Singaw: What causes this mouth ulcer and what’s the best way to treat it?

Singaw: What causes this mouth ulcer and what’s the best way to treat it?

What is the cause of singaw? Find out the signs and symptoms, and the best natural remedies for this painful and irritating mouth ulcer.

What's the common cause of singaw?

The dreadful, probably most annoying mouth condition that everybody suffer from every now and then is known as singaw to Filipinos. The medical term is apthous stomatitis, and no one exactly knows why and how it starts.

Singaw usually comes and goes even without medical attention, and in most cases, are harmless. However, when they swell up and does not go away after a week or more, it could be a symptom of a complication. Dentists and general physicians can prescribe antimicrobial mouthwash or corticosteroid ointment for the pain and swelling.

Cause of singaw: Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of a mouth ulcer depend on the cause. It has been called “singaw” as they appear as painful sores on part of the skin lining the mouth, as if erupting. The skin around the singaw is red and swollen, and the patient will have difficulty chewing, especially coarse, salty, spicy and sour food as these irritate the singaw. Brushing your teeth will also be a pain, because of the tenderness of the sore.

Cause of singaw (mouth ulcers)

Singaw, or mouth ulcer, mainly affects parts of the delicate tissue that lines the inside of the mouth ( lining of the lips, cheeks, sides of the tongue). When you have singaw, it is a sign that there is imminent loss or erosion in the softer mouth lining. These ulcers are usually tiny dots in your mouth, and may be more than one at a time.

Dr. Nikki Turaray, MD, general physician, explains the common cause of singaw. “Immune dysregulation involving the oral mucosa can lead to an exaggerated inflammatory process and/or a relatively weak anti-inflammatory response, and this is the signal that we know,” she begins.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies have also been implicated as a cause of singaw, particularly deficiency of vitamin B12. “Many patients with recurrent oral sores have excessive injury after minor trauma, so that any trauma to the lining of the mouth may result in the development of an ulcer in that location,” Dr. Turaray adds.

Emotional stress will frequently lead to an exacerbation of any disease. In other words, it could make it worse. Certain drugs have been documented to induce oral ulcers similar to aphthous ulcers, stresses Dr. Turaray. The ulcers typically resolve when the drug is discontinued.

Other oral ulcers may be associated to an underlying disease such as Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and Behcet’s Disease.

Tambal sa Singaw

How to treat singaw

Singaw is treated mainly to provide relief from pain, hasten the healing of ulcers, and decrease the frequency and severity of episodes or recurrences. Dr. Turaray advises patients to focus more on general oral hygiene to beat the pesky singaw.

”Good dental hygiene is key, while at the same time avoiding trauma. Always use a soft toothbrush and waxed tape-style dental floss,” Dr. Turaray recommends. Avoid exacerbating factors, too, such as sharp/rough dental restorations, and braces.

The habit of biting your cheeks or lips, and food that seem to exacerbate the process. should also be off your list. The most common known cause of singaw is an injury to the mouth tissue inside of your cheek because of accidentally biting.

Pain control with the use of topical anesthetics and coating agents can provide temporary relief of discomfort. However, There are also natural home remedies for mouth ulcers that you can use.

  1. Natural herbs and oils. Peppermint and eucalyptus oils have anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains astringent that helps close tissue around the wound and cooling properties that have a soothing effect. You can mix olive or grapeseed oil, peppermint essential oil, and eucalyptus essential oil, and apply this on the singaw for fast relief.Chamomile and sage have antiseptic properties that help purge swelling, as well. It can be prepared like you would an ordinary tea, or it can be used as a mouth gargle. Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda contains antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that can kill bacteria causing mouth ulcers. Make a paste with water and baking soda, apply and leave on your singaw for 10 minutes before rinsing. 
  2. Common kitchen supplies. You can check your pantry for coconut oil, honey, cayenne pepper, and yogurt to treat your singaw, as these have natural antibacterial, antibiotic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.It works best for younger kids because these are tasty and not a bother at all.Yogurt is the best relief for children’s singaw, as they are tasty and nutritious, too. It has bacteria that balance the bacteria in your mouth, and treat singaw. Mix it with honey, too, and you have double the relief.
  3. Salt Water. This is the most common treatment known to Filipinos: gargling warm water with salt. Others actually let rock salt stay in their mouth, concentrating on the area where the singaw is, as this is more effective. Swelling is caused by fluids accumulating in an infected wound or mouth sore, and salt helps squeeze out these fluids. It also has an antibiotic property that fights infection.Try any of these remedies and see for yourself what works for you.

When to see a doctor

Dr. Turaray advises patients to see a doctor if the following occurs:

  • Enlarging mouth sore
  • Recurring sores, with new ones developing before old ones heal, or frequent outbreaks
  • High fever along with canker sores
  • Persistent sores, lasting two weeks or more
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Pain uncontrollable with self-care measures


Sources: Dr. Nikki Turaray, MD, general physician, MyHealth and Maxicare, Bonifacio Global City,, Mouth Ulcer Cure (Kindle Edition) ni Thomas P Fitzpatrick,

Also read: 10 natural na gamot sa singaw

May katanungan tungkol sa pagpapalaki ng anak? Basahin ang mga artikulo o magtanong sa kapwa magulang sa aming app. I-download ang theAsianparent Community sa iOS o Android!

app info
get app banner