Mouth ulcers are painful open sores in the mouth, that appear as white or yellow sores surrounded by a bright red area, anywhere in the tongue, lips, gums or inside the cheeks. They can occur singly or in clusters. They usually begin with a tingling or burning sensation, followed by a red spot that ulcerate. They usually heal within a week or 10 days.
Common causes of recurring mouth ulcers
- Nutritional deficiency such as iron, particularly B12 and C
- Poor dental hygiene
- Food allergies
- Accidental biting of lip, or cheek or due to abrasions caused
- Hormonal imbalances
- Skin disease
- Bowel disease
- Family history of mouth ulcers
- Herpes simplex virus
- Ayurveda considers vitiation of pitta to aggravate the symptoms. Avoid use of hot or spicy food, tea, coffee, tobacco and alcohol, and use of sour things.
- Generally constipation is associated with oral ulcers. If that is the primary cause for ulceration, take a mild laxative, such as ‘Triphala choorna’ at bed time. This can be taken mixed with milk or in the form of decoction.
- Decoction of leaves of either aamla or henna or guava tree, either singly or mixed with alum powder is a good gargle for oral ulcers.
- Fine powder of Chebulic myrobalan mashed with honey, is a good application, which is also effective.
- Khadiraadi vati is a good choice of drug for this condition, and is available in the form of a pill. Keep it in the mouth until it dissolves itself with saliva. It has a soothing effect on the ulcers.
- Licorice is a proven beneficial treatment for oral ulcers. Apart from healing mouth ulcers, it also refreshes mouth, cleanses teeth and arrests tooth decay. It can be consumed as a warm infusion or decoction, or just chew a piece of it.
- Irimedadi taila can be locally applied on mouth ulcers, and it gives early relief from pain and helps heal ulcers.
- Chew on a few tulsi leaves. Repeat it 5-6 times a day.
- Chew one or two tender leaves of fig and leaf buds frequently and wash the mouth with warm water.
- Boil about 2 tablespoons of methi leaves with half a cup of green gram and 10 small onions. Try adding this to part of your diet.
- Roast and powder fenugreek seeds, and add it to drinking water, and drink thrice daily for 2 to 3 days.
- Mix coconut milk with honey and massage the gums 3 to 4 times a day.
- Prepare a coriander decoction by boiling 1 teaspoon coriander seeds in one cup water, and gargle often with this when lukewarm.
- Mix turmeric powder with honey and consume, it offers relief from throat pain and treats mouth ulcers. Else, mix a pinch of turmeric powder to 1tsp glycerine and apply locally on the ulcer.
With proper care, oral ulcers usually heal within four days. Even without any medication, ulcers normally disappear within 10 days. However, if they persist beyond two weeks, get them diagnosed by a physician to rule out other complications.