Mouth sores are small ulcer patches that grow on certain areas around oral cavity. They can appear very red or white, may have a tendency to bleed and can become infected if left untreated.
Mouth ulcer is very painful and discomforting especially while eating or drinking. Many people suffer from mouth sore repeatedly. The factors that can lead to mouth sores are:
* Poor oral hygiene
* Infection: Viral, bacterial, fungal
* Trauma: Ill fitting braces and dentures
* Immuno deficiency like HIV infection
* Dietary: Vitamin C deficiency, Vitamin B12 deficiency, Zinc deficiency
* Cancer: Squamous cell carcinoma
* Excessive intake of alcohol
* Cigarette smoking
* Medical conditions: Behcet’s disease, Bullous pemphigoid, oral lichen plamus, oral thrush
Although painful, most of the ulcers in the mouth are benign in nature and resolve within week. But in certain instances this painful ulcer remains unresolved for a longer period. If anyone has ulcer for a longer period s/he must consult with a physician. Biopsy and histopathology is mandatory for long term painful mouth ulcer.
The first line treatments of oral ulcers are symptomatic. The treatment guideline includes:
i) If cause is known, then treatment of the cause is recommended
ii) Adequate oral hygiene using anti-bacterial mouthwash
iii) Apply topical paste on mouth sore directly. These topical application should be done according to doctor’s advice to avoid complications
iv) Visit your doctor for some oral medications
v) Brush your teeth with soft-bristled toothbrush
vi) Use appropriate toothpaste to clean your teeth and mouth surfaces. Make sure to apply mild to moderate toothpaste that contain fluoride. Strong toothpaste should be avoided
vii) Take your dentures off and clean them between meals
viii) Keep your mouth and whole system well-hydrated. Drink adequate water everyday to fight dehydration. Adequate moisture allow your sore to heal fast
ix) Avoid spicy foods, cigarettes and other aggravating factors.
Dr Syeda Ishrat Jahan
The writer is an Associate Consultant of Department of Dermatology at Square Hospitals Ltd. Dhaka.
Source: The Daily Star, February 07, 2009