Treatment is unnecessary for most mouth ulcers, but if they cause pain, rinsing the mouth with a solution of saltwater and baking soda can relieve discomfort, according to Healthline. Some topical remedies for mouth ulcers include over-the-counter ointments, baking soda paste, damp tea bags, ice or milk of magnesia.
Doctors may also recommend oral steroids, steroid-based mouthwashes or nutritional supplements when patients have a high recurrence of mouth ulcers or the condition causes severe pain, Healthline states. Avoiding spicy and irritating foods, such as nuts and acidic fruits, and consuming more nonacidic foods can reduce the risk of developing or exacerbating ulcers. If the discomfort is caused by orthodontic devices, such as braces, doctors can provide protective wax to cover sharp edges.
Physicians can typically diagnose most mouth ulcers with a physical examination but may order blood tests or biopsies if they suspect a more serious health problem, according to MedlinePlus. Persistent or recurrent mouth ulcers are linked to conditions such as gingivostomatitis, oral cancer and oral thrush, and patients should consult a medical professional when these sores last more than three weeks. Infected ulcers put sufferers at risk of developing abscesses or spreading contagions to other people. Strong oral hygiene, including routine brushing, flossing and dental checkups, reduces the risk of mouth ulcers.