Got a Mouth Ulcer? Don’t Worry, Be Healing!

Published on Oct 02, 2019


Ouch! Lots of people get mouth Ulcers. The word, ‘ulcer’ seems big & scary, but there’s help for what so many people will say, “I’ve got this this little irritating sore, right on the side of my cheek”. Mouth ulcers happen to more people than most think. In fact, recurrent mouth ulcers occur in approximately 20 – 40% of the U.S. population. This happens mostly to people who have a decreased thickness in the lining of their mouths are more prone to sores or ulcers. So, the thinner lining of what is called, oral mucosa (lining of the mouth), is genetically related, so if mom or dad or grandparents have had problems, kids may have an increase chance of dealing with regular mouth ulcers as well. Ulcer duration can range from 2 days to 6 weeks, with most lasting between 7 – 10 days. These ulcers can occur as single or multiple lesions and do not appear on the lips or gum directly around the teeth, thank goodness. But what IS a mouth ulcer? Simply a mouth ulcer is an erosion or thinning of the lining of the cheek. Yes, that bites. Yes, it hurts!

Got a Mouth Ulcer? Don’t Worry, Be Healing!

Why and What:

The most common reason mouth ulcers appear are trauma and exposure to certain foods, or by trying a new toothpaste, especially those containing sodium lauryl sulphate. But, the biggest percentage of people who do experience mouth ulcers on a regular basis, trauma is most likely to be a common cause for their development. This ‘trauma’ can be an external hit or blow from things like sports, or recreational activities, kids-play (if you’re a kid OR adult lol), or accidentally biting your cheek (hate that!). But, can also be related to an internal trauma, such as a toothbrush or a habit of biting the inside of the cheek from nervousness or anxiety. And now, for those who wear braces, this is where we’re connecting the Harp Flosser team once again to highlighting all we can to support a healthy braces life: Occasionally, for those who wear braces, a bracket may come loose, or a wire may poke the inside of the cheek, causing a sore, or ulcerated area. Or, just by rubbing inside of the mouth/cheeks over the braces during an adjustment period for someone who just got them.

For individuals who get mouth ulcers more frequently, a simple change of toothpaste can cause the lesions to occur. Look out for the ingredients such as we stated, sodium lauryl sulphate.

Certain foods are also a known trigger for mouth ulcers, the most common irritants being:

  • Chocolate (I know, right??)
  • Coffee
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Strawberries
  • Cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Spicy Seasonings / Foods
  • Citrus / Acidic Fruits
  • Wheat Flour
  • Super hot beverages


The great news is mouth ulcers are usually harmless, although super painful to just irritating. Treatment for mouth ulcers focuses on pain over-the-counter- pain control: Orabase, Colgate Total, and Canker Cover are some of the most common ointments used to treat mouth ulcers. A common holistic approach is to use honey. A great way to find even the latest products is to ask your local pharmacist as well.  All of these treatments can be used on an as-needed basis. There’s also prescription-coating agents for severe outbreaks, but in most cases, mouth ulcers are be treated with over-the-counter ointments and prevention with nixing or limiting certain foods. Never put off any question to your orthodontist or health care professional if there’s recurring problems or even just one bad painful sore. There’s so much help today to ensure comfort with and without braces and for those who have this thinning gene in the family. We like to say, those who comfort others, stay together. We know, because here at the Harp Headquarters where we share all kinds of tips and good family fun, we’ve helped each other with all kinds of mouth related questions, since we’re always talking  about people’s mouths. If you’ve got any questions for us, please reach out! We care about people as much as we do about people and kids flossing braces easy!

Have a Question for Dr. Larry Caldwell, Inventor of The Harp Flosser and Fast & Easy Flossing? We enjoy hearing and learning from you too!  Call us at 800-495-2783 or

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