The roof of the mouth is made of the soft and hard palate. While the hard palate is made up of a flat bony parcel, the soft palate is made up of soft tissue. These are thin and delicate which makes it sensitive and quite susceptible to damage. As a result, a swollen roof of mouth is a common issue. While this is normally of great concern to the victims, swelling in the palate can result from a number of things most of which only bring discomfort. Below we explore the causes, treatments and when to see a doctor over a roof of mouth swelling.
In most cases, the causes of a swollen roof of mouth are not of medical concern. This is because swelling could result from a burn caused by a steaming hot cup of coffee, a bruise from munching on potato chips or even spicy food. However, a swelling that lasts too long may be indicative of palate cancer. Below we delve into the various causes.
When the roof of the mouth gets into contact with a substance it deems an allergen, the area reacts by producing antihistamines. Allergic reactions to mouthwash and toothpaste can cause symptoms in the mouth. In other cases, food could be the culprit.
When a reaction occurs, it may result in symptoms such as swelling, inflammation, irritation and a runny nose. In severe allergic reactions, the patient may experience vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing and shortness of breath. In case it gets to this, see a doctor immediately.
When the palate is subjected to physical trauma, an injury will result. This could occur during dental procedures, using toothpicks as well as getting pricked by something sharp that could be in food such as a fish bone, sharp potato chips and the like. A fall could also see you injuring your roof of mouth thus swelling.
Burns while Eating
Mouth burns while eating can result from a number of things. These include ingesting hot substances. A hot cup of tea or coffee can have a scalding effect on the soft palate resulting in burns and swelling. Other things that could cause burns and swelling are spicy and acidic foods.
Peppers, lemons, cinnamon and other foods with strong flavors could irritate the mouth to an extent of blistering it. This is more so for persons who suffer oral hypersensitivity. In such cases, the roof of the mouth will be red, hot, painful and swollen. To quell a burn, gaggle cold water immediately if happens to stop the palate from burning further.
Mouth infections can see the roof of the mouth swollen. These could either be bacterial or viral. Sinus infections, common colds, thrush as well as strep throat can all affect the palate since microorganisms in other areas can invade it. To strengthen the immune system and keep these infections minimal, eat foods rich in vitamins B and C.
Ill-fitting Oral Devices
When any oral devices are not of the appropriate size, it is possible to have injuries in the mouth. Ill-fitting dentures could see the roof of the mouth swollen. These mostly tend to cause swelling on the roof of mouth behind the front teeth.
People with AIDS may experience a swollen roof of the mouth. This is caused by overproduction of yeast. Syphilis could also see the mouth affected. This tends to be highly contagious.
Where the swelling on the palate occurs near teeth or on one side which could be the right or left side, the problem is likely to be dental.
Issues such as teeth abscesses can see the mouth suffer ulcers as well as sores at the roof of the mouth. According to NHS, mouth ulcers are only uncomfortable and not harmful. In addition, tooth decay could result in sores on the roof of the mouth as the infection attacks surrounding flesh.
These are also known as fever blisters and are usually accompanied by a sore throat and uvula. They are mostly painful and are caused by the herpes simplex virus. In addition to causing swelling on the roof of the mouth the patient will may also itch and feel pain too. Mostly these go away without treatment.
Canker sores at the roof of the mouth appear as swollen lesions. They are caused by injuries, hormonal changes, allergies as well as dietary deficiency in iron and folic acid. Most of these go away on their own but in case of severity the doctor may offer medicinal mouth wash.
A swollen roof of mouth could be indicative of mouth cancer. While this could develop in anyone, it is most common among smokers. Drinking alcohol also makes people be at a higher risk. Other accompanying symptoms while suffering palate cancer include mouth lesions, swallowing problems, weight loss and general swelling. To enhance early detection of cancer, always see a doctor for roof of mouth swelling that lasts more than two weeks.
Remedies and Treatment for Swollen Roof of Mouth
It is possible to relief a swollen roof of mouth at home using simple home remedies. These are as discussed below.
Aloe Vera contains medicinal properties. It will help soothe the swelling and relieve pain. There are aloe products made for oral use and these should be safe for use on the swollen roof of mouth. You could also scoop fresh aloe gel from its leaf and apply it on the area.
This remedy is most appropriate for swelling on the roof of the mouth that is as a result of canker sores. Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in a glass of water and gargle. Repeat twice a day until the swelling disappears.
Ice pops will constrict the blood vessels and thus reduce the flow of blood to the mouth. This will help reduce the swelling. It will also make the area numb and reduce pain. Use ice pops to quell swelling resulting from burns.
Baking soda is used for many purposes in the mouth. It can be used to treat swellings that are in the form of sores and blisters. It helps in balancing the pH in the mouth and thus get rid of microorganisms that may be causing infections. Use a baking soda solution as a mouth rinse twice daily for five days to relief your mouth.
Anti-bacterial Mouth Wash
Where the cause of the swelling is an infection, using an antibacterial mouth wash can help clear the infection and with time get rid of the swollen roof of mouth. In addition, an anesthetic mouthwash can be used where the swelling is accompanied by pain.
Yogurt contains tissue culture that can go a long way in healing roof of mouth ulcers and sores. It can also help to eliminate infections and mouth thrush. In addition, yogurt will heal a sore mouth resulting from spicy food.
This helps to protect the mucus membranes in the mouth, heals wounds as well as reduces inflammation. These properties help in reducing swellings in the mouth. Soak a tablespoon of licorice root powder in two cups of water for two hours. Use this as a mouthwash for up to four times in a day.
Honey helps to naturally fight inflammation. It will help in soothing the swelling. Place some pure honey on the tongue and rub it on the soft palate. This can be used together with coconut milk for maximum effect.
Tea Tree Oil
When used as a mouth wash, tea tree can act as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and pain soothing remedy. This is made possible by its medicinal properties. Add ten drops of tea tree oil to a cup of water and swish it in your mouth for 30 seconds. Spit it out and use plain water to rinse it off. Never use tea tree oil without diluting as it is highly potent.
Tips on Dealing with a Swollen Roof of Mouth
In addition to using the above remedies, below are additional tips to help prevent the swelling on the soft palate from getting worse:
- Keep sipping on milk to soothe the roof of the mouth
- While eating, chew your food slowly to avoid hurting the swollen area.
- To relief pain, take over the counter pain killers.
- Avoid spicy and acidic foods as these could aggravate the situation after eating. Settle for a bland diet instead.
- If your swollen palate occurs after drinking alcohol or smoking, put into place a plan to quit.
- Take vitamin B supplements as its deficiency could cause swelling in the roof of mouth.
When to See a Doctor over your Swollen Roof of Mouth
In case the pain becomes unbearable and you find eating and drinking hard, you should see a doctor for treatment. Also seek immediate medical attention in case the swollen palate is accompanied by spreading sores, bumps or lumps, change of color in the sores, white patches or spots, rash and fever. The same should be done if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks and the above treatments do not seem to work.
Tooth Wisdom: Mouth Inflammation
Enki Village: Roof of Mouth Sore
Food Pyramid: Roof of Mouth Hurts
Tandurust: Pain and Swelling in Roof of Mouth
NHS: Mouth Sores