First Aid Handbook: Mouth Ulcers

A woman clutches her mouth in pain
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While mouth ulcers are sometimes also called canker sores, they are completely different from cold sores that appear on the outside of your mouth and can be contagious. Mouth ulcers are a tiny, but painful issue, and one that our Integrity Urgent Care team has their own experiences with. While researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes these little bumps, our medical staff can help you understand these small inconveniences and have a few tips for how to deal with them.


Symptoms are usually limited to seeing the actual ulcer itself. You may be able to feel it before it shows on the inside of your mouth with an inflamed red area surrounding a white spot. They can appear in the soft tissue within your mouth, inside your cheeks or lips, under your tongue, or on your gums. They could occur in clusters, see below for more information, but usually only form one at a time.


Most patients will bypass any sort of treatment as they go away by themselves in a week or two. You may want to reduce the salt levels and acidity of the foods you eat while you have a mouth ulcer. There are a few over the counter topical products and mouth washes which may provide temporary relief. You can also put ice on the sore to help numb the pain temporarily.


Some mouth ulcers are pretty sporadic in when and how they form. Others come from hormonal or emotional stress so, like any other stress symptom, try to find healthy outlets that help you manage these times in your life. By protecting your mouth from basic trauma, you can also reduce the number of mouth ulcers you may experience in your life. According to the Mayo Clinic, some mouth ulcers are caused by “a diet lacking in vitamin B-12, zinc, folate (folic acid), or iron” so make sure to eat a healthy diet and, if you have mouth ulcers repeatedly, have these levels checked in one of our clinics.

When to See a Doctor

While it is less common, if you have mouth ulcers repeatedly, you may want to see a doctor to make sure you are not experiencing an allergic reaction to certain bacteria in your mouth or ingredients in toothpaste or mouth wash you are using. If you are experiencing large canker sores or a large cluster of canker sores, come see our Integrity team. If you are having a fever or cannot manage the pain, it may be time to seek out help as well. There are some patients that have Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS, or immunodeficiencies who have mouth ulcers more frequently and need to mention this ongoing issue to the specialist in charge of their care.

If you are having ongoing issues with mouth ulcers, come to one of our locations today. We can help make sure there isn’t a larger issue to be concerned with and make sure you are healthy otherwise. Our locations have walk in availability and are ready to see you.

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