Mouth Ulcers

A pain in the mouth

mouthulcerMouth Ulcers (also known as canker sores) are sores in the mouth which appear on the soft tissues inside the mouth, most commonly in young adults aged 15 - 25 and affect women more than men. They are similar in appearance to pimples or cold sores and should not be mistaken,  but they are generally yellow or grey in colour and vary in size.

This very common affliction will often heal without any medication, however the more troublesome form is when they reoccur regularly and this is termed 'aphthous stomatitis' or "Sutton's Disease" which is a very common oral condition affecting as much as 10% of the population and women are more often affected than men.

The initial symptoms are generally localised; a tingling or burning sensation followed by soreness and difficulty chewing,  but may also include mild fever, pain when brushing and swelling around the ulcer. They may then progress to form a red spot or bump, followed by a blister which may burst to leave an open ulcer. The ulcer is often extremely painful, especially when agitated and may be accompanied by swelling of the lymph nodes below the jaw, which can be mistaken for toothache, however these ulcers are not considered to be contagious.


Mouth Ulcers are not caused by any infectious agent (viruses or bacteria), rather they are believed to be caused or affected by:

  • Immune deficiency
  • A weak constitution
  • Stress
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate - a foaming agent found in many toothpastes
  • Tryclosan - an antibacterial product found in toothpaste that can kill off the healthy bacteria in the mouth
  • Gingivostomatitis
  • Herpes simplex
  • Leukoplakia
  • Oral cancer
  • Oral lichen planus
  • Oral thrush

Prevention and Cure
Of all the research we have reviewed on this subject, there has been no mention of aerobic exercise and we feel that ulceration is a reflection of stagnation. That is that energy or toxins are accumulating in the body and not being flushed out. So we see aerobic exercise combined with drinking plenty of water as being a priority in both prevention and cure.


  • Saline mouthwash
    this is the first thing to try - add a tea spoon of salt to a glass of water and rinse 2 or 3 times daily (after eating and tooth brushing
  • Use a cotton bud to apply a mild antiseptic from your chemist or pharmacy
  • Use a cotton bud to apply a natural herbal antiseptic such as tree tree oil or lavender oil or use a mouth wash made from water soluble herbal oils.
  • In severe cases a short course of systemic steroids may be prescribed by your doctor.

Other methods to prevent mouth ulcers include:

  • Practicing good oral hygiene, including regular mouthwash, tooth brushing and flossing
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Reducing sweets and sugar consumption
  • Avoiding food and drinks that are too hot
  • Avoiding acidic, spicy, or very hot food
  • Avoiding foods and substances that trigger allergic reactions
  • Effective stress management
  • Practicing safe sex to avoid sexually transmitted diseases
  • Seeking prompt treatment for dental problems
  • If you smoke, Quit!

Vitamin Supplements
Vitamin supplementation can help to strengthen your immune system and make your body more resistant to infection

  • Vitamin A to help your body fight infection and strengthen mucous membranes
  • Vitamin B complex to stimulate cell growth and healing
  • Vitamin C to reduce inflammation and stimulate healing
  • Vitamin E oil can be applied direct to mouth ulcers to speed wound healing

Recommended Minerals:

  • Iron is needed for the production of infection-fighting white blood cells
  • Selenium is an antioxidant and enhances the effects of Vitamin E
  • Zinc is a powerful immune system booster

Recommended Nutrients:

  • Omega-3 fish oils are anti-inflammatory
  • Omega-6 oils have pain-relieving properties
  • Bioflavonoids increase the potency of Vitamin C
  • Echinacea is a powerful immune system booster

Dom Walton has an interesting site devoted to mouth ulcers and provides a range of products that may help some people.
Wikipedia article


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