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Mouth Ulcers

A mouth ulcer is an open sore inside the oral cavity. Two common mouth ulcer types are aphthous ulcers (canker sores) and cold sores (caused by the herpes simplex virus). They are white or yellow in color, and are normally accompanied with a sharp pain, which is felt most when the person is eating.

Cause-

1.Trauma
a.Minor physical injuries
Trauma to the mouth is a common cause of oral ulcers. A sharp edge of a tooth, accidental biting (this can be particularly common with sharp canine teeth, or Wisdom teeth), sharp, abrasive, or excessively salty food, poorly fitting dentures, dental braces or trauma from a toothbrush may injure the mucosal lining of the mouth resulting in an ulcer. These ulcers usually heal at a moderate speed if the source of the injury is removed (for example, if poorly fitting dentures are removed or replaced).
It is also common for these ulcers to occur after dental work, when incidental abrasions to the soft tissues of the mouth are common. A dentist can apply a protective layer of petroleum jelly before carrying out dental work in order to minimize the number of incidental injuries to the soft mucosa tissues.
b.Chemical injuries
Chemicals such as aspirin or alcohol that are held or that come in contact with the oral mucosa may cause tissues to become necrotic and slough off creating an ulcerated surface. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), one of the main ingredients in most toothpastes, has been implicated in increased incidence of oral ulcers.
2.Smoking Cessation
      It is fairly common for smokers to experience multiple mouth ulcers within a week
      of cessation. The duration varies between individuals, and can range from a month
      to years. Oral nicotine supplements has shown some reduction in the occurrence.
3.Infection
a.Viral
The most common is Herpes simplex virus which causes recurrent herpetiform ulcerations preceded by usually painful multiple vesicles which burst. Varicella Zoster (chicken pox, shingles), Coxsackie A virus and its associated subtype presentations, are some of the other viral processes that can lead to oral ulceration. HIV creates immunodeficiencies which allow opportunistic infections or neoplasms to proliferate.
b.Bacterial
Bacterial processes leading to ulceration can be caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis) and Treponema pallidum (syphilis).
c.Fungal
d.Protozoans
Entamoeba histolytica, a parasitic protozoan is sometimes known to cause mouth ulcers through formation of cysts.
4.Immune system
     Many researchers view the causes of aphthous ulcers as a common end product of
     many different disease processes, each of which is mediated by the immune
     system.
5.Immunodeficiency
         Repeat episodes of mouth ulcers can be indicative of an immunodeficiency,
         Signaling low levels of immunoglobulin in the oral mucous membranes. 
         Chemotherapy, HIV, and mononucleosis are all causes of immunodeficiency with
         which oral ulcers become a common manifestation.
6.Dietary
Vitamin C deficiencies may lead to scurvy which impairs wound healing, which can contribute to ulcer formation. Similarly deficiencies in vitamin B12, zinchave been linked to oral ulceration.
A common cause of ulcers is Coeliac disease, in which case consumption of wheat, rye, or barley can result in chronic oral ulcers. If gluten sensitivity is the cause, prevention means following a gluten-free diet by avoiding most breads, pastas, baked goods, beers etc. and substituting gluten-free varieties where available. Artificial sugars (Aspartame/Nutrisweet/etc) such as those found in diet cola and sugarless chewing gum, have been reported as causes of oral ulcers as well.
7. Cancer
Oral cancers can lead to ulceration as the center of the lesion loses blood supply and necroses. Squamous cell carcinoma is just one of these by tobacco.

Symptoms-

The symptoms preceding the ulcer may vary according to the cause of the ulcerative process.
Some oral ulcers may begin with a sharp stinging or burning sensation at the site of the future mouth ulcer. In a few days, they often progress to form a red spot or bump, followed by an open ulcer. Sometimes this takes a little bit longer, depending on the cause of the ulcer.
The oral ulcer appears as a white or yellow oval with an inflamed red border. Sometimes a white circle or halo around the lesion can be observed. The grey, white, or yellow coloured area within the red boundary is due to the formation of layers of fibrin, a protein involved in the clotting of blood. The ulcer, which itself is often extremely painful, especially when agitated, may be accompanied by a painful swelling of the lymph nodes below the jaw, which can be mistaken for toothache.

Treatment-

Symptomatic treatment is the primary approach to dealing with oral ulcers. If their cause is known, then treatment of that condition is also recommended. Adequate oral hygiene may also help in relieving symptoms.

Role of homoeopathy

Mouth ulcers can be treated effectively in Homeopathy without any side-effects. The treatment should be started in the early phase itself. Homoeopathy cares for all i.e. it reduces the pain, it heals the wound in a better way, it improves the nutritional status by improving digestion and absorption and finally it aborts the tendency to recurrences.

Prevention-

Rinse your mouth after every meal and brush your teeth at least twice a day to keep the mouth free from debris.
Use only a soft bristled tooth brush to clean your teeth.
Taking a nutritious diet with adequate amount of fluid helps you to keep away from not only stomatitis but also other diseases.
Avoid use of tobacco products and alcohol, as they can irritate the lining of the mouth.
Avoid very spicy and hot foods.

 

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