A mouth ulcer occurs when a part of the lining of the inside of your mouth becomes damaged. The area that hurts is known as a mouth ulcer. They are very common and can be caused by many different things. The majority are not caused by anything serious and will improve on their own within 2 weeks. They look like red and white lesions on the inside of your cheeks that are usually 1cm in size or less. You can sometimes get large mouth ulcers which are bigger than this and they can also appear at the bottom of the gums, under or on the tongue. There are some over-the-counter treatments available from your pharmacist, but if you are looking for some things to try at home – Caidr’s pharmacists have you covered.
Applying ice to the ulcer can bring about some temporary pain relief. We normally advise not putting ice directly onto the skin, so you can try wrapping it in something like a kitchen towel or a small cloth so as not to damage the lining of the mouth. Like having a muscular injury, the ice is thought to help reduce pain and swelling due to its effects on constricting blood vessels in the area.
One widely recommended tip is placing regular damp tea bags onto the mouth ulcer and holding for a few minutes. We’re not sure of the evidence base behind this recommendation, possibly there is some effect due to tannins and anti-inflammatory effect of the tea constituents. But lots of people swear by it, so if you’re looking for something to try – it’s worth a shot!
Another favorite home remedy for many different conditions, from heartburn to constipation. It is also widely recommended for home treatment of mouth ulcers. Like tea, the anti-inflammatory effects of the milk of magnesia is noted to be a potential benefit here. You could try dabbing it onto the ulcer directly with a cotton swab two to four times a day.
As always, what works for one person won’t necessarily work for someone else. If you’re looking for a home remedy rather than a product like Bonjela, or a numbing agent that can be found in your local pharmacy – these should all be safe to try and you can see if it works for your symptoms!