- Common Ailments Service
- Mouth Ulcers
Mouth ulcers are common
What are mouth ulcers?
Mouth ulcers are common and should clear up on their own within a week or two. They’re often harmless but can be painful, which can make it uncomfortable to eat, drink or brush your teeth. Mouth ulcers are usually round or oval sores that can appear, inside the mouth, on the tongue, cheeks and lips.
They can be white, red, yellow or grey in colour and swollen. It’s possible to have more than one mouth ulcer at a time and they may spread or grow.
Mouth ulcers shouldn’t be confused with cold sores, which are small blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth. Cold sores often begin with a tingling, itching or burning sensation around your mouth.
Should I seek medical advice?
Mouth ulcers need time to heal and unfortunately there’s no quick fix. Things you can do to speed up healing include:
- applying a protective paste recommended by your pharmacist
- using a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth
- using a toothpaste that doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulphate, as this may be irritating
- avoiding hard, spicy, salty, acidic or hot food and drink until the ulcer heals
- using a straw to drink cool drinks
- avoiding things that may be triggering your mouth ulcers
After following this guidance for a week or so, if your mouth ulcer persists or shows no signs of improvement, then it may be necessary to speak to one of our pharmacists who can recommend a treatment to speed up healing, prevent infection or reduce pain, such as:
- antimicrobial mouthwash - which may speed up healing and prevent infection of the ulcer. Children under two shouldn’t use this treatment.
- a pain killing mouthwash, gel or spray
- corticosteroid lozenges - these may reduce your pain and speed up healing. They are best used as soon as the ulcer appears, but shouldn’t be used by children under 12.
You do not need a prescription for these items, but you will need to book a telephone consultation with one of our team to be advised on the best treatment option for you.
If you have mouth ulcers, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by booking a free telephone consultation with one of our experienced pharmacists for advice and support.