Q: What causes mouth ulcers?

A: Mouth ulcers are an ulceration of the mucosal membrane in the mouth. Often confused with cold sores (which are related to herpes and form on the lips or face), mouth ulcers are not viral or contagious and form only inside the mouth.

Research has yet to identify exact mouth ulcer causes, but studies have found links with:

  • Stress
  • Oral trauma
  • Genetics
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Triggering foods and/or chemicals

Women are more likely than men to develop recurring mouth ulcers, and young adults suffer more frequently than older adults. Lacerations such as cuts from braces or accidental biting of the lip or cheek can also lead to mouth ulcers.

About 20% of people get recurring mouth ulcers and more than 60% of people will develop a mouth ulcer at least once in their lifetime.

Q: How long do mouth ulcers last?

A: Mouth ulcers typically form on the floor of the mouth, the cheeks, the tongue, or on the soft palate and last 1-2 weeks.

Q: How can I prevent mouth ulcers?

A: Minimize stress: take time off to relax, eat right and get plenty of sleep. Take care of your mouth: Be careful when eating dry, crunchy foods. Any sharp, hard edges in your mouth can cause cuts that lead to mouth ulcers. Also, excessive dryness of the mouth can lead to mouth ulcers. For some people, triggering foods like nuts, spices, or food and drinks high in acidic content can lead to sores.

mouth ulcer treatment
Mouth Ulcers
Credit: nidcr

Q: What’s the best mouth ulcer treatment?

A: There are a variety of treatments for mouth ulcers, ranging from over-the-counter treatments to home remedies:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Maintain proper dental hygiene
  • Apply an ice cube to the ulcer for temporary relief
  • Rinse mouth with salt water
  • Over-the-counter oral pain relievers

Renewing Melts (HB-12 Melts) (topical hyaluronan bioactive vitamin B12) are long-lasting adhering discs that help relieve temporary pain caused by mouth ulcers. The melts hold to the gum, tooth, or brace nearest the ulcer and slowly dissolve for hours of soothing pain relief. Visit our FAQ page for more information.