During Mouth Cancer Action Month, Shine Dental Care Mansfield are highlighting some of the things to be aware of that may be linked to mouth cancer. Our dentist, Coire, recently suffered a painful mouth ulcer. Like most, it did clear up after a few days, but here is some advice on to how to take care of yourself and when you need to seek advice from a dentist.
Mouth ulcers are a common ailment that can be caused by a number of different factors. Here we look at what causes mouth ulcers and what can be done to help sufferers.
What causes a mouth ulcer?
There are many causes of mouth ulcers, the most common being trauma. In Coire’s case he bit his lip. Other common causes of trauma are friction from dentures and braces, broken fillings or teeth and eating sharp foods.
Ulcers can sometimes be caused by a condition called Recurrent Apthous Stomatitis. People who suffer from this condition are prone to ulceration and may get several clusters of painful ulcers at one time.
If you are deficient in vitamin B12 or iron you may suffer from ulcers.
Some studies have shown that there is a correlation between stress and ulceration.
How long do they last?
Typically an ulcer will last around 2 weeks. However, if it becomes infected or in some cases of apthous ulceration, they may hang around longer.
What is the treatment for ulcers?
An ulcer will normally clear up without treatment within 2 weeks. However there a number of measures you can take to make things more comfortable and to prevent infection.
As Coire will confirm, ulcers can be very sore. Over the counter analgesics such as paractemol and ibuprofren can be taken to ease the pain.
Some treatments such as Bonjela contain an ingredient to numb the area for a short while.
In order to keep the ulcer clean and free from infection you can rinse frequently with warm salty water or medicated mouthwash.
Luckily, Coire’s ulcer was a one-off but if you have any doubts as to the cause of an ulcer you should seek dental or medical advice. Your doctor can carry out a blood test to rule out any systemic causes and your dentist may be able to help by easing dentures or adjusting braces.
When should I worry about a mouth ulcer?
As a general rule, we advise that if an ulcer has not healed within 2 weeks you should get it checked out by a dentist in order to rule out anything more serious. However, if you spot anything unusual in your mouth, please do not delay in seeking our advice, we will always be happy to help you. Give us a call on 01623 629391 or visit the practice at Shine Dental Care, Sandlands Court, Forest Town, Nottinghamshire. NG19 0GG