Mouth ulcers: dentists answer your questions

Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers take the form of small, round or oval ulcers. They're superficial and non-contagious, but can be a nuisance when you're eating or talking. In most cases, these ulcers disappear spontaneously within a week. Our dentists in Lausanne and Fribourg answer the most frequently asked questions about mouth ulcers. 

What are the symptoms?

L'appearance of mouth ulcers is usually accompanied by a burning and/or pulling sensation. The center of the ulceration is whitish or yellowish, with a red outline. Minor canker sores measure 2 mm to 1 cm in diameter and disappear within one to two weeks. Major canker sores are larger than 1 cm in diameter. Healing time can take up to 6 weeks. Herpetiform canker sores are rarer, appearing as a group of 10 to 100 canker sores with irregular contours. If you suffer from repeated mouth ulcers, you're talking about aphthous stomatitis.

Why do we get canker sores? in the mouth ?

The origin of these minor disorders varies greatly from patient to patient. Here is a list of the main causes of common mouth ulcers: 

  • an injury to the mucous membrane, such as a bite
  • brushing teeth too vigorously
  • rubbing of dentures
  • consumption of certain foods (nuts, strawberries, spices, shellfish, certain cheeses such as Gruyère).
  • a dietary deficiency in vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid or iron
  • fatigue
  • stress
  • a bacterial infection Helicobacter pylori
  • certain drugs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, beta-blockers, biphosphonates, cancer treatments, etc.).
  • food allergies or sensitivities
  • the menstrual period for some women.

What foods should I avoid in case of mouth ulcers?

  • The nuts
  • Certain raw fruits such as strawberries, pineapples, apricots and tomatoes.
  • Spicy or acidic dishes
  • Crustaceans
  • Certain hard cheeses such as Gruyère and Parmesan.

How to avoid mouth ulcers by eating nuts?

Nuts can irritate the inside of the mouth through a mechanical phenomenon. This is a frequent cause of mouth ulcers. If you still wish to enjoy these nuts, we recommend soaking them for 30 to 60 minutes before eating. This also removes the brown skin.

How to treat a canker sore quickly?

To do this, pour one or two teaspoons of salt into a glass of lukewarm water and stir. Rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day. You can also apply a little honey directly to the canker sore. Honey has soothing, antiseptic, antibacterial and healing properties.

What's the best treatment for mouth ulcers?

In most cases, mouth ulcers heal on their own within a few days. If you are in pain, dentists in Fribourg and Lausanne recommend taking paracetamol. In addition to natural remedies for treating mouth ulcers in the mouth, local treatments are available from pharmacies. 

What disease causes mouth ulcers?

Visit recurrent mouth ulcers may be a sign of an underlying pathology: 

  • anemia 
  • celiac disease (gluten intolerance)
  • inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • immunodeficiency 
  • prolonged corticosteroid treatment
  • Behçet disease (canker sores are accompanied by genital ulcers, inflammatory eye disease, skin lesions and frequent joint involvement).

We recommend that you consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How can I avoid mouth ulcers?

  • Avoid foods that promote the appearance of mouth ulcers. 
  • Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Brush your teeth gently. 
  • Don't bite your lips or cheeks. 
  • Try to ease off in times of stress and fatigue. 

Can a canker sore be pierced?

No, it's not advisable to pierce a mouth ulcer yourself. You risk causing an infection in the mouth. Contact a doctor for treatment in case of unbearable pain or discomfort.  

Where do mouth ulcers appear? 

They are mainly found on the inside of the lips, on the gums, on the inside of the cheek, on and under the tongue, and sometimes in the throat. Unlike a canker sore, an abscess is a pocket of pus in a tooth. If you notice this type of lesion, consult a dental surgeon in the French-speaking part of Switzerland as soon as possible.

How to burn a canker sore?

Only a healthcare professional can perform this type of treatment. He or she will apply a drop of trichloroacetic acid to the affected area of the mucosa.

Who to consult in case of mouth ulcers in the mouth ?

You can make an appointment with a general practitioner, dentist, dermatologist, ENT specialist or stomatologist. All these practitioners treat mouth ulcers.

The HELVIDENT team consists of dentists, dental hygienists and oral health specialists. Our dental clinics are located in Fribourg, Lausanne and Aigle. Don't hesitate to Contact us to book an appointment.