Mouth ulcers are a common condition that occur as painful sores on the lips, cheeks, tongue or gums. They usually go away without treatment within a couple of weeks. Yet, if you’re suffering with these painful sores then that can seem an awful long time. A 2014 study found that a simple herbal remedy rapidly increased the speed of healing of mouth ulcers within a couple of days.
What are mouth ulcers?
The most common mouth ulcers are called recurrent aphthous stomatitis. These round or oval, shallow ulcerations can be white, red, yellow or grey. They may occur as a single lesion, but can also spread or grow and form several ulcers.
While these ulcers are not contagious it is possible that some people are more susceptible to having them. Suggesting a genetic or family trait. They are also linked to autoimmune conditions such as coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease and thyroid autoimmunity.
We also know that certain factors like nutritional deficiencies of iron, folate or vitamin B12 can trigger flare-ups. As can stress or anxiety. Or use of certain medications such as NSAIDs or beta-blockers. Some people react to foods such as wheat, coffee or chocolate. Certain kinds of toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulphate are an issue for some.
So, while there may be treatments that help to relieve the symptoms, I recommend finding the underlying causes to aid long term prevention.
Treatment of mouth ulcers
Having said that there are several conventional treatments that are available. These are mainly topical analgesics, steroids or antimicrobials. Plus, this study found that chamomile tincture was an effective herbal remedy for mouth ulcers.
Participants with aphthous stomatitis took part in the study. Using either a chamomile mouth rinse or a placebo control mouth rinse, three times a day.
Chamomile is a traditional herbal remedy with a wide variety of uses. It has notable anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antibacterial and analgesic properties.
In the study scientists measured the number and size of mouth ulcers. They also asked people in each group to rate their symptoms of pain and burning as the treatment went along.
The scientists said their results showed chamomile was an effective treatment for mouth ulcers. Reducing the signs and symptoms, even within the first two days of treatment. They said chamomile significantly increased the rate of healing of the ulcers. In fact, in the chamomile group when all the ulcers had healed, 68% of lesions in the control group were still present.
The procedure used in the study was as follows:
- rinse the mouth with water
- then swish with ten drops of chamomile tincture in water, for three minutes, three times a day
- no eating for 30 minutes after using the mouth rinse
Mouth ulcers are usually safe to treat at home. However, if after three weeks you still have them you should seek medical advice to rule out other conditions.