Mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores, are sores or lesions that occur in the soft tissues in your mouth. While most mouth ulcers are harmless, they are usually very painful and can make eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth uncomfortable. Your general dentist in Irvine, CA shares what you should know about mouth ulcers and how to deal with them.
What Causes Mouth Ulcers?
The causes of mouth ulcers vary greatly with each patient, and it's often hard to tell what causes them. Some of the things that cause or aggravate mouth ulcers are:
- Anxiety or stress
- The metal brackets or wires used in traditional orthodontics
- Citrus fruits or other highly acidic foods
- Hormonal changes
- Certain medications or painkillers
- An ill-fitting denture or other oral appliance
Are Mouth Ulcers Oral Cancer?
Mouth ulcers are typically not related to oral cancer, although they can have a similar appearance. Here are some differences between canker sores and mouth cancer lesions:
- Mouth cancer lesions are not painful - mouth ulcers cause a lot of discomfort
- Mouth ulcers heal in about two weeks - mouth cancer doesn't go away and often spreads
- Mouth cancer appears as rough or hard white or red patches on the tongue, back of the mouth, gums, and cheeks.
If you have a sore or lesion that is not healing or clearing up within 14 days, it is important to contact your dentist for an examination right away, as oral cancer is best treated in its earliest stages.
Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between a canker sore or mouth cancer lesion, so if you ever have a question, it's best to be safe than sorry and contact your dentist for an examination. Your dentist will also screen you for oral cancer at every checkup, so it's important to be consistent with your six-month visits.
Contact Dr. Jeffrey C. Robertson if you have additional questions or concerns about mouth ulcers, or if it's time to schedule your next appointment.