Saturday, December 10

Recurring ulcers on the tongue: when do they hide a serious illness?

It is common for our oral health to be threatened by various pathologies. One of the most common is canker sores. A sore tongue is caused, in most cases, by something visible like sores, a disease as common as it is annoying.

Sores in the mouth, why do they appear?

Know more

These canker sores appear in the mouth as small lesions with a appearance similar to that of a burn. In most cases they come out in the softer tissues, such as the inside of the lips, tongue and gums.

They could affect both men and women, although they are more prone to contracting them. As reported by the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (semFYC), present at any age, especially between 10 and 40 years.

What are and how are tongue sores

Canker sores or ulcers are small, shallow lesions that form in the soft tissues of the mouth. They do not usually appear on the surface of the lips (as cold sores do) and are not contagious. But they are annoying and painful and can cause pain and make swallowing and eating difficult.

Most sores have a round or oval shape, with a white or yellow center and a red border. They are usually classified according to their size and shape. Those that measure up to 10 millimeters in diameter are the smallest and the largest exceed 10 millimeters.

They can form one or several at the same time. In some cases, we may feel a tingling or burning sensation a day or two before the sores appear.

They can appear three or four times a year and last up to a week. The pain subsides in seven to 10 days and usually goes away in one to two weeks without treatment. Ulcers larger than one centimeter, however, can take up to three to four weeks to heal.

Why do sores appear on the tongue?

It’s not clear why some people are more prone to canker sores than others. In fact, in 70% of cases the cause is unknown of canker sores, according to the Official College of Pharmacists of Madrid (COFM).

Even so, some factors have been described that can help develop these ulcers:

  • Stress or anxiety.
  • Hormonal changes.
  • Any injury or damage to the mouth, such as sharp teeth, braces, or dentures.
  • Reaction to certain foods such as acids.
  • Reaction to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Menstrual periods.

Most canker sores heal on their own in one to two weeks. But if they don’t and last longer, or keep coming back, it’s important consult with the doctor because it could be a sign of a bigger problem.

In the case of more complex canker sores, the reasons go further and are explained by conditions of the immune system:

  • Lupus
  • Behcet’s disease
  • Celiac Disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • AIDS

If the ulcers persist for more than two weeks and appear repeatedly, it is important to consult your doctor because a blood test may be necessary to rule out a nutritional deficiency of vitamin C (scurvy), vitamin B12, folic acid or iron or an inflammatory condition.

How are sores on the tongue treated?

The sores, although they are usually harmless and heal on their own, it is important to control them with some of these treatment options:

  • Avoid spicy and acidic foods, as well as nuts, pineapple, some cheeses, spices, alcohol and vinegar.
  • Choose a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Follow good oral hygiene habits.
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol.
  • Apply antiseptic gel on the sore.
  • Use an alcohol-free mouthwash twice a day.
  • In some cases the doctor may prescribe immunosuppressive drugs.

Some home remedies will help us cure these sores:

  • Warm salt water gargle: salt has an analgesic and healing power that helps to reduce the sore and soothe the pain.
  • Warm chamomile rinse: Although it is less aggressive than salt, it also has a healing, anti-inflammatory and analgesic capacity.
  • apply ice: Although it is a remedy that can help us to calm the pain, we must be careful because, applied in excess, it can cause burns.

Over-the-counter medications indicated to treat canker sores include local anesthetics to reduce tenderness; antiseptics; topical anti-inflammatories such as corticosteroids to reduce inflammation; and pain relievers to reduce pain.

The semFYC advises consulting with the doctor in the following cases:

  • If the ulcer is larger than one centimeter.
  • If it prevents us from eating normally.
  • If it lasts more than two weeks.
  • If the symptoms of canker sores persist or worsen.
  • If they reappear more than three times a year.
  • If we have fever, diarrhea, headache or skin rash.

If you don’t want to miss any of our articles, subscribe to our newsletters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *