If you’re one of the estimated 20% of people who happen to develop mouth ulcers, you know just how uncomfortable and painful they can be. The good news is that ulcers in the mouth tend to go away on their own within about two weeks, are usually harmless, and don’t necessarily need treatment from your dentist in Hagerstown. However, naturally, you may be wondering what caused an ulcer in the first place.
What Can Cause a Mouth Ulcer?
An ulcer in the mouth is one of those things that may not have a known cause, but we do know that there are things that can contribute to an ulcer developing such as ill-fitting dentures or accidentally biting your cheek or tongue. On the other hand, if there is no obvious case of an injury, ulcers can develop as a result of:
- Increased stress
- Eating foods that are too spicy, acidic, or salty
Additionally, people with certain medical conditions may be at increased risk of getting an ulcer. Some of the medical conditions that can contribute to ulcer development include:
- Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis
- Celiac disease
- Iron or vitamin B12 deficiency
If you have one of these conditions, make sure to tell your dentist in Hagerstown.
Mouth Ulcer Treatment
Many times, ulcers and their symptoms can be treated at home by rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water a few times a day, avoiding spicy foods, or using an over-the-counter topical anesthetic. For severe ulcers, you are prescribed corticosteroids or antiseptic treatments.
When to See a Dentist for an Ulcer
Most ulcers should disappear within 10-14 days. But if an ulcer lasts longer than 20 days, you should schedule an appointment with your Hagerstown dentist. Other signs to look out for are:
- Sores without pain
- Big ulcers
- Ulcers on the outside lips
Is a Mouth Ulcer Cancer?
While an ulcer in the mouth can be a sign of oral cancer, this usually only applies to a few cases. Ulcers associated with oral cancer are most commonly under or on the tongue, but they can develop anywhere in the mouth. While any type of cancer is certainly concerning, oral cancer can often be treated successfully, especially when it’s caught early.
Having an ulcer in your mouth can certainly be concerning, be rest assured that oftentimes it will go away on its own and typically isn’t a sign of a larger problem. However, if you’re experiencing an ulcer that’s stuck around longer than three weeks or are simply worried about any ulcer, see your dentist in Hagerstown. We’re always happy to help and believe that extra precaution is better than waiting too long.