What Causes Mouth Ulcers?

Regardless if it’s the size of a grain of rice or a pencil eraser, a mouth ulcer is very difficult to ignore. Despite its miniscule size, it hurts your mouth. It hurts when you speak. It hurts when you drink. It hurts when you eat.

Medically referred to as aphthous stomatitis, it is a small ovoid ulcer that develops on the inner surfaces of the mouth, most commonly on the lips, on the inner linings of the cheeks, and even on the surfaces of the throat.


They usually start to develop during childhood or adolescence. Experts have yet to determine the exact cause. Among the most popular suspects include:

• Trauma that results from ill-fitting dentures, fractured teeth, and cracked fillings
• Smoking cessation
• Menstruation
• Food allergy
• Iron, folate, and vitamin B-12 deficiency
• Coeliac disease
• HIV infection
• Neumann’s bipolar aphtosis
• Behcet’s syndrome


Ulcers and cold sores are often confused with each other. But unlike cold sores, ulcers are not contagious. The simplest way of telling one apart from the other is by trying to locate the area of the lesion. Ulcers develop on the inner surfaces of the mouth. Cold sores, on the other hand, develop outside the mouth, most commonly on areas under the nose or on the surrounding areas of the chin.

Ulcers are categorised into three main types:

  • Minor Sores. Definitely the most common type, minor sores make for approximately 80% of all cases. Minor sores grow anywhere from 3 to 10 millimeters, and take up 2 weeks to heal.
  • Major Sores. Accounting for approximately 10% of cases, major sores develop within irregularly-shaped boarders that grow up to 10 millimeters. Major sores take months to heal completely.
  • Herpetiform Sores. Also accounting for 10% of cases, herpetiform sores consist of multiples small sores (2-3 mm) that grow around the same area at the same time. It is not unheard of for herpetiform sores to consist of a hundred small sores.

Dentist Brisbane

Ulcers often go away on their own. However, for cases that persist over three weeks, the safest option is to consult with your local Dentist In Brisbane. Winner of the People’s Choice Awards in 2013, Dental On Park houses a team of expert Brisbane dentists who provide gentle and comprehensive dental care.

Our dental clinic at Park Road, Milton is open and ready to accept patients from Brisbane, Milton and all other surrounding areas like Bardon Indooropilly, Kenmore, Auchenflower Toowong, St. Lucia, Southbank, West End, and Brisbane CBD. Book your first appointment with Dental On Park. Call us on (07) 3369 8300 or book your appointment online and claim your FREE dental consultation.

Sources: http://exodontia.info/files/ABC_of_Oral_Ulcers.pdf http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcp054630