Ayurvedic treatment for Mouth Ulcers

Mouth Ulcers

Know More on Oral Care

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Mouth Ulcers Ayurvedic treatment

Painful sores in the mouth that usually appear on the inside of the cheek or the tongue, lips or the gums are termed as mouth ulcers. Mouth ulcers can be quite painful while eating, drinking or brushing teeth. Moth ulcers occur occasionally and are usually harmless and clear up on their own. Mouth ulcers lasting for 3 weeks or more may need medical attention. Up to 1 in 5 people get recurrent mouth ulcers.1

The inflamed conditions of the mouth in Ayurveda are classified under Mukha paaka. Improper diet and deeds causes imbalance of the pitta which in turn aggravates the symptoms associated with mouth ulcers. 2

Causes

Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers may be caused by the following factors:3

  • Excessive intake of Pitta aggravating foods and spices – such as black pepper, Long pepper, ginger, chilli, etc
  • Mental stress
  • Tissue injury caused by external insult or by dental appliances, ill-fitting braces, etc
  • Citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, lemons, figs and pineapples
  • Low immune system, exposing the mouth to bacterial and viral infections
  • Deficiency of Vitamin B 12, Zinc, Folic acid and Iron.
  • Diseases such as Gastritis, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis

Symptoms

Mouth Ulcers

Signs of minor ulcers include sores are small oval or circular ulcers that heal within one to two weeks with without any scarring.

Signs of major ulcers include sores that are larger and deeper than minor ones. These sores have irregular edges and may take up to six weeks to heal. There may be long-term scarring in major mouth ulcers.

Medical attention should be sought in case of ulcers with the following symptoms: 

  • Remarkably large, mouth ulcers
  • Appearance of new mouth ulcers before the old ones have healed
  • Sores that persist more than three weeks
  • Painless sores
  • Pain that does not improve with over-the-counter or natural medicines
  • Mouth ulcers extending to the lips
  • Severe problems eating and drinking
  • High fever or diarrhoea in presence of the sores

Diagnosis

Mouth Ulcers

Doctors generally diagnose mouth ulcers through a visual exam. Doctor may recommend tests for other medical conditions, in case the mouth ulcers occur frequently.5

Management

Mouth Ulcers

Oral ulcers are explained as Mukhapaka in Ayurveda. Mukha refers to mouth and paka means maturation, suppuration or ulceration. In Ayurvedic literature, detailed descriptions of treatment measures are available which include both internal as well as external interventions. Shodhana (purificatory therapy) is recommended in case of severe or chronic mouth ulcers. People with pitta prakriti are predisposed to mouth ulcers.2-3 They are advised to follow below advice

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Avoid hot or spicy food, tea, coffee, alcohol and tobacco
  • Avoid sour things including curd and pickles
  • Papaya and soorana kanda (jami-kanda) are very useful in this condition
  • Have light sweet food frequently
  • Include ghee, raisins, cucumber, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, almond, dates in diet.
  • Do not skip food.

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Use an umbrella while going outside
  • If the ulcers overlap with feeling run down, check if diet is well balanced and possibly take more rest
  • Gently rub a small ice cube over the spot or rinse your mouth with ice-cold water, if the mouth ulcer is causing a lot of pain.
  • Make it a point to rinse your mouth with a little salt water to prevent the ulcerated area from getting infected.
  • Mouth ulcers are most commonly associated with constipation. In case of such a situation, use of a mild laxative such as Triphala Churna which will give some relief
  • Licorice (mulethi) is proved to be beneficial in the treatment of oral ulcers. Chew on a piece of it. It refreshes the mouth and cleanses the teeth, arresting tooth decay. It heals the sores in the mouth.
  • Intermittently, gargle using with hot and cold water

FAQS

Mouth Ulcers
  1. How Can Toothaches Be Prevented?

Ayurveda suggests simple diet and lifestyle changes to prevent toothaches. They are as follows:

Diet

  • Sticky substance which may adhere to the teeth should be avoided
  • Food containing sugar and other sweets should be avoided
  • Fruits like guavas, oranges, pomegranates and other fruits of the citrus family are beneficial as they contain vitamin C which strengthens gums
  • Amla must form the part of the diet since it contains the largest amount of vitamin C and is easily available

Lifestyle

  • Maintain a good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene practices consist of brushing regularly and frequent rinsing of the mouth
  • Make a habit of rinsing the mouth after every meal
  • Use natural oils and extracts from clove oil for toothache. Dab a cotton ball in clove oil on the affected tooth and gently bite down. The natural properties of clove oil can help relieve tooth pain and prevent future cavities and bad breath
  • Using saline water to rinse the mouth after meals helps in curing toothache and even other tooth-related problems
  • Mix equal amounts of pepper, salt and few drops of water to form a paste. Apply this paste on the affected area to relieve toothache
  1. What causes teeth to hurt?

Some of the common causes of toothache includes:

  • Dental decay
  • Dental cavities
  • Swelling of the pulp
  • Tooth infection
  • Broken tooth
  • Exposed tooth root
  • Crack in the tooth
  • Consumption of food rich in carbohydrates and sugar like colas, candies, cakes, etc
  • Consuming hot and cold food together
  • Gum disease
  1. What is plaque?

Plaque is the sticky film or mass of bacteria that grows on the surface of the teeth. It is most noticeable when teeth are not brushed and makes teeth feel rough/fuzzy to the tongue.

When food containing carbohydrates and sugars such as soft drinks, raisins, cakes, or candy are frequently left on the teeth, it leads to the development of plaque. Mouth is full of bacteria which thrive on these food particles producing acids. These acids destroy tooth enamel over a period of time resulting in tooth decay. The development of plaque on the tooth under gums may cause breakdown of the supporting bone present underneath.

In Ayurvedic literature, dental conditions are referred as Danta sharkara, since the appearance of plaque is similar to the sugar coating over the teeth with a granular shape. It is a disease characterized by, hardened accumulation of mala on tooth surface which destroys the teeth and its surrounding structures and is accompanied by bad odour. Vitiated vata takes the form of thick adherence like the thick sugar syrup causing the manifestation of Danta sharkara.

  1. How do I keep my teeth and gums healthy?

Following tips can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy

  • Avoid sugar rich food, hard food, non-vegetarian diet food which will cause the built up of tartar and worsen the problems of dental plaques.
  • Green tea, intake of easily digestible and foods with less fat and carbohydrate prevent the formation of tartar.
  • Consume plenty of raw vegetables
  • Regularly practicing flossing, proper tooth brushing, oral rinsing and regular oil pulling helps to get rid of the plaque efficiently and further prevents the formation of tartar
  • Herbs such as nutmeg (Jatiphala), Triphala (Hareetaki, Vibheetaki and Amalaki) and Saindhava lavana can be made into a fine powder and rubbed well to the teeth. This helps to clear the tartar
  • A mixture of ashes of ginger, long pepper, black pepper and salt can be used for brushing the teeth. Turmeric can be added to this mixture in case of bleeding gums
  1. Can side effects of medications cause dry mouth?

The causes of dry mouth can be attributed to the following:

  • Certain medications
  • Aging
  • A blocked nose
  • Stress
  • Cancer therapy
  • Nerve damage
  • Other health conditions such as immune disease (Sjogren's syndrome) or HIV/AIDS.
  • Tobacco use
  • Drug abuse
  1. What types of foods and beverages should I avoid if I have dry mouth?

Avoid spicy foods and avoid excess coffee, tea, sodas and alcoholic drinks

  1. What’s causing my sore throat?

Sore throat may be caused by the following:

  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Smoking
  • Shouting
  • Allergies
  1. What can I do to make my throat feel better?

Ayurveda recommends the following:

  • Drink plenty of warm fluids, such as teas, soup, and water
  • Hot lemon and honey, honey and cidar vinegar, herbal teas, ginger juice or carrot and apple juice, elderberry juice, blackcurrent tea or juice are all effective during infection which also improve immunity and helps relieving sore throat
  • Daily supplements of teaspoon of cod liver oil, 100 mg vitamin C tablets every 2-3 hours or 2 garlic capsules every two hours can be given until the patient is well again
  • Give plenty of rest to your throat and try not to talk
  • Avoid day sleep since it may lead to Kapha build-up, leading to worsening according to Ayurveda
  • Avoid exposure to cold breeze, water etc.
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene
  • Gargle every few hours using a solution of quarter teaspoonful of common salt or yavakshaara dissolved in half a glass of warm water or decoction prepared from the bark of Acacia (Babul) tree
  1. Is triphala churna an effective remedy for the treatment of mouth ulcers?

Yes, as mouth ulcers are most commonly associated with constipation.  In case of such a situation, use of a mild laxative such as Triphala choorna is advised which will give some relief.

  1. Are there other steps I can take to prevent tooth cavities?

Ayurveda recommends few tips as follows:

  • Decrease intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Consume foods that are rich sources of calcium
  • Make a mixture of turmeric, salt and mustard oil to make a paste and rub it on teeth and gums
  • Consume plenty of raw vegetables
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene to keep your teeth and gums clean.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive drinking since they may cause dental problems
  • Chewing on fresh herbal sticks in the morning as well as after every meal to prevent diseases. These herb sticks should be either ‘kashaya’ (astringent), ‘katu (acrid), or ‘tikta’ (bitter) in taste. The method of using these sticks is to crush one of its end, chew it, and eat it slowly. The neem (margosa or the Azadiraxhta indica), liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), miswak (miswaak, siwak, sewak) etc. are some examples of herbal sticks
  • Use of an herbal tooth powder madeup from neem powder and salt

References

Mouth Ulcers
  1. Mouth ulcers: Symptoms, treatment and prevention. Available at:http://www.webmd.boots.com/oral-health/guide/mouth-ulcers. Accessed on: 29 August 2016.
  2. Manohar M. Ayurveda for all. V&S Publishers; 2012 Apr 5.
  3. Mouth Ulcers: Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Remedies, Tips. Available at: http://easyayurveda.com/2015/10/07/mouth-ulcers/. Accessed on: 29 August 2016
  4. Natural Home Remedies for Mouth Ulcers. Available at: http://www.myhealthtips.in/2013/07/natural-home-remedies-for-mouth-ulcers.html. Accessed on: 29 August 2016.
  5. What causes mouth ulcers? Available at: http://www.healthline.com/symptom/mouth-ulcers. Accessed on: 29 Aug. 16
  6. Home Remedies for mouth ulcer. Available at: http://www.medindia.net/homeremedies/mouthulcers.asp. Accessed on: 29 August 2016.
  7. Home remedies for mouth ulcers. Available at: http://ayurvedichomeremedy.in/home-remedies-for-mouth-ulcers/. Accessed on: 29 August 2016.

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