Dear Dr. Manny,
Why is the roof of my mouth sore? Could it be a canker sore? Why do I wake up with a sore mouth?
Thanks for your question.
The roof of the mouth, or the palate, is a sensitive place that can be easily disturbed. If you eat spicy foods or snore, the roof of your mouth can be aggravated. The roof of the mouth can also get disturbed by random particles.
If you drank something that was burning hot, you might have scalded the roof of your mouth, and a blister may form. When this happens, cool the palate with cold liquids right away and avoid eating spicy foods or foods that irritate the blister.
Sharp foods, like crispy chips, can cut the roof of your mouth. Tobacco also causes problems with the top of your palate. Smoking irritates and dries the mouth, causing swelling or redness. If you’ve damaged your mouth with these things, avoid them at least until your mouth heals again.
Canker sores develop when your mouth has been exposed to bacteria, or if the roof of the mouth is damaged from burns. It will start off as a red bump and then fill with pus or white blood cells. Don’t try to open these sores, as they will spread even more bacteria around your mouth.
Canker sores can be prevented if you stop overeating acidic foods, and brush your teeth after eating.
If you have an infection in your sinus or throat, your mouth can hurt, too. Eating a lot of vitamins C, A and B in foods can help speed up your recovery. If you have dental problems, or an abscess in the top teeth, you should see a dentist, especially if the pain in the roof of your mouth becomes unbearable.
Some people have “burning mouth syndrome,” which is a condition linked to dry mouth or infections such as thrush. It can be very severe in the morning and then lessen over the course of the day. Yogurt can help soothe the pain.
Mouth cancer can also cause pain in the palate. If this is the case, you’ll see many sores rapidly developing in your mouth. At that point, you should see a doctor right away and get it checked out.
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