The human mouth is a sensitive part of the body. We might not pay much attention to it beyond teeth and gum health, but a lot is going on there. If you are experiencing pain in the roof of your mouth, there are a few things to look into to determine what is causing the pain.
Some of them are to do with dental hygiene, while others are about long-term medical problems. Here’s the low down on those problems and how to fix them.
9 Major Reasons Why the Roof of Your Mouth Hurts
There are more than a few reasons why the roof of your mouth might be hurting. Some of them are quite common, while the others are quite rare. You need to know what is causing the pain to know whether you should rush to the doctor or take care of it with some effective home remedies.
Many of the problems have the same solutions, and we will go through them too in this post. Let’s get started with the issues first.
1. Sores in the Mouth
One of the most common reasons why the roof of your mouth might hurt when you are eating is because you have sores in your mouth. However, injuries are also a possible reason, and we will get to that aspect in a minute.
Common reasons like cold sores and canker sores usually appear on the lips, cheeks, and gums. However, these can also occur on the mouth’s roof and cause pain. You might even see blisters in some cases.
2. Viral Infections
Sores like squamous cell papilloma qualify as a reason for this kind of pain. It is a condition where there is a benign and non-cancerous growth in your mouth. This is usually present in the tissue cells that form the skin’s surface in the mouth.
These cells are also present in the lining of some hollow organs, along with the digestive and respiratory tracts in the human body. When you have squamous cell papilloma, the roof of your mouth could be swollen.
This is the result of a viral infection called human papillomavirus or HPV. While it is benign and non-cancerous, it is unwise to ignore this condition. You might not always experience pain, but this condition must be treated as soon as possible once it is diagnosed. In some cases, surgery might be required to extract the mass.
3. Yeast Infections
Infections like oral thrush could be why the roof of your mouth hurts when you eat. This is common in infants, the immunocompromised, and senior citizens. Along with pain, you might also notice redness on the surface of the tissues in the mouth.
Sometimes, you will see white residue too. And if you get rid of this thin layer, you will see the redness underneath. Oral thrush can also lead to bad breath, which is a clue.
You can fix this problem by getting antifungal medication or steroid creams for home use daily. Taking probiotics and yogurt might also help, along with paying extra attention to oral hygiene on a daily basis. This is also an excellent time to change your toothbrush to ensure the infection does not come back.
4. Bacterial Infections
If your mouth hurts while eating, you may be experiencing a severe bout of strep throat. In this case, the soft palate of your mouth will hurt when you swallow.
You might want to open your mouth wide in front of a mirror and check for redness or whiteness around the tonsils. It might be that the infection has spread to the nearby tissues and is causing pain.
Strep throat can be treated with basic antibiotics. At this time, you must also change your toothbrush to get rid of the bacteria entirely. You should also rinse your mouth with salt water a couple of times during the day for relief. If strep throat is left untreated, it might lead to other severe infections like scarlet fever.
5. Trauma or Injury
Trauma or injury in the mouth could be a reason for swelling, which might cause the roof of your mouth to hurt. Usually, trauma to the mouth can be caused by eating food that might hurt the roof of the mouth, drinking or eating something hot, or suffering a scrape from a food item that is too sharp.
Another reason why the roof of your mouth might be swollen is dehydration. This is a lesser-known fact. But more often than not, it is a problem that can be easily solved. Dehydration can lead to dry mouth, which will then cause swelling in the mouth unless it is taken care of.
Dry mouth and dehydration might result from too much drinking (of alcohol of any kind), not drinking adequate water, perspiring too much (especially in hot weather or during workout sessions), being ill and even taking certain types of medications. Any and all of these reasons can cause an imbalance in the electrolytes in the body, which makes the person weak and might even cause muscle spasms.
7. Vaping or Smoking
Whenever you breathe in high temperatures, it changes the temperature of the oral tissue that forms the lining of the roof of the mouth. So, it should be no surprise that smoking and vaping are a part of this list.
When you breathe in tobacco, the white-colored tissues in the mouth get whiter, and you will also see red dots on them. This is called tobacco stomatitis.
A part of the roof of the mouth is the hard palate which extends from the middle to the back of the mouth. That’s the place smoke hits the mouth directly. This is true for all sorts of recreational drugs that involve inhaling.
You can fix this problem quite simply. As you would imagine, the first solution is to stop vaping or smoking. This will cut back on the amount of tobacco coming into contact with the hard palate of the mouth. But you must set these goals with a plan that is reasonable in its execution. Cold turkey doesn’t always work for everyone. And the pain in the roof of the mouth is a good excuse to get rid of the habit.
8. Mucus-Filled Lumpy Cyst
If you have a cyst in the mouth, you already have a problem. If that cyst fills up with mucus, it becomes lumpy and shows up on the roof of your mouth. This condition is called mucocele and can occur after a small injury.
While these are usually painless, if you are experiencing pain, you might have to wait for the cyst to burst so that the mucus is out. In severe cases, you might be able to get a doctor to drain it.
9. Other Medical Conditions
And finally, there are a few other medical conditions might cause pain in the roof of your mouth. This might come with swelling if you have viral hepatitis or oral cancer. The latter is not very common, but it is a possibility.
How to Prevent This Condition
There is a reason why they say, “prevention is better than cure” or “better safe than sorry”. And there are many different ways to prevent this condition from occurring.
- One is to make sure that your oral hygiene schedule is well planned and maintained. This will help avoid obvious triggers like bacterial, viral, and yeast infections.
- You must also remember not to put your hands in your mouth as often as possible. This is particularly applicable after you’ve been touching items like doorknobs which often tend to have germs on them. You must also take this precaution after interacting with someone who is sick. Make sure you wash your hands to be safe.
- Then, of course, you must keep away from the consumption of unhealthy substances like tobacco and alcohol.
- Make sure your diet is well balanced in terms of nutrition, and also see if you can avoid eating or drinking food items that are too hot or spicy.
How to Treat This Condition
But if you have failed in preventing it, here are a few things you can do to ease the pain in the roof of your mouth.
One of the most common reasons we experience pain in our mouths is inflammation. You must be able to identify what is causing it. That will help you treat it better.
Nevertheless, there are quite a few NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammation medications like Motrin and ibuprofen on the market, which can help reduce swelling in the mouth. Tylenol is also a good alternative to ibuprofen when dealing with pain relief.
Another good option when it comes to pain relief is to take antacids. This, however, is a solution if the problem is the result of a gastrointestinal disorder. You can mix it with the milk of magnesia, which creates a type of mouthwash that can provide pain relief temporarily.
Gargling with this and an antacid will form a coating on the tissues in the mouth and help ease the pain for a little while.
Salt Water Gargling
Speaking of gargling, this is an age-old home remedy for pain in the mouth. It solves more than one kind of problem and is cheap and convenient. You can take care of irritations and inflammations in the mouth quite easily and effectively.
From problems like strep throat to pain after surgery in the mouth, salt water gargling can relieve different kinds of swelling in the mouth. Add a teaspoon of salt to eight ounces of lukewarm water and stir until the salt is dissolved.
Quit Vaping or Smoking and Alcohol
When you are experiencing pain in your mouth, it is important to remember that tobacco particles play a critical role in slowing down the process of healing wounds. So, if you are experiencing pain because of trauma or injury, it is highly recommended that you stop vaping and smoking.
While you’re at it, you might also want to stay away from alcohol and also any mouthwash products that have alcohol listed as one of their ingredients.
Other Helpful Tips
Here are some other tips that will help you keep your mouth hygienic and free from pain.
- Make sure you are properly hydrated. This means drinking enough water on a daily basis. And a little extra when it is hot outside.
- Avoid foods that have a lot of acids, salts, and spices. The same applies to drinks and foods that are very cold. This might keep your mouth from experiencing scalding and burns. Yes, it happens with cool foods too.
- Stay away from tobacco and related products that can irritate the mouth, especially the areas experiencing pain.
- Keep your mouth free from germs by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing them. This way, you can keep the infections at bay.
- Try to take smaller bites when you eat and chew them well so that the palates that form the roof of your mouth don’t get hurt.
- Keep an eye out for stress because it can lead to mouth sores which will also cause pain in the roof of your mouth.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know how many problems can lead to pain in the roof of the mouth, you have probably also realized how easy it is to keep most of them under control. Luckily, it is also easy to solve quite a few of them with home remedies like salt water gargling and over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and Tylenol.
But it is always a good idea to stop the problem from occurring, which means you want to keep an eye on your oral hygiene schedule. You also don’t want to develop habits like smoking and drinking, which are bad for you beyond your mouth. If you take care of the basics, you should be fine.