How to Treat Mouth Sores Caused By Dry Mouth?

Mouth sores are painful, take a long time to go away and get in the way of being able to enjoy food. The 20% of the population that experiences them wishes there was a cure and even though there isn't at this time, there are some things you can do to help. 

Before I discuss further, it is important to distinguish between the two common sores which occur in the oral cavity. 

First are cold sores which are caused by a virus. They usually appear at first as a cluster of small blisters which then progress into a larger sore on the lip. They are contagious and can be treated with anti-viral medications. 

Second are canker sores (aka aphthous stomatitis) which are ulcers in the oral cavity that usually occur on the cheeks, tongue, roof of the mouth.  The cause of mouth sores ranges from nutritional deficiencies, stress, hormonal changes to local trauma, allergies or genetics. Patients with dry mouth are more susceptible to getting these sores due to increased risk of trauma to the oral tissues and lack of saliva which usually helps with cleansing the sore and helping with the healing process.  We will focus on canker sores in this article. 

How to manage mouth ulcers?

Recurring (happening often) mouth ulcers may be a sign of underlying medical conditions including gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn's Disease, Celiac Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Vitamin B-12, Folic Acid, and Iron Deficiencies, Cyclic Neutropenia and others. Speak to your doctor about your recurring mouth ulcers.  

Get rid of the source of irritation (for example: tobacco, alcohol, spicy foods, carbonated drinks) and make sure you follow proper oral hygiene.

Click here to watch my video on proper Flossing and Brushing Techniques. 

Rinse oral cavity with alcohol-free mouthwash. You can use Orajel gel and Orajel alcohol-free antiseptic mouth-sore rinse for relief. 

Speak to your dentist if prescription mouth washes are appropriate for you such as Chlorhexidine 0.12%; Elixir containing diphenyldramine (Benadryl) and or viscous Lidocaine. Discuss prescription anti-inflammatory medications. 

Soft diet rich in Vitamin B-12, Folic Acid, and Iron. If needed consider taking Vitamin B-12, Folic Acid, and Iron supplements. 

Make sure you stay hydrated (at least 2 L per day). 

Use humidifier or vaporizer at night. 

For more information on Dry Mouth and its management follow the links below: 

Start with the Free Dry Mouth eBook: 

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Join the Dry Mouth Community on Facebook: 

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Dr. Anna Glinianska

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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