Pain in Roof of Mouth: Causes and Remedies

Roof of your mouth is what is termed as the palate. Many people experience pain in their palate making the condition a common find even though the causes may differ. In most cases, the pain is accompanied by sores or burning sensations and elevated skin structures in the palate. There are times when the symptoms become evident especially when you eat spicy/hot food or when you wake up after you've been snoring. The symptoms are used in determining underlying causes.

My Roof of Mouth Hurts, Why?

1. Burning Mouth Syndrome

Although it is not a problem to worry about, the burning mouth syndrome has been known to cause pain on your palate. Even though the cause of this syndrome is unknown, it has been said to occur when your oral cavity sensory nerves spread misinformation. Anemia and oral yeast have also been linked to the occurrence of this syndrome. If the pain has been caused by yeast infection, you are advised to treat it immediately to arrest further ailment.

Treatment includes:

  • Products for saliva replacement
  • Behavioral therapy (cognitive)
  • Specific oral rinses or lidocaine
  • Nerve pain blocking medications
  • Capsaicin (pain reliever found in chili peppers)
  • Certain anti-depressants
  • Clonazepam/Klonopin (anticonvulsant medication)

2. Mouth Infections

There are different infections that can cause pain on your palate and the pain will fade when the infection has been treated. The infections can either be bacterial or viral, and they make the palate sore once infected. Strep throat, sinus infection, staph, gingivostomatitis, thrush, common cold, or other related bacterial infections are amongst the reasons why your palate region may have some pain.

Visit your doctor for extermination. Once the tests are carried out, some antibiotics will be prescribed if the doctor finds that they are necessary to cure that infection.

3. Mouth Cancer

This is a very severe condition for roof of mouth hurts. Not only will it bring pain to your palate, it might cause your entire mouth to ache. Mouth cancer can be classified into two groups namely melanoma and lymphoma (which occurs at your tonsils region and tongue base) and both can result to pain in your mouth's roof.

Treatment includes:

  • Radiotherapy: using x-rays that have high energy to kill the cancerous cells.
  • Surgery: entails removing cancerous cells, and in other cases, also removing all surrounding tissues.
  • Chemotherapy: using powerful medications to kill the cancerous cells.

4. Cold Sores

Also called fever blisters, cold sores also cause pain on your mouth roof. The cold sores on your palate might hurt at different day times, but the pain may increase when eating. This is because the food applies pressure on your mouth creating discomfort. The foods being eaten may be hot, spicy or acidic thus irritating your palates lining.

Cold sores can clear up without the need for treatment in a couple of weeks. However, there are some antiviral drugs that can be used to speed up the process of healing. They are: acyclovir (Xerese, Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), valacyclovir (Valtrex) and penciclovir (Denavir).

5. Canker Sore

Also known as aphthous ulcers, canker sores are shallow, small lesions that develop on your mouth's soft tissues or at your gum's base. Compared to cold sores, canker sores are not contagious and do not occur at your lips surface. They can also be painful thus making talking and eating difficult. Cankers sores will, most of the times, go away in a week or so without any medication.

Treatment includes:

  • Mouth Rinses. If you suffer from many canker sores, your physician may prescribe a rinse using mouth wash that contains a steroid known as dexamethasone which reduces inflammation and pain. Oral suspensions from the antibiotic called tetracycline also reduce healing time and pain. Unfortunately, Tetracycline has some draw backs like possibly making you vulnerable to oral thrush, which is known to cause mouth sores that are quite painful. It can also discolor your child's teeth permanently.
  • Topical Pastes. Prescription and OTC pastes that contain active ingredients like fluocinonide (Vanos, Lidex), amlexanox (Aphthasol), and benzocaine (Anbesol) are helpful in speeding healing and relieving pain when applied to the sores the instance they appear. Your physician can recommend the application to be done 2-4 times each day.
  • Oral Medications. There are medications which, apart from the fact that they have been made to treat other conditions like heartburn and gout, can also be used to treat canker sores. Your physician can also prescribe some steroid medications if your canker sores are severe and did not respond to other treatments. The oral steroids have harsh side effects, and that is why they are only used as a last option.
  • Cautery of Sores. During cautery, a chemical substance or instrument is used in searing, destroying or burning tissue. There is also the topical solution known as Debacterol which has been made to treat gum problems and canker sores. The medications cauterize the canker sores thus reducing the healing time to a week. Another chemical cautery option is silver nitrate, which (although it won't speed healing) will relieve pain from canker sores.
  • Nutritional Supplements. Doctors also prescribe natural supplements if it is noted that the amount of important nutrients you consume are low. The nutrients include zinc, vitamins B-12 and B-6 or folic acid (folate).

6. Roof of Mouth Hurts: Other Causes 

There are many other reasons as to why the roof of your mouth experiences pain. Different allergies attacking the inside mouth, tooth abscess, diabetes, ear infection, perimenopause, menopause, oral thrush, dentures that poorly fit, vitamin deficiency, herpes, mineral deficiency, spicy and hot foods, smoking and chewing tobacco are some things that can make the roof of your mouth hurt.

Home Remedies for Mouth Roof Pain

  • Avoid Hot and Spicy Foods to avoid irritation.
  • Quit Alcohol and Tobacco. Smoking is known to cause sores in the mouth and alcohol irritates those sores.
  • Control Your Stress. Try some meditation or yoga daily to control your stress levels thus reduce occurrence of roof-mouth sores.
  • Gargle with Cool Water or Salt Water. If the sores you have on your palate have been caused by burns, try gargling cool water or salty water to ease the pain.
  • Use Milk. By swishing milk around your mouth, you will not only sooth the areas affected but also prevent further damage.
  • Use Aloe Vera. Take one aloe vera leaf and slice it vertically. Scoop the gel you see in the leaf strips and apply on areas affected for about a week. This will help soothe those sores.
  • Take Vitamin-B Supplements. Taking supplements of vitamin B will help in fast healing of the palate sores.

When to See a Doctor

  • If you find it hard to drink fluids
  • If palate sores have developed since you began taking some medication.
  • If sores are spreading
  • If your immune system has been compromised by a disease like cancer or HIV
  • If the white patches are visibly large on your palate or tongue.
  • If the pain you experience is intolerable
  • If the remedies you have tried are not working and your palate is still sore.
  • If the symptoms get worse and you start having skin rash, fever and difficulty swallowing.
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