3 Potential Causes Of Recurring Oral Ulcers

Oral ulcers on the soft tissue can cause constant discomfort while eating, speaking, or even trying to hold your mouth closed. Recurring oral ulcers can interfere with your daily life due to the pain. If you have recurring oral ulcers, it's important to see a dentist as soon as possible to diagnose the cause even if the cause is ultimately minor. Receiving early treatment can rid your mouth of the ulcers and your daily life of the discomfort.

Here are three of the potential causes of recurrent oral ulcers.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are raw painful ulcers with a yellowed center and red exterior. Cankers typically appear on the inside of the lips or cheek or at the bottom of the gums facing the inside of the cheek.

Don't confuse canker sores with cold sores, which appear outside the mouth on the lips and are caused by the herpes virus. Canker sores can occur due to stress, hormonal changes, or just randomly. The canker sores usually clear up on their own after a week or two but you can apply a topical numbing solution for relief in the meantime.

Erythema Multiforme

Do your oral ulcers look like skin hives or a bulls-eye shaped sore? Have you also experienced fever, aches, and itchiness when the ulcers are present? If you answered yes to these questions, your ulcers might be erythema multiforme.

Erythema multiforme is often simply an allergic reaction to a medication. Penicillins and barbiturates are two of the drug classes that can cause this type of oral ulcer reaction. If you are taking these medications regularly, inform both your dentist, such as West Lakes Family Dentistry, and general practitioner about this side effect and ask if another medication can be prescribed instead.  

Allergic reactions aren't the only cause of erythema multiforme as the infections herpes and mycoplasma can also cause similar problems. If you aren't on any medication that could cause an allergic reaction, you likely have an infection that needs treatment.

Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis

Did you start experiencing the ulcers during childhood? Do your gums hurt for days before the ulcers appear and the arriving ulcers have a yellowed center surrounded by an inflamed red ring? Your oral ulcers are likely caused by recurrent aphthous stomatitis.

Existing ulcers can be treated with corticosteroids but the recurrences might require additional medications to be added to the regimen both for pain control and to reduce the risk of developing the ulcers.