Too sore to speak

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 May, 2009, 12:00am

Ouch, you're eating something and you accidently bite the inside of your cheek. The next thing you know, you have a painful mouth ulcer. It's tender, it's swollen, you have problems chewing or brushing your teeth, and you can't eat spicy, salty or sour foods because it hurts so much. Often, it's difficult even to speak.

You can get mouth ulcers from brushing your teeth too hard; burns from hot foods or drinks; sharp, rough teeth/fillings or rubbing against orthodontic braces; or even a mere slip of your toothbrush while brushing your teeth. Sometimes ulcers crop up if you have an infection, are under stress or when you have your menstruation. If you speak to your grandmother, she would probably say you're 'yeet hay' - you have too much hot air in your body because you've eaten too many deep fried and oily foods.

Most of the time, mouth ulcers are harmless and heal by themselves in a few days to a week. If they don't or if you keep getting mouth ulcers, then you'll need to talk to your doctor about it. Sometimes a lack of iron or vitamin B12 is the cause of recurring ulcers.

In the meantime, to ease the pain and speed up recovery:

Avoid spicy and sour foods until the ulcers heal

Drink lots of fluids, soups, water, milk

Rinse your mouth with warm, salted water or an antimicrobial mouthwash such as Corsodyl a couple of times a day (Corsodyl mouthwash can cause staining of the teeth. To avoid this, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water first before rinsing with Corsodyl)

If the ulcers are really painful, take some paracetamol

Antiseptic gels are useful. Apply these directly to the ulcers a couple of times a day

How you can prevent ulcers

Brush your teeth gently twice a day using a soft brush, taking care not to let your toothbrush slip against your gums or the inside of your cheeks

Floss your teeth daily

Get a dental check-up regularly

Eat a well balanced and varied diet which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, milk, fish and lean red meat. These will supply your body with essential vitamins to maintain a strong immune system that can resist and fight off infections

Avoiding food and drinks that are too hot

Try to relax and keep stress under control

Are mouth ulcers infectious?

Mouth ulcers cannot be passed from person to person. You can't 'catch' an ulcer by kissing or sharing a glass, mug or cutlery with someone who has a mouth ulcer.