Mouth Sores

What are mouth sores?

Sometimes you might have oral canker sores, also called apthous ulcers, inside your mouth on the inner lining of your cheeks or lips. Mouth sores are small, shallow, round- to oval-shaped, and painful.

Occasional canker sores are normal. They generally heal in about two weeks, but can last as long as six weeks. They are more common in Crohn’s disease (10% of patients have these) than ulcerative colitis (4%).

Back to top

Causes of mouth sores in IBD

The causes of mouth sores in IBD are not clear. They do tend to occur during times of IBD inflammation (active disease) and increased stress.

They could also be related to deficiencies, such as low B12, iron, folate and zinc levels in the blood. Certain food products, like spices, could also cause these ulcers. 

Back to top

Strategies to manage mouth sores

If you are experiencing mouth sores, you can try:
  • Salt water rinses

  • Over-the-counter rinses

  • Topical anesthetics, such as xylocaine

  • Steroid elixirs (liquids) or topical steroids

  • Systemic steroids (pills) for more severe mouth sores or sores that will not go away

  • Prescription steroid gels

  • Rarely, topical antibiotics

  • ​Getting tested for nutritional deficiencies and take supplements to counter them

  • Avoiding spicy, salty, and acidic foods

  • Treating your IBD inflammation

Back to top

In This Section

Back to IBD Journey