Fact Checked

Roof of Mouth Hurts? Here's What May Be Causing it and Treatments.

Written by Fernanda Elizalde

January 26, 2023

Medically Reviewed

By Dr. Greg Grillo, DDS

Eating and drinking can be uncomfortable and difficult if you have mouth pain on the roof of your mouth. You may also have difficulty speaking normally.

Various factors, including scalding coffee or hot foods, infections, spicy foods, allergies, and injuries, can cause a sore palate. In most cases, it is not a serious condition that will go away. Seek medical attention if the pain is severe or lasts more than a few days.


It is not uncommon to experience a sore roof of your mouth. This is primarily due to the mouth being one of the most sensitive parts of the body with delicate tissue that comes into contact with various foreign substances and hot foods that may cause an adverse reaction or even bacterial infection.

As a result, raised sores or a cold sore on the roof of your mouth may appear, causing mouth hurt and discomfort, mainly when eating and drinking, especially hard foods. These symptoms become more noticeable when you wake up or eat spicy foods.

roof of mouth hurts pain and symptoms


One of the most common symptoms of this condition is obvious pain. Various factors, including dry mouth, trauma, cold sores, or oral thrush, can cause it when your mouth hurts. In rare cases, it may also indicate severe conditions such as mouth cancer, hepatitis, and alcohol-related liver disease.


This symptom could indicate another dental problem, such as an obstruction in your salivary glands or trauma from hot food burns. Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause dehydration, which can cause dry mouth and swelling in the roof of your mouth. Damage to the salivary glands caused by radiotherapy to the head and neck region can also cause dry mouth. But one of them most common causes of reduced saliva flow is common prescription medications, like antidepressants.


Small bumps or fluid-filled blisters on the roof of your mouth may be caused by a cold sore or canker sore. As they grow, most cold sores may become more painful and irritated.


Cramps, contractions, and spasms may result from an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes in your body can lead to several issues if the electrolyte imbalance gets too low. As a result, maintaining adequate levels of various minerals is critical to avoiding symptoms of overhydration or dehydration. Too much of an imbalance could lead to other symptoms requiring medical attention.

Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Heat
  • Functional impairment
  • Swollen lymph nodes

    mouth sore


    1. BURNS

    You may notice swelling on the roof of your mouth, resulting from a burn or damage caused by eating overly spicy or hot meals. Because fresh, hot slices of pizza are a typical cause of discomfort to this area, this occurrence is known as "pizza palate," However, pizza isn't the only thing that can cause mouth burns; any hot food or hot drink, such as coffee or tea, can cause comparable burns.

    A burnt palate will usually recover in three to seven days. Meanwhile, stick to soft meals and cool liquids to alleviate your pain. If the pain is severe, your dentist may advise you to use a mouth rinse to relieve the discomfort while your mouth heals. Warm salt water rinses and over-the-counter or prescription rinses are all choices for mouth rinses. If the region is still uncomfortable after seven days, consult your dentist.


    Recurrent canker sores usually appear on the inside of your cheeks and tongue. Still, they can also appear on the roof of your mouth. While the origins or etiology of canker sores are frequently unclear, several known triggers exist. These are examples of stress, hormonal shifts, immunological or nutritional deficits, viral infection, fungal infection, and physical trauma. Canker sores come in a variety of forms, including:

    Aphthous ulcers of minor severity Canker sores of this sort are the most prevalent. These lesions are often less than 1 centimeter (0.4 inches) in diameter. According to the Mayo Clinic, they usually heal in a week or two and leave no scars.


    This is a more severe canker sore, but it's not as prevalent as the mild variety. Sores are often greater than one centimeter in diameter. They can be broader, as well as deeper, than mild canker sores. Major sores can be excruciatingly unpleasant. They can leave large scars when they heal, which might take six weeks or more.

    Ulcers herpetiform These unusual ulcers afflict a small percentage of persons with canker sores. Despite their name, they are not caused by the herpes virus. These sores are made up of clusters of 10 to 100 lesions, and these clusters of minor lesions can sometimes combine into one huge ulcer. Despite this, they usually recover in about a week and do not leave scars.

    The typical individual gets one to three canker sores every episode depending on which group you fall into. You may get ten or more at once. Unless you have a significant aphthous ulcer, these often recurrent ulcers usually pain for a little more than a week and may linger for 7-10 days. If you still have sores after two weeks, consult your dentist or doctor to confirm the diagnosis and propose therapy to help you feel better or minimize the ulcers' severity or duration in some situations. In extreme cases, your doctor may prescribe steroid medication to decrease inflammation or a topical anesthetic such as lidocaine to relieve discomfort. To avoid hurting your sores while you wait for your mouth to heal, you should eat bland meals.


    Sores in your mouth, particularly those that do not heal quickly, may turn out to be cold sores, a common condition. The herpes simplex virus causes persistent sores on the lips and hard palate. According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, these sores appear as painful, fluid-filled blisters that rupture and crust over to form less painful lesions.

    Cold sores usually develop a crust four days after they begin and cure fully in eight to ten days. As you would with any scab, avoid touching or picking at them. These lesions are very infectious before the scabbing phase. The virus remains dormant (hidden) in your body and may reactivate when stressed, have hormonal changes, are exposed to sunlight or wind, or encounter trauma. If the sores do not heal, your doctor or dentist will gladly assist you.


    Although the vast majority of mouth sores are innocuous, not all of them should be ignored. The American Dental Association divides oral cancer into two types: those that arise in and around the mouth and those that occur mainly in the neck area (oropharynx). If you have a sore on the roof of your mouth that hasn't healed after two weeks, you should contact your dentist or physician as soon as possible. Oral cancer is often curable when detected early, so immediately bring any worrisome lesions to your dentist's attention.

    1. Burning Mouth Syndrome

    Burning mouth syndrome is a medical term for persistent (chronic) or recurrent mouth burning with no apparent cause. The tongue, gums, lips, inside of your cheeks, roof of your mouth (palate), or large areas of your mouth may be affected. The burning sensation can be excruciating as if you have scalded your mouth.

    Burning mouth syndrome usually manifests itself abruptly, but it can also develop gradually over time. Unfortunately, the precise cause is frequently unknown. Although this complicates treatment, working closely with your healthcare team can help you reduce symptoms.

    tongue cleanser


    Sometimes pain in the roof of the mouth is inflammatory from a weakened immune system. Systemic disorders or environmental stimuli that irritate the mucosal lining of the mouth might cause inflammation. The information below may help you better understand your symptoms and when you should consult a doctor.


    Because the mouth aids in the defense against many diseases and poisonous chemicals, it is vulnerable to inflammation caused by a range of pathogens and causes.

    Infections: Bacterial infections can cause painful sores in the mouth, particularly on the soft or hard palate. Fungi also invade warm, wet body parts, such as the mouth. Fungi-caused pain can range from red and spotty to creamy and white.

    Allergy: Drug responses can be a life-threatening cause of discomfort in the roof of the mouth, necessitating quick medical treatment. Many medications used to treat infections, epilepsy, and even mood problems can cause severe skin and mucosal responses.

    Gingivitis: Gum inflammation, or gingivitis, can be caused by poor dental care and bacterial accumulation.

    Autoimmune: Systemic autoimmune disorders that affect several body regions, such as inflammatory bowel disease and lupus, may appear with oral symptoms.

    Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG): is a very uncommon gum illness. It's also known as "trench mouth" since it was detected in many troops locked in trenches during WWI.


    Mucosal melanoma is a rare malignancy that produces gum discomfort, swelling, and pigmentation of the skin inside the mouth.

    Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a persistent pain condition characterized by a burning sensation in the mouth. Its origin is unknown.


    Irritating foods and liquids frequently come into touch with the mouth first. So, it’s natural that you may experience irritation, an allergic reaction, or other more severe symptoms on the roof of your mouth.

    Tobacco and alcohol are both severe irritants to the body. They can cause significant mouth irritation and even some types of cancer. Tobacco and alcohol use can cause excessive cell growth in the mouth's mucosal lining due to chronic irritation and dehydration, resulting in painful sores on the roof of the mouth, especially in people who drink heavily.

    Trauma is one of the most common causes of mouth ulcers. Trauma includes direct injuries to the face or mouth and the mouth's roof, such as a blow or a fall. Still, it can also result from ill-fitting dentures, loose fillings, braces, and even tortilla chips or hot soup.

    Different foods can cause painful sores or lesions on the mouth's roof. Spicy or acidic foods such as oranges, eggs, strawberries, and even chocolate can cause this. Diets deficient in nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin C, folate, or iron can also cause pain in the roof of the mouth.



    If you've burnt the roof of your mouth, immediately rinse it with cool water. Contact your doctor or dentist directly if you find any painful blisters. Medicated mouthwashes can be an effective therapeutic option for burns that do not heal quickly. Some oral gels can aid in the treatment of severe burns.


    To rehydrate your body, drink plenty of water and other fluids. However, you should seek emergency treatment if your body is highly dehydrated.


    Pain-relieving gels sold over the counter (OTC) can help reduce inflammation and discomfort on the mouth's roof.


    Allow hot foods and drinks to cool before serving.


    Hard meals are not simply hazardous for your teeth. They can also cause damage to your gums and the roof of your mouth. Take tiny portions and chew gently, preferring soft foods.


    Canker sores are frequently caused by stress. Take the necessary efforts to alleviate stress and anxiety to reduce the risk of mouth sores. Exercising, practicing mindfulness, and talking with a loved one can all be beneficial.


    A few home remedies for canker and cold sores may help alleviate discomfort throughout the healing process.

    While your canker or cold sores are healing, avoid any foods or drinks that may aggravate them worse. Some meals, beverages, and other items to avoid include:

    • Crispy meals, such as chips or toast
    • Citrus and tomatoes are examples of acidic fruits.
    • Pretzels or salty crackers
    • Hot peppers or spicy meals
    • Tea and coffee are examples of extremely hot beverages.
    • Alcohol
    • Products containing tobacco

      While many foods can irritate mouth sores, there are plenty of other foods you can eat. Instead of irritants, choose smooth, bland meals. Some examples include yogurt, mashed potatoes, and pudding. Your dentist or doctor may be able to suggest other foods to eat during this time.

      Dietary changes aren't the only way to alleviate the pain caused by these ulcers. Another simple home remedy to try is ice when you have painful mouth sores. To help relieve pain and swelling, try gently pressing ice chips against the lesions.

      If you have recurring canker sores, try to identify your mouth sore triggers, such as acidic foods or stress, so you can better prevent them.


      A painful palate is a frequent ailment for several reasons. Burns, canker sores and cold sores are among the most prevalent.

      Typically, the reasons are minor and disappear within ten days. If you are still experiencing problems after this period, contact your doctor or dentist.

      They can do a physical examination and rule out any significant problems. They can also advise you on therapy or send you to an ENT expert for further investigation.



      Canker sores are not contagious. But cold sores, which are infectious, look identical. Visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis.


      Herpes simplex virus causes cold sores. Kissing, sexual contact with the mouth, and sharing drinks can spread this virus. These lesions seem like clusters of little fluid-filled blisters on the lips or at the lip-skin boundary. Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are non-contagious, inflammatory lesions. Causes include diet and systemic disorders.


      Depending on the cause, mouth sores might spread to other areas. Bacteria and fungi can produce mouth, genital, and armpit spots.


      Saltwater rinses can disinfect and relieve discomfort. Avoid hot or acidic meals and take over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen to avoid aggravating the problem.


      A painful sore or lesion may indicate a serious allergic response or malignancy. Since many underlying illnesses require follow-up and therapy, monitoring your symptoms is crucial.


      Chronic examples include autoimmune diseases like inflammatory bowel disease. Unlike bacterial infections, nicotine and alcohol-related red patches in the mouth can become chronic.

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