Mouth Ulcers: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Mouth ulcers are small, often painful sores that can develop inside your mouth in various places such as your cheeks, tongue, gums, or lips. While having one can certainly be an inconvenience and cause a few days of discomfort, they’re usually no cause for concern. In fact, most ulcers heal and disappear on their own without treatment from your dentist in Douglasville. However, there are occasions when an ulcer may be a sign of something more serious.
Symptoms of a Mouth Ulcer
The most common symptoms of mouth ulcers are small, painful lesions. These lesions typically have red outside with white, yellow, or gray centers. Ulcers are not contagious, but new ones can show up close to the time when older ones heal. Additionally, it’s common to have a few ulcers at one time. Sometimes, ulcers will also go hand-in-hand with a fever.
Causes of Ulcers
Several different things can cause an ulcer to develop, and these causes can vary from person to person and even from ulcer to ulcer. What we do know is that ulcers can be hereditary, and those with a family history of mouth ulcers are more likely to develop them as well. Other factors that can cause ulcers include:
- Injuries to the mouth such as biting your cheek or tongue
- Spicy, salty, or acidic foods
- Devices such as braces, dentures, or a mouthguard that rub
- Stress and anxiety
- Hormonal changes
People with certain medical conditions are also more likely to develop ulcers.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis
- Celiac disease
Treating an ulcer can often be done at home through remedies such as rinsing with warm salt water a few times a day, using an over-the-counter anesthetic, and avoiding trigger foods. Occasionally, your dentist in Douglasville will recommend corticosteroids or antiseptic treatments.
It’s important to note that most ulcers will go away on their own within 10-14 days. If it doesn’t, it’s time to see your dentist.
The Link Between Ulcers & Oral Cancer
Sometimes an ulcer could indicate a bigger problem such as oral cancer. Ulcers that do not heal on their own, such as those that don’t go away within 10-14 days, may be a sign of oral cancer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville immediately if you notice:
- An area that looks like it could be an ulcer but doesn’t have any pain
- Rough or hard patches in the mouth
- Oral cancer is most likely to have ulcer-like sores under or on the tongue
Ulcers can absolutely be a pain, both literally and figuratively. But they should go away on their own within two weeks. If you do have an ulcer or suspect oral cancer, get to your dentist quickly. Oral cancer is often treatable and treatment is more successful in the early stages.
Why Do Teeth Hurt When You’re Sick?
Cold and flu season usually spikes between December and February, which means we are just entering peak season for these illnesses. Along with the typical symptoms of fever, cough, and body aches, there can occasionally be signs that affect oral health, too. Thankfully, your dentist in Douglasville is here to ease your concerns about why your teeth may hurt when you’re sick.
Tooth Pain May Not Equate to an Oral Health Problem
Your dentist in Douglasville will usually say that any tooth pain is typically a sign of an oral health problem and that you should schedule a visit sooner rather than later. While that may be true most of the time, there are some exceptions, especially when you’re sick. You see, when you have the flu or a cold and have pain in multiple teeth, the discomfort may actually be a side effect of the illness itself rather than a problem with the teeth. How does this happen? Well, it comes back to anatomy and how close our teeth are to other areas of the body.
Sinusitis & Tooth Pain
Tooth pain that comes along with an illness may be a side effect of something called acute sinusitis. Acute sinusitis is when the spaces in your nose become inflamed or swollen. While this can happen for any number of reasons, it’s most commonly a result of the common cold or the flu. Pressure in these areas can cause pain in the top back teeth. Other symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Facial pain
- Ear pressure
- Bad breath
- Green or yellow mucus
One of the most common ailments that go along with any cold or the flu is congestion, which is particularly concerning for your dentist in Douglasville. The discomfort of not being able to breathe through your nose goes further than simply being annoying. When we can’t breathe out of our noses, we need to breathe out of our mouths. Mouth breathing can cause an uncomfortable feeling of dry mouth. But dry mouth is more concerning than simply being uncomfortable. Dry mouth has been linked to oral health problems such as decay, tooth sensitivity, and infections.
However, mouth breathing isn’t the only thing that can cause dry mouth. In fact, many medications can also dry out saliva production and create an arid environment. When there isn’t enough saliva, bacteria can flourish and lead to the formation of gum disease.
To help counteract dry mouth, make sure to drink plenty of water, especially when you’re sick. Not only can water help you stay hydrated, but it can also help protect teeth against dangerous bacteria and germs.
Anytime your teeth hurt can certainly be concerning. However, if your tooth pain comes along with feeling sick, it may not be necessary to see a dentist as long as you are drinking plenty of water and use sugar-free medicine whenever possible. Now, if tooth pain persists after you feel better, consider scheduling a checkup with your dentist in Douglasville to evaluate your teeth and overall oral health.