What causes mouth ulcers?
There’s no one set cause for mouth ulcers as they can occur for many different reasons. Often they’re caused by a continual irritation to an area of your mouth. For instance, if you keep accidentally biting the inside of your cheek, or you have a sharp tooth that scratches the inside of your mouth.
Changes in hormone levels or vitamin deficiencies can cause them too, as can lifestyle factors such as stopping smoking.
Sometimes what you eat and drink can trigger them. If you scratch your mouth on something sharp or burn the inside of your cheek by drinking your tea before it’s cool enough, these can cause an ulcer to occur.
What are the symptoms of mouth ulcers?
They’re circular sores that usually appear inside the mouth on the cheeks, lips or tongue. Sometimes they’ll crop up underneath your tongue too. They can look grey, red, yellow or white in colour and may also appear swollen.
You might get more than one ulcer at a time, and in some cases they can also spread and get bigger. But it’s important to know that they’re not contagious, and can’t be spread from person to person.
They’re sometimes confused with cold sores, but are actually very different. Cold sores are blisters that develop on or around the lips caused by a virus. They usually begin with a tingling or burning sensation on the mouth. Ulcers don’t present in this way.
Can mouth ulcers lead to other problems?
It’s very rare for mouth ulcers to lead to any other problems. Very occasionally they can lead to a bacterial infection, or cause a small amount of scarring, but not very often. Most mouth ulcers will disappear on their own after a week or so.