring. However, if it is one consolation, they do tend to occur less and less over time.

So what treatment is available?

Treating mouth ulcers at home

In the case of minor ulcers you can treat these using over the counter medications such as ‘Milk of Magnesia’ or ‘Bonjela’. An antiseptic mouthwash can also help or a home-made rinse made from a small amount of salt and warm water.

Another option is an ice pack which can be applied to the area of the mouth which contains the mouth ulcers.

If your mouth ulcers have been caused by over enthusiastic toothbrushing then switch to a soft bristled brush instead.

There are a few precautions you can take to reduce further risk of mouth ulcers which include:

  • Avoiding foods which have high acidity levels such as strawberries and chocolate. If these and other similar foods cause mouth ulcers then avoid them until your ulcers have cleared. It may be a good idea to limit your intake of these high risk foods.
  • Reducing your stress levels – if stress has caused the development of mouth ulcers. It may be a good idea to take an overall look at your lifestyle and find ways to relax. Try to get more sleep and switch to healthier foods. Reduce alcohol consumption and stop smoking if possible.
  • Avoiding salty and spicy foods.
  • If you are taking any medication, for example beta blockers and think that this may have caused your mouth ulcers then speak to your GP. He or she may be able to recommend an alternative.
  • If you are trying to stop smoking but find that your nicotine gum is causing mouth ulcers then switch to a spray or nicotine patches.

Prescribed treatment for mouth ulcers

Your GP can prescribe medication to treat mouth ulcers or alternatively, may suggest over the counter remedies.

These include:

  • Corticosteroids: this type of medication helps to reduce any inflammation. This is available as a paste or a lozenge. Examples of these include hydrocortisone and triamcinolone acetonide.
  • Magic mouthwash: this special type of mouthwash contains a range of ingredients which are designed to treat mouth ulcers and other similar conditions. This type of mouthwash includes a local anaesthetic, antibiotics and an antihistamine.
  • Painkillers: these are available as a gel, spray or mouthwash. Examples of these include choline salicylate (gel) and benzydamine (spray).
  • Local anaesthetic: this can be applied to the infected area before eating or drinking to prevent any pain. An example of this is lidocaine.
  • Vitamin supplements: if your diet is lacking in essential vitamins, for example Vitamin B12, folic acid or iron then these supplements will be prescribed.
  • Hormone treatment: this is aimed at women who are experiencing recurring mouth ulcers at certain times in their monthly cycle. An oral contraceptive will be given.
  • Oral (mouth) medication: this refers to medication prescribed for other medical conditions which can also treat mouth ulcers.
  • Immunosuppressant drugs: this are only prescribed in cases where there is severe pain and ulceration.

Complications of mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers usually clear up quickly and easily and in most cases, do not require treatment. They rarely cause complications but if they do then this is likely to be a bacterial infection such as oral thrush.

The chances of this happening are also rare. But if you do contract an infection then you will require a course of antibiotics to clear it.

If your mouth ulcers are a symptom of an underlying disease then this will need to be investigated further.

If you notice anything untoward with a mouth ulcer, for example it increases in size or the pain increases in intensity then visit your GP.

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