Causes and Treatments for Sores On Roof Of Mouth

By adrian
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Canker Sores (Mouth Ulcers): Overview.' /[Internet/]. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Aug. 2019,
  • 2. Dentalhealthorg. 'Mouth Ulcers.' Oral Health Foundation,
  • 3. 'Mouth Sores: Causes, Treatment, and Pictures.' Medical News Today, MediLexicon International,
  • 4. 'Oral Manifestations in Vitamin B12 Deficiency Patients with or without History of Gastrectomy.' BMC Oral Health, BioMed Central, 27 May
  • 5. 'Tobacco Stomatitis - What You Need to Know.',
Medical Expert Medical Expert

The roof of the mouth, also known as the hard palate, can be vulnerable to sores, injury, swelling and inflammation because of its delicate tissue. It's no wonder this part of the mouth is susceptible to such issues, considering what it has to deal with daily.

The roof of the mouth takes a large percentage of the impact from that first hot coffee in the morning and it comes into contact with food daily. Irritants, such as cigarettes, alcohol, infections, allergies and many other things, can cause sores on the roof of a person's mouth.


Bumps or sores on the roof of the mouth can sometimes occur after a hot meal or drink. One of the main culprits is pizza, which is why the phenomenon is sometimes referred to as pizza palate. Biting into a pizza can result in the hot cheese sticking to the roof of the mouth, resulting in a burn. Hot drinks, such as tea and coffee, can also have similar effects.

Those who encounter a burned palate can expect it to heal itself within a week. Cold drinks and soft foods may help ease discomfort in the meantime.


Canker Sores

Possibly caused by issues with a person's immune system, canker sores can develop in several places, including inside the cheeks, gums, lips, tongue and on the roof of the mouth. The round or oval sores are white or yellow with a red border and can be triggered by particular foods, stress and hormonal shifts.1‘Canker Sores (Mouth Ulcers): Overview.’ /[Internet/]. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Aug. 2019,

Healing typically takes two weeks. Patients can eat bland foods in the meantime to avoid irritation, and dentists sometimes prescribe a pain killing gel.

Cold Sores

The herpes simplex virus causes cold sores, and although they normally develop on the infected individual's lips, they can also appear on the hard palate. Initially, the sores may cause some pain and discomfort, but they'll eventually burst and crust over to form less painful lesions.

The sores normally heal in around ten days. As with any scab, it's best not to touch or pick them. If the sores refuse to go away on their own, a dentist may be able to help.



Ill-fitting dentures could be the cause of sores on the roof of someone's mouth.2Dentalhealthorg. ‘Mouth Ulcers.’ Oral Health Foundation, Dentures that aren't properly cleaned or maintained could be another cause. Bacteria buildup under the denture, resulting in the appearance of painful sores.

Removing and rinsing dentures and washing out the mouth after eating may help prevent the buildup of bacteria and sores. Individuals should brush their dentures daily, soak them overnight and thoroughly clean them before putting them back in.

Infections and Allergies

Painful sores on the hard palate can be caused by bacterial infections. Warm damp areas, such as the mouth, are ideal places for fungi to grow. A person infected by fungi may notice red and patchy or white and creamy spots on the roof of their mouth.3‘Mouth Sores: Causes, Treatment, and Pictures.’ Medical News Today, MediLexicon International,

Allergies, reactions to certain drugs, such as those used for epilepsy, and infections sometimes cause sores and pain on the roof of the mouth. Some of the medications used can also trigger painful skin and mucosal reactions.



Painful sores that appear on the roof of the mouth can be triggered by eating something that can irritate the mouth. Consuming different foods, especially those of a spicy or acidic nature, could result in painful sores on a person's hard palate.

Foods that include chillies, strawberries, oranges and chocolate could be the issue. Individuals who lack vitamins C, B12, folate and iron in their diets may also experience sores on the roofs of their mouths.4‘Oral Manifestations in Vitamin B12 Deficiency Patients with or without History of Gastrectomy.’ BMC Oral Health, BioMed Central, 27 May


Certain irritants can cause people to experience sores on the roof of their mouth. Two serious irritants to the body, tobacco and alcohol, can cause significant irritation to the mouth and may cause certain cancers.

Due to the persistent irritation and dehydration that tobacco and alcohol can sometimes cause, excessive cell growth in the mucosal lining of the mouth could occur, resulting in painful sores on the roof of the mouth.5‘Tobacco Stomatitis - What You Need to Know.’,


Oral Cancer

Unlike some of the harmless causes already mentioned, oral cancer needs to be taken seriously. Sores on the roof of a person's mouth can sometimes be a sign of oral cancer.

Sores on the hard palate that don't clear up within two weeks should be looked at by a dentist for evaluation. If cancer is suspected, an oral surgeon may further evaluate the sores and possibly perform a biopsy. Treatment options for oral cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.


Diagnosis typically involves a doctor or dentist carrying out a simple physical examination to determine the problem and advise on actions that should be taken. If a medical professional is unsure or symptoms last longer than expected, cell scrapings may be taken from the roof of the mouth for a biopsy.

These cells are scrutinized under a microscope by a doctor to determine the cause of the issue and what further action may be required.


There are several solutions to help relieve sores on the roof of the mouth, such as avoiding certain foods and hot drinks.

Good oral hygiene can help prevent bacteria build up in the mouth that results in sores. Some instances call for immediate action. If a person gets burns inside their mouth, they should immediately rinse their mouth with cold water to help prevent blistering. If the sores are caused by infections, allergies or nutrient deficiencies, talk with a physician to treat the underlying cause.


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