Oral Sores Symptoms, Causes, Complications and Management

Oral Sores

Oral sores, also known as mouth ulcers or mucosal ulcers occur anywhere in the mouth like inner cheeks, gums, lips, tongue or bottom of the mouth. They make eating and talking quite painful. Oral sores do not pose any harm and clear up themselves. Consult a doctor, if they persist for more than three weeks. One in every five people gets recurrent oral sores.Oral Sores

Symptoms of Oral Sores

There are the following symptoms of Oral Sores :

  • Round, white, or grey colored sores, with a red edge or border
  • Pain or discomfort in the mouth
  • Fever in some cases
  • Physical Sluggishness
  • Swollen Lymph nodesMouth Sores

Causes of Mouth Sores

There could be many causes for oral sores:

  • Smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Emotional stress
  • Fitting dentures may cause oral sore (due to friction)
  • Taking diet lacking in vitamin B-12, folate (folic acid) zinc or iron
  • Food sensitivities, particularly to coffee, chocolate, nuts, eggs, cheese, and highly acidic foods, for example, pineapples
  • A minor injury that may occur due to rough brushing of teeth, acidic or spicy foods, or due to an accidental cheek bite
  • Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria, is also known to cause peptic ulcers
  • Hormonal changes during menstruation
  • HIV/AIDS, which suppresses or weakens the immune system

Risk Factors of Mouth Sores

  • Irregular food habits leading to multivitamin deficiency
  • Sharp tooth
  • Females are at an increased risk of developing sores
  • The family history of this disorder has been reported in about one-third of the affected people


  • Bacterial infection
  • Inflammation of the mouth
  • Tooth decay
  • Dry mouth
  • Bleeding


  • Avoid smoking
  • Do not take the stress
  • Avoid injury to the mouth caused by hard toothbrush, hard foods, braces, or dentures
  • Eat a well-balanced diet rich in zinc, vitamin B-12, iron or folate (folic acid)
  • Avoid foods that irritate the inner lining of the mouth
  • Drink plenty of water


Management of oral sores is done with supplements and topical application of gels and pastes.

  • Medicines:
    • Zinc, Riboflavin, Iron or Folate (folic acid)
    • Oral gels help to reduce the pain and irritation of an affected area

Points to Remember

  • Avoid spicy and salty foods, hot beverages and foods, and citrus fruits
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Gargle with cool water or salt water
  • Eating fruit-flavored ice pops are beneficial if you have a mouth burn
  • Take pain relievers such as acetaminophen

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve had oral sores a few times and those times weren’t pleasant. Like you said, the sore makes it difficult to eat.

    I can’t remember what brought mine about, but like you pointed out, they cleared within a few days. To get relief though, I did a salt water gargle and that helped a lot.

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