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How to Prevent Singaw: What to Do and Not Do to Prevent Mouth Sores

Medically reviewed by Grazielle Millo-Paderes, DDM, MSc · Dentistry · Unihealth-Parañaque Hospital and Medical Center

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated May 31, 2021

    How to Prevent Singaw: What to Do and Not Do to Prevent Mouth Sores

    Mouth sores, or singaw, are painful lesions in the mouth. They can occur on the lips, tongue, inner cheeks, gums, and bottom of the mouth. Here are things you need to know on how to prevent singaw.

    What are Mouth Sores?

    Medically, a mouth sore or singaw happens when a part of the mucous membrane eroded. The mucous membrane is the soft tissue lining the insides of our mouth. The lesions vary in size and appearance. Most times, they look like a yellow or pale ulcer with a reddish edge.

    Even though a person suffers from one or a few mouth sores, their mouth looks normal. However, they feel uncomfortable and distracting, especially when you’re drinking or eating.

    The good news is: mouth sores often go away in a week or two. Still, it would be so much better to know how to prevent singaw.

    What are the Causes of Mouth Sores?

    how to prevent singaw

    Before we can proceed on how to prevent singaw, we should first understand their causes. To do this, let’s discuss canker sores and cold sores.

    Canker Sores

    Canker sores are the typical mouth sores we experience; they are small and noncontagious. Its appearance looks like a pale or yellowish ulcer. To put it simply, it looks like there’s a “hole” on your mucous membrane.

    • Accidental biting of the lips, inner cheeks, and tongue.
    • Injury because of rough brushing or dental procedures
    • Rubbing against braces or dentures
    • Irritation to toothpaste or other oral care products
    • Reaction to medications
    • Sensitivity to certain foods and drinks
    • Burns from eating hot meals
    • Poor oral hygiene
    • Deficiency in some vitamins and minerals, like zinc, iron, and vitamin B12
    • Stress and sleep deprivation
    • Response to the presence of bacteria in the mouth, like Helicobacter pylori. pylori also commonly cause peptic ulcer.

    Please note that some health conditions can also trigger the development of canker sores. Such conditions include a weakened immune system and Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel condition.

    Knowing these causes will make it easier for you to understand how to prevent singaw.

    Cold Sores

    A cold sore is also a type of mouth sore. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are highly contagious as they are caused by the herpes simplex virus.

    Often, when a person develops cold sores, they would first feel a burning or tingling sensation in their mouth.

    Additionally, the sores begin as blisters and then would just crust over.

    The thing is, the herpes simplex virus can stay in the body for a long time—years, even. Cold sores would just appear when triggered by any of the following:

    • Sun exposure
    • Stress
    • Changes in the hormone levels
    • Another health condition, usually one where you also have a fever

    Knowing the causes will give you better ideas on how to prevent singaw.

    Home Remedies for Mouth Sores

    Aside from knowing how to prevent singaw, you also need to know about its home remedies. In case you develop painful mouth sores, you can try the following.

    For canker sores

  • Gargle. Are you looking for a great way to prevent singaw from getting worse? Try gargling with saltwater. If it’s too painful for you, you can gargle with cool water, instead.
  • Be careful when eating. Avoid hot foods and drinks. Additionally, refrain from eating salty and spicy foods, as well as citrus fruits.
  • Take OTC medications. If the pain already distracts you from carrying out your activities, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Use a mouthwash. However, don’t use one with alcohol. If you can find it, use an alcohol-free mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine gluconate.
  • Take note of your toothpaste. You can try to look for a toothpaste that doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate. This is because this chemical can be quite irritating.
  • Use a straw. If you’re drinking anything cold, use a straw. This will prevent the liquid from coming in contact with the sore.
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    For cold sores

    • Protect your lips from the sun. You can do this by applying lip balms that have sunblock. You can also use creams containing zinc oxide.
    • Apply a cool or warm compress. A warm compress will ease the blister pain and damp, cold compress will promote healing of the blisters.
    • Take OTC medications. As with canker sores, if the pain is too distracting, you can resort to mild OTC pain relievers.

    How to Prevent Singaw – The Best Practices

    When it comes to how to prevent singaw, here are some of the best preventive measures:

    • Avoid injuries in the mouth. You can do this by choosing a soft toothbrush and brushing carefully. Also, avoid hot foods and beverages. Another great tip is to chew slowly.
    • Mind your nutrition. Eating a well-balanced diet will ensure that you have enough vitamins and minerals, like vitamin B12, iron, and zinc. Remember that deficiencies in this may trigger mouth sores.
    • Observe your food triggers. Some foods irritate the lining inside your mouth, causing the mouth sores. Take note of what foods trigger the development of mouth sores.
    • Reduce stress. Since stress is also a trigger, practice some relaxation techniques. Additionally, don’t forget to get enough sleep.
    • Maintain proper oral hygiene. Another means on how to prevent singaw is to brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly. This will remove any food residue that may trigger mouth sores.

    When to Seek Medical Help

    Knowing how to prevent singaw makes it easier for us to avoid such a simple, but an uncomfortable condition. Still, you need to know when you’re supposed to go to the doctor. If you experience the following, be sure to seek medical help.

    • You develop large canker sores or you have sores that spread.
    • Your sores develop in succession. It’s a red flag if new sores appear even before the old ones heal completely.
    • When mouth sores persist for more than 3 weeks.
    • When your mouth sores extend outside the vermillion border of your lips. Vermillion border is the line between your lips and the normal facial skin.
    • Severe pain despite home remedies
    • High fever, rashes on the skin, drooling
    • A major difficulty in eating and drinking; or difficulty in swallowing
    • When the sores develop immediately after starting taking a new medication
    • You find white patches on your tongue or the roof of your mouth; this may indicate the presence of infection
    • You have another health condition, in which case the appearance of mouth sores may indicate worsening of the said condition.

    Singaw is a fairly common condition and it’s good that we can perform some home remedies to soothe the pain and heal it.

    The practices on how to prevent singaw depend on the causes. In general, always be gentle when cleaning your mouth, choose your food and drinks wisely, and avoid harsh oral care products.

    Learn more about Other Oral Health Issues here. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Grazielle Millo-Paderes, DDM, MSc

    Dentistry · Unihealth-Parañaque Hospital and Medical Center

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated May 31, 2021

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