Oral Ulcer Treatment Options

Oral Ulcers – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment


Last Modified: January 24, 2024


Oral ulcers, commonly known as canker sores, are a prevalent and often painful condition many experience at some point in their lives. These small, shallow sores can develop inside the mouth, on the gums, tongue, or the inner lining of the cheeks. While oral ulcers are usually harmless and resolve independently, understanding their symptoms, causes, and treatment options can help manage discomfort and promote faster healing.

Symptoms of Oral Ulcers

  • 1. Painful sores (could be one or more than one) on the mucous membrane (lining or “skin” inside of the mouth, including cheeks and lips) of the mouth.
  • 2. Swelling and Pain around the area of the ulcer. Problems with brushing and chewing because of the tenderness.
  • 3. Irritation of the sores by spicy, salty, or sour foods.
  • 4. Irritation of the sores by dentures, orthodontic aligners, or mouth guards.

Causes of Oral Ulcers

  • 1. Minor Trauma: Minor injuries to the mouth, such as accidental biting, aggressive tooth brushing can trigger the development of oral ulcers.
  • 2. Stress and Hormonal Changes: Emotional stress and hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, are associated with an increased likelihood of developing oral ulcers.
  • 3. Dietary Factors: Certain foods, such as acidic or spicy items, can contribute to developing oral ulcers, especially in individuals who may be sensitive to these substances.
  • 4. Autoimmune Conditions: Conditions like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and Behçet’s disease have been linked to an elevated risk of oral ulcer formation.

Treatment of Oral Ulcers

  • 1. Topical Medications: Over-the-counter oral gels and ointments containing ingredients like benzocaine or hydrocortisone can provide relief by numbing the area and reducing inflammation.
  • 2. Oral Rinses: Antimicrobial or saline oral rinses help maintain oral hygiene and prevent infection, facilitating quicker healing.
  • 3. Avoiding Trigger Foods: Identifying and avoiding foods that may trigger oral ulcers, such as acidic or spicy, can help prevent recurrence.
  • 4. Stress Management: Incorporating stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, may be beneficial for individuals prone to stress-induced oral ulcers.
  • 5. Professional Dental Care: Seeking advice from a dentist or healthcare professional is crucial, especially if oral ulcers persist, recur frequently, or are accompanied by other concerning symptoms.


While oral ulcers can be temporary, understanding their symptoms, addressing potential causes, and implementing effective treatments can significantly improve the healing process. Maintaining good oral hygiene, adopting stress management strategies, and seeking professional guidance are critical steps in managing and preventing oral ulcers.

If you are experiencing persistent or severe symptoms, you consult a dentist at the nearest Clove Dental clinic near you for personalized advice and care.

By: Dr. Nayanika Batra

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