Common mouth ulcer causes you should know about

Mouth UlcersCC: Timothy Dykes at Unsplash

As painful sores that appear in your mouth, mouth ulcers are usually harmless. However, they sometimes act as an indication that you’re suffering from a serious underlying disease. If you regularly experience them, it’s wise to learn more about their causes.

Dental causes and accidents

From defective fillings through to poorly fitting dentures, there are a few dental causes of mouth ulcers. If you suspect that either of these things is the cause, you need to see your dentist.

You can also cause a mouth ulcer by eating hard food or accidentally biting the inside of your cheek. If you suspect either of these issues is the problem, maintain your usual oral hygiene routine. Such ulcers usually clear within a few days.

Mouth ulcers are a sign of stress

When you’re experiencing lots of anxiety at home or at work, you’re more likely to experience mouth ulcers. Scientists aren’t sure why this is the case, but they believe it may be due to a lowered immune system. Stress dampens your usual defenses, making you more susceptible to the bacteria and viruses that cause ulcers.

In addition to maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, you need to find ways to reduce stress. Identify the commonest triggers using a diary and then assess how you can tackle them.

Medical causes of mouth ulcers

There are lots of medical causes of mouth ulcers and a visit to your usual doctor may reveal which one is responsible. They include:

Viral illnesses

Herpes simplex, varicella, and hand foot and mouth disease all trigger mouth ulcers. Fortunately, these conditions are brief and you can usually manage them by drinking plenty of fluids and resting.

An iron deficiency

Iron deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiencies produce hordes of mouth ulcers, which soon become painful. Your doctor can begin the diagnostic process with simple blood tests.

Crohn’s disease

As an autoimmune disease that affects the digestive tract, Crohn’s disease also results in unexplained weight loss, frequent diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, and unexplained fatigue. If your doctor suspects you’re suffering from Crohn’s disease, they’ll likely refer you to a gastroenterologist.

Coeliac disease

Coeliac disease arises when you have a genuine allergy to gluten. It results in unexplained weight loss, fatigue, diarrhea, regular stomach pains, and bloating. The only cure for this condition is to cut out gluten, but you do need to go through a series of tests before your doctor can form a diagnosis.

A weakened immune system

Plenty of conditions cause weakened immune systems, including diabetes, HIV, and lupus. While diabetes and HIV are easily diagnosed, the diagnostic process for lupus is often long and challenging. If you are suffering from mouth ulcers due to a weakened immune system, you may also find that wounds take longer to heal.

Behcet’s disease

As an incredibly rare condition that’s poorly understood, Behcet’s disease only has a few thousand known cases worldwide. Much like lupus, it’s difficult to diagnose.

If you are experiencing regular mouth ulcers, finding out what the cause is becomes important. However, if you’re only encountering one or two rogue cases, you probably don’t need to worry.


About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.