Oral Ulcers and its symptoms  

News Karnataka

I Support NK

Oral Ulcers and its symptoms  

Oral Ulcers and its symptoms  

Dept. Faculty, Yenepoya Dental College, Mangaluru   ¦   May 10, 2021 12:27:51 PM (IST)

Oral Ulcers and its symptoms   -1

An oral ulcer is the loss or erosion of part of the delicate tissue that lines theoral cavity (mucous membrane).  The most common cause is injury (such as accidentally biting the inside of your cheek). Other causes include aphthous ulceration, certain medications, ill-fitting dentures, orthodontic brackets, skin rashes in the mouth, viral, bacterial and fungal infections, chemicals and some medical conditions. In most cases, oral ulcers are harmless and resolve by themselves within 10 to 14 days without the need for treatment.


The exact cause of oral ulcers is still not known and varies from person-to-person. Still, there are some common causes and several factors that may aggravate oral ulcers, including the following:

  • citrus fruits and other foods high in acidity or spice
  • biting the tongue or inside of the cheek
  • braces, poor-fitting dentures, and other apparatus that may rub against the oralcavity and gums
  • a deficient filling
  • stress or anxiety
  • hormonal changes during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
  • medications including beta-blockers and pain killers
  • genetic factors, gastrointestinal disorders

Some people may develop ulcers as a result of a different medical condition or a nutritional deficiency.

Conditions such as celiac or Crohn’s disease, vitamin B12 or iron deficiency, or a weakened immune system may all trigger ulcers to form.

Are Oral Ulcers Cancerous?

Oral cancer and oral ulcers are distinctive in their symptoms. However, as mentioned earlier, new or persistent ulcers require checking.

There are some fundamental differences between oral ulcers and what might be cancer:

  • Oral ulcers are often painful whereas oral cancer is not.
  • Oral ulcers will clear up in about 2 weeks, whereas oral cancer will not go away and will often spread.
  • Oral cancer patches may be rough, hard, and not easy to scrape off.
  • Oral cancer is often a mix of red and white areas or large white areas that appear on the tongue, the back of the oral, the gums, or on the cheeks.
  • Oral cancer is often linked to heavy drinking or tobacco use.

(Confirmation of oral cancer is done only by biopsy)


There are three main types of oral ulcers. These include:

 1.Herpetiform ulceration (HU)

  • Herpetiform ulcers are a subtype of aphthous ulcers and get their name because they resemble the sores associated with herpes. Unlike herpes, HU is not contagious. Herpetiform ulcers recur very quickly, and it may appear that the condition never gets better.

Oral Ulcers and its symptoms   -2

2.Minor ulcers

  • This type can range in size from about 2 millimeters (mm) up to 8 mm across. These ulcers typically take up to 2 weeks to get better and will cause minor pain.

Oral Ulcers and its symptoms   -3

3.Major ulcers

  • Bigger than minor ulcers, major ulcers are often irregular in shape, may be raised, and penetrate deeper into the tissue than minor ulcers. They can take several weeks to go away and are likely to leave scar tissue when they clear.

Oral Ulcers and its symptoms   -4


Ulcers can be painful, and the pain can be made worse by food, drink, and poor oral hygiene.

Herpetiform ulceration may:

  • appear as extremely painful ulcers in the oral
  • recur very quickly, so infections seem continuous
  • increase in size, eventually coming together to form a large, ragged ulcer
  • take 10 or more days to heal
  • appear anywhere in the oral

They tend to be found in more females than males and are more common in older adults.

Minor and Major ulcers include:

  • one or more painful sores that may appear on the cheeks, the roof of the oral, or the tongue
  • The appearance of round lesions that have red edges and are yellow, white, or grey in the middle

During more extreme outbreaks of oral ulcers, some people may experience fever, sluggishness, and swollen glands.

When to see a Doctor?

People who frequently get oral ulcers may find it difficult to know when to see a doctor.

There are some situations, however, where a person should see a doctor as soon as possible. Some of these circumstances include:

  • the appearance of a non-painful ulcer in one or more areas of the oral
  • unusual ulcers that appear in a new spot in the oral
  • ulcers that are spreading
  • ulcers lasting longer than 3 weeks.

Others may want to seek medical attention or treatment for their ulcers if:

  • they are particularly painful or big
  • a fever appears
  • they develop after starting a new medication
  • secondary bacterial infections


Some prevention methods include:

  • talking to a doctor about changing medications that are known to cause ulcers
  • Avoiding foods that can either trigger or worsen symptoms
  • keeping the oral clean with daily brushing and flossing


  • In many cases, the pain and discomfort from oral ulcers will lessen in a few days and then disappear in about 2 weeks with no need for treatment.
  • For people with much more painful or frequent recurrence of oral ulcers, a dentist may prescribe a solution to reduce swelling and lessen pain.
  • Also, a dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial oralwash or an ointment to be applied directly to the infected patch. This can help to ease discomfort.

About the Author

This article has been contributed by the Department of Oral Pathology & Microbiology, Yenepoya Dental College under the Yenepoya (Deemed to be University) established in the year 1992. The department with its robust alumni of 3000 under- graduates and 67 Post -graduates students and research scholars has many accolades and achievements to its credit. It strives to provide state of art Oral diagnostics and Molecular Pathology while excelling in research activities and instilling a holistic approach in dental education among students. The department contributes its expertise in fostering inter-disciplinary collaboration and providing exemplary education and scientific research. 

Powered by JustWatch


Join thousands of other Indians and play Teen Patti online. Click on the link and find your Teen Patti site today.