Oral ulcer; Stomatitis – ulcerative; Ulcer – mouth
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Mouth ulcers are caused by many disorders. These include:
Herpes simplex (
Oral lichen planus
The skin lesion of histoplasmosis may also appear as a mouth ulcer.
Symptoms vary and depend on the specific cause of the mouth ulcer. In general, symptoms may include:
- Open sores in the mouth
- Pain or discomfort in the mouth
Signs and tests
A health care provider or dentist usually diagnoses the type of mouth ulcer, based on its appearance and location. Blood tests or a
The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms. The cause, if known, should be treated.
Avoid hot or spicy foods, which often increase the pain of mouth ulcers.
The outcome varies depending on the cause of the ulcer. Many mouth ulcers are harmless and heal without treatment.
There are types of cancer, however, that may first appear as a mouth ulcer that does not heal. See:
Cellulitisof the mouth, from secondary bacterial infection of ulcers
- Dental infections (
- Oral cancer
- Spread of contagious disorders to other people
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if your mouth ulcers don’t go away after 3 weeks. Call for an appointment with your health care provider if mouth ulcers return frequently, or if new symptoms develop.
Good oral hygiene may help prevent some types of mouth ulcers, as well as some complications from mouth ulcers. Good oral hygiene includes brushing the teeth at least twice per day, flossing at least daily, and getting regular professional dental cleanings and examinations.