Smoking cigarettes produce many toxic chemicals that can create miscellaneous expenses for a smoker. But strictly speaking about the mouth, smoking is responsible for mouth cancer. But a recently asked question,” can cigarette smoking be the cause of mouth ulcer, or quitting smoking is the cause ?” make smoking cigarettes good.
To answer this question, there was no such sophisticated research that concluded the reason how smoking and mouth ulcers can be correlated.
Short Answer to your Question, ” Can cigarette smoking cause mouth ulcer“
From various studies, there is no concluded evidence that can be related to smoking and mouth ulcer. So, we can say that, No, smoking may not cause mouth ulcer.
But here is an interesting catch, studies show that the person who quitting smoking may cause mouth ulcer, and this is the opposite of what I thought of. Many studies stand in support of smoking cigarettes. According to their concluded result, smokers are less likely to get mouth ulcer than the ex-smokers.
In this post, I will lead you, how the above statement will be possible, or how smoking, a killing habit, save smokers from mouth ulcer. I also demonstrate how these researchers conclude their results in support of smoking.
I also share my tips, home remedies and how you can avoid mouth ulcers in the smoke quitting journey.
What is Mouth Ulcer?
Mouth ulcer is defined as one or more painful sores due to the removal of a protected mucous layer of upper skin or tissue that lines the inside the mouth.
They are usually yellow or white in color and have redness surrounding them. It can be seen mostly in the inner cheeks area.
They are generally harmless and healed itself within 1 week without any medication.
How you can identify a Mouth Ulcer | Symptoms
- Swollen skin around the ulcers.
- Pain while chewing and brushing.
- Very painful and irritation of sores by salty, spicy or sour foods.
Mouth Ulcer vs Mouth Cancer
Long-Lasting mouth ulcers can be a sign of mouth cancer.
An ulcer caused by mouth cancer normally appears around the tongue region, but it can be generated in any part of the mouth.
Risk factors for mouth cancer include:
- Tobacco products: smoking or using tobacco products.
- Drinking alcohol: Heavy drinkers have a much higher risk.
Types of Mouth Ulcer
- Minor Ulcer: These can range for about 2 millimeters (mm) up to 1 cm in diameter. The healing period of this ulcer takes up to 2 weeks with lesser pain.
- Major Ulcer: As per the name, they are larger in size than minor ulcers and cause more pain. These are profused raised portions having deeper damage in the skin tissue.
- Herpetiform ulcer (HU): It a subtype of aphthous ulcers but they are not contagious. Herpetiform ulcers get healed and reappear very quickly,
How quitting smoking Cause Mouth Ulcer?
Quitting smoking is the best thing a person does to their health. But from the studies, it is seen that the ex-smokers are more prone to get mouth ulcer. So, how quitting smoking cause mouth ulcer?
The study demonstrates the relationship between smoking cessation and mouth ulcer, and their result shows how quitting smoking elevates the chances of mouth ulcers:-
- After stopping smoking, about 40% of quitters reported having developed mild mouth ulcers, mostly in the first 2 weeks.
- After quitting smoking, about 8% reported severe ulceration. The ulcer resolved within 4 weeks in 60% of patients affected.
- Medication: Quitting therapy using Bupropion and NRT, may increase the condition of mouth ulcers.
- Mouth ulcer is often observed in heavy smokers who quit smoking. This illustrated the fact that they need a higher dosage of NRT and other withdrawal syndrome.
- Oral Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) shows more potentialities to cause pain in mouth ulcers than non-oral NRT products. If you want to switch oral NRT, then you can check our post on the best non-oral Nicotine replacement therapy.
Oral NRT may increase irritation in mouth ulcers because chewing the gum or sucking lozenges can cause more wear and tear of tissues due to mouth actions. They can also be irritated by the alkaline buffers that are used in oral NRT products.
Check our article on the Oral NRT may increase irritation in mouth ulcers because chewing the gum or sucking lozenges can cause more wear and tear of tissues due to mouth actions. They can also be irritated by the alkaline buffers that are used in oral NRT products.
Check our article on the best non-oral NRT product.
Why quitting smoking more prone to get mouth ulcer?
There is various allegation in answering this question which is referred to in the two studies.
These studies call out their prospects of linking smokers to mouth ulcer. But even though they did not conclude the exact reason why they are caused.
Study 1: Smokeless tobacco use prevents aphthous stomatitis (Mouth Ulcers). (Grady, Ernster, Stillman, & Greenspan, 1992)
This study suggests two reasons why cigarette smoking prevents aphthous (mouth) ulcer. Key points of this study are:
Reason 1: Increased Keratinization
Smoking tobacco Cigarettes cause increased keratinization of the oral mucosal epithelium.
Increased keratinization adds more layers to mucal epithelium result in more protection against trauma or bacterial penetration of the mucosa.
Keratinization is the process in which the cytoplasm of the outermost cells of the epidermis or epithelial tissues is replaced by keratin.
Keratin is a fibrous structural protein. It is one of the structural constituents of hair, nails, and the outer layer of skin. And also protects epithelial cells from damage or stress.
The mucosal epithelium is a membrane that covers the surfaces of internal organs.
Reasons 2: Anti-bacterial effect by a component of Smoke (Maybe Nicotine)
The study also suggested a component of tobacco that is systemically absorbed might be accountable for protecting the smokers against the mouth ulcer.
This statement correlated with the fact that those people who use nicotine replacements therapy shows less chance of developing mouth ulcer
Based on these two facts, the authors concluded that a systematically protecting agent might be the nicotine that protects smokers from aphthous ulcers.
Study 2: Quitting smoking compromises the salivary Immunoglobulin Response. Research paper
Their studies show that after the cessation of smoking may, result in a qualitative change in the composition of the oral microbiota. They founded the increased frequency of oral inflammatory disorders in ex-smokers.
Microbiota is included bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi and viruses, found in and on all multicellular organisms.
Hence the growth in microbiota increases the risk of inflammation disorder after cessation of smoking which may increase the chance of mouth ulcers.
However, a study established no relationship between post-cessation increased risk in mouth ulcer. So it is nearly unpredictable whether smoking or quitting smoking causes mouth ulcer.
Home Remedies for Mouth Ulcer
When you are on the journey of quitting smoke, then you might face the problem of ulcers. As it seems that mouth ulcer is more prone to ex-smokers than smokers.
Here are the best popular and well-tested home remedies for people who quit smoking with mouth ulcer:
- For instant relief, use ice cubes to reduces the irritation caused by eating spicy food.
- Crush four to five leaves of holy basil (tulsi) and put it in half a glass of water drink. Drink and hold the water in the mouth. This helps to reduce bacterial growth and facilitate healing.
- Mix a pinch of turmeric with a teaspoon of glycerin. Apply this paste on the mouth ulcers.
- Rinse mouth with salt water and baking soda twice a day.
- Before resting your thoughts in dreams, you should mouthwash. It reduces anti-bacterial growth throughout the night.
- Avoid drinking hot liquids like tea, coffee and also avoid oily, spicy food as this would worsen the condition of mouth ulcers.
- Consume diets that are rich in calcium and vitamin C. Example yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, and orange juice.
How you can Avoid mouth ulcer while quitting smoking
To minimize the occurrences of mouth ulcers. Are you ready?, I am sure you are. So, here are the tips that actually make your mouth to put the ulcer away.
- Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy, and try to avoid oral NRT when you already have ulcers.
- Accidentally biting.
- Toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Stress and Anxiety.
- Some get mouth ulcers without quitting because of hormonal changes Example: At puberty, pregnancy, monthly period, etc.
- Avoid eating foods like chocolate, spicy foods, coffee, peanuts, almonds, etc.
You already get to know from this article that there is no reliable information to stating the relation between smoking and mouth ulcers.
In the journey of smoking cessation, one has to face many challenges like withdrawal syndrome from nicotine dependence.
Yet there are sometimes additional challenges like mouth ulcer, that makes your mood more irritating.
But my dear friends, this is a small obstacle in the way of your happier life, a life without smoke, a life with more healthiness. So, you should focus on what you get after quitting cigarettes.