Over the past few weeks, my mom and my colleague have been suffering from persistent mouth ulcers. Chu has hers whenever My Little Angels sit for their exams. I am sure you, too, suffer from one every now and then.
So, let’s get to know more about this elusive canker sore.
What are they?
A mouth ulcer is an exposed nerve in the lining of your mouth. They are also known as canker sores - shallow, painful sores in the mouth. They are usually red or may sometimes have a white coating over them. You might get them on the inside of your lips, the insides of your cheeks, the base of your gums or under your tongue. Canker sores are different from fever blisters, which usually are on the outside of your lips or the corners of your mouth.
Who normally suffers from one?
Anyone can get them, but women and people in their teens and 20’s get them more often. They may run in families, but they aren't contagious.
What causes them?
1. Accidental damage - Brushing your teeth too hard, minor burns from hot food and drinks, biting the inside of the mouth accidentally, a tooth that's become rough, or orthodontic braces that rub against the gums. These could last for a week or more.
2. The other common type is an aphthous ulcer, which occurs when someone's feeling stressed or under the weather. They often appear for the first time during puberty and they can run in families. These can take a couple of weeks to heal and are likely to keep appearing until someone's feeling relaxed and well again.
3. Other more serious causes of mouth ulcers include herpes infection, inflammatory bowel disease and immune disorders (such as Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis).
4. Sometimes a deficiency in iron, vitamin B12 or folate is the underlying cause, which is why anyone who keeps getting ulcers or who has ulcers that are not healing should consult their doctor.
5. Some even said too much Vitamin C could lead to mouth ulcers.
Can I prevent them?
1. Practise good dental hygiene, taking care not to damage your teeth and gums, and visit the dentist as often as advised.
2. Eating a healthy, varied diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, milk, fish and lean red meat, will supply your body with the necessary vitamins, zinc and iron to maintain a strong immune system that can resist infections.
3. Avoiding food and drinks that are too hot is sensible, and
4. Try to relax and keep stress under control
p.s. Well, I know it is easier said than done but why stress over things that are beyond your control? Why the premature presumptions and prejudice? Why the unnecessary insecurity?
What's the treatment?
1. Gargling and swallowing soluble paracetamol relieves the pain, and rinsing the mouth with iced water before a meal makes eating possible.
p.s. Perhaps, gargling with salt water (natural antiseptic) could do the same trick too...
2. Pastilles and gels that contain anaesthetic have been the mainstay of treatment for years.
3. Several studies have found a high incidence of iron and B vitamin deficiency among people with recurrent mouth ulcers. Supplementing with B vitamins-300 mg vitamin B1, 20 mg vitamin B2, and 150 mg vitamin B6-has been reported to provide some people with relief. Thiamine (B1) deficiency, specifically, has been linked to an increased risk.
4. Some people with recurrent mouth ulcers have been reported to respond to lactobacillus acidophilus. Chewing four lactobacillus tablets three times per day may reduce soreness in some people with recurrent mouth ulcers.
p.s. How about taking some Vitagen or Yakult every now and then?
5. Take 1,000 milligrams of the amino acid lysine at each meal during an outbreak and then 500 milligrams at each meal for a week afterward.
6. Rub the liquid from a vitamin E capsule directly on the sore. Apply it three times a day during an outbreak until the sore heals.
7. Take 4,000 - 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily during outbreaks of canker sores and at least 500 milligrams daily as a way of preventing them.
p.s. Level of intake of Vitamin C varies from one person to another. It is advisable that you know your threshold. If you had too much of Vitamin C (via supplements or acidic fruits), your bowel system will 'purge the toxic', resulted in you suffering from diarrhoea.
p.s.s. Children adore Vitamin C, especially Redoxon soluble tabs - for its sweet and sour, tangy and fizzy. Please exercise extra caution with your beloved kids.
Maybe they are not as painful as tooth ache but I know they could affect you and your loved ones in a big way. Treat them fast and if possible, ward them off from your mouth.
Love thy mouth!
"Devils can be driven out of the heart by the touch of a hand on a hand or a mouth on a mouth" - Tennessee Williams