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Causes

What causes mouth ulcers?

There are two key types of mouth ulcer

Injury mouth ulcers

These can be caused when the mouth is burned by hot food or drinks, when you bite the inside of your mouth or when the mouth is aggravated by a toothbrush, brace, denture or a rough tooth. Forming a physical barrier over ulcers with Iglu Gels can help shield them from further harm.

Recurrent mouth ulcers

As the name suggests, these ulcers come and go. They can sometimes appear in clusters of up to half a dozen or so. Recurrent ulcers tend to be round and the size of a pencil top. Try to take care of yourself, as being stressed or run-down can trigger recurrent mouth ulcers.

In very rare cases, mouth ulcers can be confused with oral cancer

It is very important that you tell your orthodontist, dentist or doctor if you have a mouth ulcer that lasts for more than 3 weeks or keeps coming back. National guidance suggests urgent referral in the case of persistent unexplained ulcers to exclude the rare possibility of oral cancer, which can benefit from early diagnosis and treatment.

Make healthy choices

Try not to let yourself get run-down – a healthy lifestyle could make you less prone to mouth ulcers. Unfortunately though, many trigger factors are not within our control - so it's important to know how to treat mouth ulcers when we do get them.

You can’t catch them by kissing

Or even by sharing drinks and utensils. That’s because mouth ulcers aren’t caused by an infection.

Mouth ulcers are very common

Over 20% of us will suffer from mouth ulcers at some point in our lives.

Fact
Mouth ulcers are
very common

Over 20% of us will suffer from mouth ulcers at some point in our lives.

Fact
You can't catch
them by kissing

Or even by sharing drinks and utensils. That’s because mouth ulcers aren’t caused by an infection.

Tip
Make healthy
choices

Try not to let yourself get run-down – a healthy lifestyle could make you less prone to mouth ulcers. Unfortunately though, many trigger factors are not within our control - so it's important to know how to treat mouth ulcers when we do get them.

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Prevention

How to prevent mouth ulcers

Leading a healthy lifestyle can stop you from getting run-down, which can make you less prone to mouth ulcers.

However, many of the factors that are known to trigger mouth ulcers, such as injury or illness, are not within your control, so it’s important to know how to treat them when they occur.


Healing

Help your mouth ulcers heal

Help to speed up the natural healing process by:

  • Brushing your teeth carefully to avoid mechanical damage to surrounding gums and soft tissue
  • Drinking cool drinks through a straw
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Using Iglu Gels. Click here to see which Iglu product is best for you

Try to avoid:

  • Eating very spicy, salty or acidic food
  • Eating rough, crunchy foods, such as toast or crisps
  • Drinking very hot or acidic drinks, such as fruit juice
  • Chewing gum
  • Using a toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulphate (which can be an irritant)
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How to maintain healthy teeth and gums

Tip

Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride. This helps to strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay.

Tip

Change your toothbrush at least every 2-3 months.

Tip

If you use mouthwash, don’t use it directly after brushing – you’ll rinse away the fluoride from your toothpaste.

Tip

Maintain a varied diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, fresh fruit and vegetables, as this can help to prevent gum disease.


How to care for teeth with braces

Braces can cause mouth ulcers and sores – particularly when they are first fitted and after any adjustments – because any protruding parts can rub against the lining of your mouth. However the more you care for your braces, the more comfortable they will be.

Brush your teeth and braces after every meal and floss once a day. Be thorough but gentle to avoid damaging the braces.

Avoid sticky, chewy and sugary foods. When you first get your brace, eat softer foods at first – hard ones like apples, carrots and crusty bread can break the wires and brackets.

Carry on playing your favourite sports etc, but make sure you wear a mouth guard, particularly for contact sports like rugby.

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