why you may suffer from roof of mouth pain

Pain in the roof of your mouth is not an uncommon occurrence. This is mainly because the mouth is one of the most sensitive parts of the body, and it comes into contact with many different foreign substances which may cause an adverse reaction. As a result, raised sores may appear on the roof of your mouth, causing you pain and discomfort, especially when eating and drinking. Such symptoms become more apparent when you wake up or eat spicy foods.

Symptoms of Roof of Mouth Pain

Pain

Pain is one of the most common symptoms of this condition. It may be as a result of many different things, such trauma and ulcers. In some cases, it could also indicate severe conditions like oral cancer, hepatitis, and alcohol-related liver disease.

Dry mouth

This symptom may be an indication of other dental problems like an obstruction in your salivary glands, or trauma from burns from consuming hot foods. Excessive alcohol consumption may also cause you to become dehydrated, leading to dry mouth and swelling in the roof of your mouth. Dry mouth is also caused by damage to the salivary glands from radiotherapy to the head and neck region.

Sores or blisters

Cold and canker sores may cause small bumps in the roof of your mouth. These sores may become more painful and easily irritated as they grow.

Muscle spasms

Low electrolyte levels in your body may cause you to experience cramps, contractions, and spasms. Hence, it is crucial that you maintain adequate levels of various minerals to avoid symptoms of overhydration or dehydration.

Other symptoms include

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Heat
  • Loss of function

Causes of Roof of Mouth Pain

Trauma

Various traumas, including burns from drinking excessively hot foods and beverages or eating overly spicy foods, may cause pain in the roof of your mouth. After such traumas, a blister may form in the area around the burn, making your palate feel sensitive to the touch.

Canker Sore / Mouth Ulcer

These are small, painful, red, yellow or white sores that occur on the roof of your mouth. Canker sores may also occur on your tongue, the insides of your cheeks or lips.

Infections

Viral or bacterial infections like a streptococcal sore throat, tonsillitis, sinusitis, common cold and other types of infections can cause the roof of your mouth to hurt. The pain may be due to the sinus pressure pushing on the roof of your mouth, or bacteria growth irritating your flesh. Fungal infections, most commonly from candida albicans, also cause redness of the palate and possible pain.

Irritating Substances

Putting substances that irritate the flesh in your mouth can cause your mouth’s roof to hurt. For instance, sharp foods may scratch your mouth tissue, causing discomfort. Putting an aspirin tablet next to a painful tooth and letting it dissolve causes a painful ulcer called an aspirin burn.

Electrolyte imbalance

Electrolytes are the minerals in your blood, urine and body fluid. Maintaining proper levels of these minerals is crucial for appropriate body functions. An imbalance in these minerals can cause swelling in the roof of your mouth.

Excessive consumption of alcohol

When you drink heavily and have a hangover the next day, you may notice swelling and discomfort in your mouth’s roof. This is because alcohol encourages your body to release more urine than necessary, leaving you dehydrated. Dehydration causes dry mouth, which may cause swelling and tenderness on your palate.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the infection of the gum due to plaque and tartar buildup. This condition can cause pain in the roof of your mouth.

Cold Sore

A common cold can cause recurring mouth sores as a side effect, which may cause pain in the roof of your mouth.

Acute Viral Sinusitis

This condition causes chronic inflammation between the nostrils and the back of the throat and may cause pain in your mouth’s roof.

ANUG (Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis)

This is an uncommon infection of the gums that may also result in pain in the roof of the mouth.

Acute Bacterial Sinusitis

This condition occurs when the bacteria in the nose enter the sinuses and lead to discomfort or pain in the palate.

Strep Throat Requiring Throat Swab

Strep throat can cause a sore throat and pain in the roof of your mouth, especially when it requires a throat swab.

how to treat roof of mouth pain

Burning Mouth Syndrome

The symptoms of burning mouth syndrome are more prominent in the morning and lessen throughout the day. They include a burning sensation, usually on, but not limited to, the palate or tip of the tongue. It is most common in post-menopausal women. Although the cause of this condition is still unknown, oral thrush, acid reflux, stress and dryness in the mouth contribute to this discomfort.

Other serious diseases (including cancer)

Sometimes, the cause of the pain in the roof of your mouth may be due to a severe medical condition like cancer. Cancerous growths like lymphoma or melanoma can develop anywhere in your mouth, including the roof of the mouth.

Treatment Of Roof Of Mouth Pain

While this condition is a common occurrence, it is also just as easy to treat it, depending on the cause.

Trauma

If the pain is due to an injury like a burn, it is essential that you cool the palate right away to prevent the damage from becoming excessive. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should submerge the area in cold water for approximately 10 minutes. After that, limit your intake of hot, spicy, sharp and any other irritating foods. Also, try to avoid allowing food to make contact with the affected area.

Canker Sore

If you have a canker sore, do not open them to prevent the bacteria from spreading as it may increase your chances of developing more sores. Rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash containing hyaluronic acid and collagen can help in the repair of the skin membrane.

Infection

Consume foods rich in Vitamin B and C to help the infection heal more quickly. Your dentist will prescribe appropriate medication where necessary, such as an anti-fungal for thrush. they will also refer you to the appropriate doctor if necessary.

Burning mouth syndrome

Increase your yoghurt intake to decrease the burning sensation associated with this condition. It will also help lessen the presence of oral thrush, which contributes to this discomfort. Avoid salty, spicy and acidic foods that can worsen the burning sensation.

Mouth Cancer

If the sores causing pain in the roof of your mouth keep changing colour and are growing at a rapid rate, it is important that you seek immediate medical attention.

Irritating substances

In such a case, we highly recommend a change of diet to avoid foods and substances that cause discomfort. Instead, opt for bland foods with moderate temperature to limit the risk of causing further damage to give your mouth a chance to heal.

Electrolyte imbalance

Drinking several ounces of fluids can help rehydrate you. But in severe cases, you may need to seek immediate medical attention.

When to see your dentist or doctor with a roof of mouth pain

  • If you are finding it hard to eat or drink
  • If the condition has developed after you started taking some medication
  • If the sores are spreading
  • If the sores on your palate or tongue are visibly larger
  • If the remedies you have tried or medication prescribed are not working
  • If your symptoms keep getting worse
  • The pain is intolerable
  • If your immune system is compromised by diseases like HIV or cancer

Overall, we highly recommend that you see a doctor to receive the right diagnosis, which will go a long way to ensure the condition is treated and does not reoccur.

Prevention tips

Although it is not possible to prevent all the causes of pain in the roof of your mouth, there are a few things you need to keep in mind, especially if you are at a higher risk to this condition;

  • Letting foods that hold heat for long periods to cool off
  • When eating hard foods, chew carefully to avoid hurting your teeth, damaging your gums and the skin on the roof of your mouth.
  • Some conditions like canker sores are more likely to crop up during times of high stress. When you are feeling stressed, engage in stress releasing exercises like meditation and deep breathing. If you need more assistance with managing stress, seek medical attention from a professional therapist.

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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.

Joseph Xuereb
Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.