The colder winter months bring a range of different ailments to the fore, from colds and flu to the possibility of more serious complaints for those already in a fragile state of health.
One of the most common things that can trouble any of us is a mouth ulcer. Not only can they be uncomfortable and painful, but mouth ulcers can also be a stubborn problem to remedy.
So what are the best ways to prevent getting a mouth ulcer and how should you treat one if it does appear?
A mouth ulcer is a round or oval sore that forms in the mouth, often on the inside of the cheeks. They can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful depending on their location and how inflamed they become.
Although having a mouth ulcer is an unpleasant experience, especially during eating or drinking, they are - for the vast majority of people - perfectly harmless.
Most mouth ulcers usually clear up by themselves within a couple of weeks as the body's natural healing systems get to work. You only need to see a doctor if the ulcer gets worse or lasts for longer than around three weeks.
If your ulcer hasn’t healed or has worsened after this time, you might need to contact your GP. Benenden health members can also contact the 24/7 GP advice line and may be treated at a hospital with great facilities, such as the Nuffield Wessex Hospital.
Mouth ulcers, also sometimes known as aphthous ulcers, are very common and almost all of us will have at least one during their lifetime.
Women and young adults are particularly susceptible for the complaint and some people suffer from recurrent mouth ulcers. These can be different from the more normal one-off mouth ulcer and may also require medical treatment to resolve.
If you have a mouth ulcer, the first thing to remember is that they can't be passed from person to person by kissing or sharing drinking glasses, plates or cutlery.
As they usually clear up by themselves, treatment takes the form of pain relief and there are plenty of over the counter remedies which your chemist will be able to advise you on. For more severe cases, medical attention and stronger treatments may be required.