You’re probably familiar with the word “ulcer” in the context of stomach ulcers. Whether you’ve had one yourself or not, you likely know that it involves part of the stomach or intestinal wall failing and creating a sort of bubble within the lining which is painful while it persists and potentially catastrophic if it bursts. What you probably don’t know is that the same sort of thing can happen to your #mouth, and while you may not have heard of a mouth ulcer, chances are pretty good that you’ve experienced one first hand.
A mouth ulcer is a kind of painful swelling that can show up on the soft tissue in your mouth, which includes the inside of your cheeks, the tongue, and even on the back of the roof of your mouth. For the most part mouth ulcers show up, sting a little, and then fade away after a few days or weeks. Mouth ulcers occur for a variety of reasons:
• Canker sores. While the exact cause of canker sores is unknown, they may affect a third of all Americans.
• Burns. Usually people are careful enough to avoid more than a burned tongue, but if you drink something hot too soon after a visit to the dentist or if you eat something with a superhot filling, you might get a mouth ulcer afterwards.
• Electricity. Most adults know better than to chew on a live electrical wire, but some children and pets wind up learning the hard way, getting a mouth ulcer in the process.
• Sharp Food. Eating too many potato or corn chips or else certain kinds of breakfast cereal can damage your mouth, leading to ulcers.
• Radiation Therapy. A strong enough dose of radiation can cause mouth ulcers directly, and it can also damage the salivary glands which makes future mouth ulcers more likely.
• Infection. A variety of bacteria and viruses can cause mouth ulcers. Most often a kind of herpes is responsible, and these ulcers are called cold sores, but there are other diseases which can do much the same thing.
There isn’t much anyone can do to cure a mouth ulcer, but for the most part they aren’t that serious. Still, they can sometimes make it hard to eat or drink while they’re present, and so there are remedies out there which you can use to ease the pain and promote the healing process.
Alcohol-based mouthwashes may not be a good idea since they tend to dry out the mouth and irritate ulcers, but there are plenty of other mouthwashes and mouth rinses which are designed specifically to help in just such a situation. So if you get a sore in your mouth, you shouldn’t worry too much about it, and if it hurts to eat, there are ways that modern medicine can help.