Mouth ulcers are a classic feature of lupus and are one of the defining criteria of the disease. They typically occur due to a reduction in salivary flow. Mouth ulcers may indicate a flare-up or be the first sign of the condition.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune condition. This term describes when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the
In this article, we will discuss why some people with lupus may get mouth ulcers.
Mouth ulcers are a classic feature of lupus and are on the list of criteria for SLE set by the American College of Rheumatology. Mouth ulcers typically occur during a lupus flare and may be associated with other lupus symptoms, such as joint pain, rash, and hair loss.
In addition to a lupus flare, other factors that can trigger mouth sores include:
- periods of stress
- certain medications
- injury or irritation in the mouth
- underlying vitamin or iron deficiencies
According to Lupus UK, oral lesions, such as mouth ulcers, typically improve when managing the condition, and their recurrence is often a sign of a new flare-up.
Lupus UK also advises that oral dryness in lupus may be related to Sjögren’s disease. This is another autoimmune condition that is often associated with lupus.
Health experts, such as a doctor or dentist, may suggest the following medications:
- steroid tablets, such as prednisolone
- antimalarials, such as hydroxychloroquine
- anesthetic, such as benzocaine
Additionally, a healthcare professional may also recommend over-the-counter treatments to help speed up healing, prevent infection, or reduce pain. These can include:
- antimicrobial mouthwash
- a painkilling mouthwash, gel, or spray
- corticosteroid lozenges
- drinking alcohol
- using mouth rinses containing alcohol
- drinking caffeinated beverages
A person may also consider chewing gum or using salivary stimulants to help encourage salivary flow and address dry mouth.
Other prevention tips may include:
- avoiding foods that may trigger or worsen symptoms
- talking with a doctor about changing medications that are known to cause ulcers
- maintaining dental hygiene and regular dental appointments
- avoiding triggers known to cause outbreaks in the past
Mouth ulcers may be one of the first signs of lupus. Diagnosing lupus can be
For individuals with a diagnosis of lupus, mouth ulcers may be a sign of a flare-up, which could require medical treatment. A person may wish to contact their doctor if their mouth sore lasts longer than 3 weeks or becomes very painful.
Mouth ulcers are a common symptom of lupus. They can indicate a flare-up or be the first sign of lupus in an individual without a diagnosis.
When the condition is active, the widespread inflammation may manifest as mouth sores. It can also cause dry mouth, which can contribute to oral ulcers. Other factors, such as certain medications, can also cause mouth sores.
If a person notices mouth sores, in addition to other symptoms of lupus, it is advisable that they seek medical help. If the sores do not heal or cause severe pain, medical assistance may be necessary. While many mouth sores naturally resolve, a doctor may suggest over-the-counter creams or gels or prescribe medication.