It’s highly likely that, at one time or another, you will have suffered from painful mouth ulcers, especially if you wear dental braces.
Braces are notorious for causing and irritating mouth ulcers, leading to a whole host of painful symptoms, which can interfere with a variety of day-to-day activities.
The good news is, there are a variety of treatments you can use to relieve the pain and other associated symptoms caused by mouth ulcers. Of course, if your symptoms persist, it’s always advisable to contact your dentist.
So what can you do about your mouth ulcers? And at what point should you ask your dentist for help? We’ve hopefully answered all of your questions below…
What’s the most common type of ulcer?
The most common type of ulcer is called an “aphthous” ulcer (pronounced “app-thuss”). Affecting almost 25% of the population, aphthous ulcers appear as several small ulcers on the inside of your cheek.
They tend to heal pretty quickly on their own within 1 – 2 weeks, without causing any long lasting problems. However, they are notorious for re-appearing every few weeks or months!
Although the cause of aphyhous ulcers is not always clear, a number of factors have been linked to the condition including stress, certain foods, hormonal changes and of course, braces.
Can dental braces cause ulcers?
When you first get your braces fitted, your lips, cheeks, and tongue will generally require a little time to get used to them being there. But don’t worry, after a while, they will soon settle in and you will barely notice that they are there at all.
And, until your mouth gets used to your dental braces being there, it’s not uncommon for them to rub a little at first and it is this irritation that can lead to ulceration. Many people rub orthodontic wax over their brackets as a preventative measure, as this should help to reduce the rubbing.
What can I do about my mouth ulcers?
Mouth ulcers are not only painful, they can also make everyday tasks such as eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth extremely uncomfortable.
Cases of mouth ulcers often need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. This is because some people experience worse sensitivity, pain, and irritation than others. However, there are a whole host of self-help measures that you can employ when it comes to speeding up the healing process.
These include things like ensuring that you keep your mouth as clean as possible in order to prevent infection. If the irritation and pain is too much to bear, using a warm salty mouth rinse daily is a great remedy for soothing the ulcers and boosting the healing process.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should avoid acidic foods, as these can irritate your mouth. These include citrus juices, tomato-based products and oral vitamin C.
Can I buy any medicines to help the ulcers heal?
There’s a wide range of over the counter medicines that can help to manage the pain and irritation caused by mouth ulcers.
From simple painkillers such as Bonjela, Bonjela Junior, and Iglu, through to antiseptics such as Chlorhexidine Mouthwash, there are plenty of effective remedies that you can use to manage your symptoms and speed up the healing process.
When should I seek professional advice?
If your symptoms persist, worsen, or return on a frequent basis, it’s time to seek professional advice from your dentist, especially if your symptoms last for more than 3 weeks at a time.
But that’s not to say that you should be concerned – in the majority of cases, the cause of your mouth ulcers is often something as simple as a sharp piece of your dental brace rubbing against your gums. In this instance, it can be smoothed or covered with wax to assist in the healing process.
The worst-case scenario is that your mouth ulcers could be a sign of other oral conditions that require dental treatment. Persistent mouth ulcers can also be a “marker” for iron, B12 and folate deficiency, so they should definitely not be ignored.