Learn more about mouth ulcer: overview
Mouth ulcers are common and should clear up on their own within a week or 2. They're rarely a sign of anything serious, but may be uncomfortable to live with.
Mouth ulcers need time to heal and there's no quick fix.
Avoiding things that irritate your mouth ulcer should help:
- speed up the healing process
- reduce pain
- reduce the chance of it returning
- use a soft-bristled toothbrush
- drink cool drinks through a straw
- eat softer foods
- get regular dental check-ups
- eat a healthy, balanced diet
- do not eat very spicy, salty or acidic food
- do not eat rough, crunchy food, such as toast or crisps
- do not drink very hot or acidic drinks, such as fruit juice
- do not use chewing gum
- do not use toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulphate
A pharmacist can help with mouth ulcers
A pharmacist can recommend a treatment to speed up healing, prevent infection or reduce pain, such as:
- antimicrobial mouthwash
- a painkilling mouthwash, gel or spray
- corticosteroid lozenges
You can buy these without a prescription, but they may not always work.
See a dentist or GP if your mouth ulcer:
- lasts longer than 3 weeks
- keeps coming back
- becomes more painful and red – this may be a sign of an infection
Although most mouth ulcers are harmless, a long-lasting mouth ulcer is sometimes a sign of mouth cancer. It's best to get it checked.
Your GP or dentist may prescribe stronger medication to treat severe, recurrent or infected mouth ulcers.