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Mouth ulcer won't go away; health focus.

Byline: Dr Mirlam Stoppard


A painful, roundish ulcer that's pale yellow on the side of your cheek, edge of your tongue or in front of your teeth.

A very painful ulcer with a yellow crater, often surrounded by intense redness.

An ulcer that keeps getting bigger, may have a raised edge and lasts for longer than three weeks.


A traumatic ulcer. This is caused by injury, perhaps from a sharp edge of a tooth, braces, badly fitting dentures or a bump from a toothbrush, or if you accidentally bite your tongue or cheek while eating.

An aphthous ulcer. These are very common, totally harmless and can run in families. They're often linked to stress but no one really knows the cause. They nearly always get better in 10 to 14 days.

A stubborn infection or it could be an early sign of mouth cancer. This used to be rare but is getting more common among those who smoke and drink alcohol.


Swirl your mouth with a teaspoon of salt in warm water or an antibacterial mouthwash and use an anaesthetic gel. See your GP if it gets more inflamed or your dentist if it's caused by a sharp tooth or dentures.

Local anaesthetic gels, available from pharmacies, will ease the pain. An antiseptic mouthwash will keep them clean. They may also be a sign of iron or B12 deficiency so see your GP.

Get it checked out by your GP as soon as possible.

Email your health questions to miriam@
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 12, 2012
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