Mouth Ulcers Picture

Mouth Ulcers: Causes, Picture, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Mouth ulcers can trigger pain and distress in your mouth as well as gums. The condition also referred to as canker sores, oral ulcers or aphthous ulcers are mostly harmless in nature. But, it can result in you experiencing discomfort. It can sometimes affect your eating, drinking, or even brushing teeth. The condition can range in size. The symptoms always depend on the type of ulcer you get affected from. So, the signs and symptoms may vary. It is a temporary condition that can heal on its own within a week or two. You may not need treatment in most cases. But, all mouth ulcers are not the same. Some indicate serious health complications.

The condition can trigger some uncomfortable situations. You may find difficult to have food, drinks, brush properly or even talk with others. The problem clears without any medical intervention. But, if the mouth ulcers last more than three weeks, then you need immediate treatment. It may indicate something more serious health condition. Therefore, you need to bring it to the notice of your doctor. With better medical care, you can manage any health problem with ease. The recurring mouth ulcers also need proper medical attention. Want to know more about the issue? Then, read ahead to get comprehensive information. It will help you take the right steps.

What Are Mouth Ulcers?

Mouth ulcers are nothing but painful sores that can appear inside your mouth. The condition occurs when the tissue lining your mouth breaks. It mostly occurs at the base of the gums or inside your lips/cheeks. The sores can also occur on the tongue or on the floor of the mouth. The sores may appear white, yellow or grey in color. It appears swollen and causes you pain. So, the painful problem can annoy you to an extent. The embarrassing problem can limit your intake of drinks, food, brushing or even talking to other people. It is a common problem that everyone can suffer at some point in their life.

Mouth Ulcers

You experience the pain due to the mouth ulcer due to the exposure of the nerves. Your mouth lining has nerves that become exposed due to the sores. You can have more than one mouth ulcer at the same time. The ulcer can spread and grow. But, fortunately, it is easy to treat the problem with ease. You must never confuse the mouth ulcers with the cold sores. Both have the same appearance. But, the cold sores can appear around the lips or mouth. So, the problem can cause tingling, itching or burning sensation.

Types Of Mouth Ulcers

Depending on the time duration of the mouth sores, you can classify the mouth ulcers into different types. In the majority of cases, the ulcers can clear within one week of getting the problem. The sores that appear inside the cheek clear without any medical intervention. The three basic types of ulcers inside the mouth include:

Herpetiform Ulceration (HU)

Herpetiform Ulceration

The Herpetiform ulceration is the irregular-shaped small ulcers. It is the subtype of the aphthous ulcers that resembles the herpes sores. But, it is different from herpes as it is not contagious. The sores can recur frequently. So, it appears as if the condition never heals properly. The sores always appear in clusters. Therefore, you can always find blisters more in numbers. Sometimes you can find more than a hundred sores.

Minor Ulcers

The minor ulcers also referred to as Mikulicz ulcers have size about two millimeters. It can grow up to eight millimeters across. The sores can trigger minor pain and discomfort. But, the problem can solve within two weeks and leaves no scar. So, the sores can appear as a single one or more than one. The ulcers have a tendency to recur.

Major Ulcers

Major Ulcers also called as Sutton’s ulcers have an irregular shape. The sores penetrate deep into the tissue compared to the minor ulcers. It has a raised appearance that mostly occurs in young and adolescent people. The sores can have the size of 1cm to 3 cm. It takes more time to heal and leaves a scar when it clears. The healing time of the sores is up to six weeks. The problem mostly accompanies with fever. So, you may feel unwell after getting the sores.

Symptoms Of Mouth Ulcers

The symptoms of the mouth ulcers differ with the types. The main sign associated with the sores is the pain. You can experience minor discomfort with the canker sore. The problem becomes worse with hot/spicy food, drink or poor oral hygiene.

HU Lesions Signs

The common signs of HU sores are:

  • The ulcers can trigger extreme pain in your mouth.
  • The problem can recur very quickly.
  • You can experience continuous infections can make the sores cause distress.
  • The ulcers have increased size. So, it appears like a large and ragged sore.
  • It takes more than ten days to heal properly.
  • The ulcer can appear anywhere in your mouth region.
  • The problem is commonly found more in females compared to the male counterparts.
  • It is more common in older adults.

Symptoms of Minor and Major Ulcers

The symptoms of the other two types of sores differ slightly. The signs associated with the type are:

  • You can see one or more painful sore appearing.
  • It commonly appears on the roof of the mouth, tongue, or on the cheeks.
  • The sores appear as round lesions. It has red edges and the middle is white, yellow or gray in color.
  • The outbreaks accompany with sluggishness, fever, and swollen glands.

Causes Of Mouth Ulcers

When you try to find the exact cause of the mouth ulcer, you can get confused. The problem can vary from one person to another. So, you can never point to a specific cause that triggers the issue. But, certain conditions or factors can aggravate the problem. Therefore, the causes leading to the issue are:

Tissue Damage or Trauma

The damage to the lining of your mouth can result in the condition. It is the most common cause leading to mouth ulcers. The trauma or tissue damage can occur due to several events like:

  • Rigorous brushing causing damage to the mouth lining
  • Ill-fitting dentures or orthodontic braces can hurt the inside of the cheek
  • Biting the inside of the cheek can result in the ulcer formation


You can get the infection in your mouth due to the bacteria, fungus, and virus. The infection can lead to the mouth ulcers.


Stress is a negative emotion that can trigger several problems. One among them is the stress-related ulcers known as aphthous ulcers. It is very common among teens. The teens can experience the problem more due to the hormonal changes. The ulcers can heal within a few weeks. So, practicing the relaxation techniques can provide relief. The stress-busting relaxation techniques can speed up the healing of the mouth sores.

Food Items

Certain food or drinks can trigger the issue in your mouth. In most cases, the food that has high acidic content can lead to problems. So, you need to avoid the food items like tomatoes, strawberries, pineapples, lemons, oranges, etc.

Toothpaste And Oral Rinses


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Mouth Ulcers: Causes, Picture, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment 2

You use toothpaste and mouth wash to maintain oral hygiene. Unfortunately, some products can cause an adverse reaction in your mouth leading to the mouth ulcers. The paste or mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate can trigger sores. So, always check the ingredients list before buying the products.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Your body needs the vitamins to keep the balance intact. The lack of certain vitamins can lead to the ulcers in the mouth. The deficiency of the vitamins like B-12, minerals like zinc or iron can trigger the mouth sores.

Quitting Smoking

Quitting Smoking

Smoking is bad for your overall health. So, you may try to kick the habit from your life. But, you may get the mouth sores immediately after quitting smoking. Never worry as it is a temporary condition. You must never go back to the bad habit.

Complications Due To Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers that happen due to such causes are not problematic. The problem is not contagious. So, it may not spread. The temporary condition can resolve itself after some time. But, some underlying diseases can trigger the problem. So, a serious health problem can lead to mouth ulcers. The ulcers may not resolve within two weeks. You need medical attention to treat the health issue. Therefore, the serious issues that can lead to the problem are:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Herpes Infection
  • Leukoplakia
  • Gingivostomatitis
  • Oral Cancer
  • Sex-Related Infections
  • Oral Thrush
  • Immune disorders
  • Nutritional Deficiency
  • Celiac Disease

In most cases, the problem may accompany with other signs or symptoms. So, you need to check for other issues. When you observe changes in your body, consult your doctor immediately. Some of the above –mentioned conditions can have serious complications. It can result in severe damage to your body. So, getting treatment immediately can prevent such adverse problems.

Are Mouth Ulcers Cancerous In Nature?

The mouth ulcers and mouth cancers have a distinctive appearance. It also has different signs and symptoms that you can distinguish. If you see the ulcers for more than two weeks, then you need treatment. The persistent and new ulcers need medical attention. But, you can see some fundamental differences in the ulcers and cancer like:

  • Pain is the major difference in sores and cancer. The mouth cancer may not have any pain.
  • The simple sores can clear itself after a duration of two weeks. But, cancer may not go away and spreads to other areas.
  • Unlike the sore patches, the mouth cancer is not easy to scrape off. The cancers have hard, rough, and rough patches.
  • Mouth cancer has a distinctive appear compared to the sores. It has a mix of large white and red areas.
  • The mouth cancer can appear on the cheeks, the gums, and at the back of the mouth.
  • You can get mouth cancer as a result of tobacco use or heavy drinking.

Diagnosis Of Mouth Ulcers

Though the sores may solve itself, at the time you may need treatment. The mouth ulcers that do not clear itself within two weeks needs medical treatment. Sometimes the sores may indicate some underlying medical problems. So, your mouth ulcer gets detected by the following diagnostic methods.

Visual Examination

In most cases, the sores get diagnosed after a proper visual examination. The appearance of the sores can reveal its type and severity. Only if the sores have a severe and persistent nature, your doctor prescribes other tests.

Blood Tests

Your blood is taken and sent to the laboratory for testing. The blood culture can reveal the presence of an infection or other condition. So, the doctor can suggest a solution depending on the type of infection you suffer.


If your doctor suspects cancerous presence, then a biopsy can help arrive at a definitive conclusion. The scarping from the mouth region gets tested for the cancer cells.


Many health conditions have similar signs. So, to reach a definitive conclusion, your doctor can suggest other tests. It will rule out other clinical conditions. It helps to detect the actual problem causing you the trouble. Therefore, a treatment plan is opted depending on the diagnosis.

Treatment For Mouth Ulcers

The pain and discomfort associated with the mouth ulcers lessen as time passes. So, after one or two weeks, you can see the sores have disappeared completely. You need no specific treatment to get relief from the problem.

Simple Home Solution

The less severe mouth ulcers can solve easily with some home care. The following home care methods can provide relief from pain and distress.

  • You can use cool water to rinse your mouth. Applying the ice to the ulcer can speed up the healing process. So, it provides you comfort.
  • Swish your mouth with the cool chamomile tea. You can swallow the tea after rinsing the mouth. It will refresh your mouth and provide relief.
  • Rinsing your mouth with the saline solution can heal the sores. The salt water has antimicrobial properties that can kill the bacteria. It will offer you comfort.
  • Using water and baking soda can also give results for healing the mouth sores.

Medical Solution

In some cases, the sores can cause swelling and severe pain. So, your doctor can prescribe a solution. Using the solution in your mouth can reduce the swelling as well as pain. It also avoids the recurrence of the sores in your mouth. Therefore, you can use the prescription based solution to get relief from the problem.

Creams And Ointments

Your doctor can prescribe the antimicrobial creams or ointments. You can apply it directly to the infected patch to get relief. It will reduce the pain and discomfort associated with the sore. So, you can have something to eat and drink without suffering the agony.

Remove The Source Of Problem

If the problem is more severe or persistent, then the removal of the source can provide comfort. Your doctor will determine the actual source triggering the issue. Then, eliminate it completely. So, the effective treatment option can help you stay free of distress.

Preventing Mouth Ulcers

Is it possible to prevent the mouth sores? Fortunately, yes! You can avoid the issue completely from your life with some good preventive measures. The following steps can ensure the sores does not affect your regular life.

Good Oral Hygiene

Good Oral Hygiene

Practicing good oral hygiene can prevent canker sores. You need to brush twice a day. It avoids the buildup of bacteria. Using mouthwash can also enhance oral health.

Healthy diet

Including and eating a healthy diet can prevent any unwanted mouth ulcers. Eat vegetables, fruits, and grains. It will provide essential nutrients to your body. It will keep the immune system strong. So, you can keep the sores away.

Gentle Brushing

In most cases, the sores occur due to the damaged tissue. One of the main reasons for the issue is rough brushing. It harms the lining of your mouth. So, practice gentle brushing using a brush with soft bristles.

Take Supplements

At times you may not receive the required nutrients from the food you eat. So, you can take external supplements to improve your immune system. So, you can take supplements containing Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Zinc. It keeps the sores away from your life.

Avoiding Certain Foods/Drinks

Drinking hot drinks or food can worsen the mouth sores. So, avoid having it. Take the food after cooling can avoid the mouth ulcers.

Reduce Stress

Stress can affect your health negatively. So, practice the relaxation techniques to reduce the stress in your life. It can prevent several diseases including the mouth ulcers.


The mouth ulcers heal without any medical intervention. If you suffer from the problem for more than two weeks, then it indicates something serious. So, see your doctor immediately to detect the medical issue. Getting a health check-up and proper treatment can determine the issue leading to the sores. It will prevent further complications. Therefore, you can reduce your distress and discomfort.

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