Icon: Lupus Mouth Sores

Mouth Sores

They’re one of the many symptoms that may guide doctors to a diagnosis of lupus.

My dentist mentioned seeing ulcers in my mouth at my last visit. I didn’t even know I had them! I’m thankful she told me so I can discuss them with my rheumatologist.

Mouth sores, sometimes called ulcers, can be a sign that your lupus is active. Anytime you notice them, make sure to let your rheumatologist know. Remember that when you’re seeing signs and symptoms, that may mean your lupus is active—and could be damaging your organs.


While a common sign of active lupus, mouth sores may also result from certain medications, other conditions, or a dry mouth. Your rheumatologist may want to biopsy any ulcers you have to determine the cause. 


Ulcers that occur with lupus are red with a white halo. They most often appear on the roof of the mouth, inside the cheeks, or on the lips. And they may or may not be painful. Examine your mouth regularly to make sure you’re aware of any mouth sores you may have. 


More than 40% of people living with lupus suffer from mouth sores.

Enlist your dentist’s help in keeping an eye out for mouth sores. They, too, are an important part of your lupus team. Keep up with your preventative care and remind them to give your mouth a full inspection at each visit. (If cost is keeping you from seeing your dentist regularly, visit our Finances & Lupus section for ideas.)

Icon: Toothbrush

To help lessen the pain of mouth sores:

  • Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush.
  • Use nonabrasive toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • If you find that spicy or acidic foods bother your sores, avoid them until the sores are healed.
Image: Lupus Symptom Tracker

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Learn more about these symptoms.

Icon: Lupus Fatigue


Icon: Lupus Joint Pain

Joint Pain

Icon: Lupus Skin Rashes

Skin Rashes

Icon: Lupus Hair Loss

Hair Loss

Icon: Lupus Mouth Sores

Mouth Sores

Icon: Lupus Brain Fog

Brain Fog

Icon: Kidney Issues

Kidney Issues

Icon: Lupus Depression and Anxiety

& Anxiety

Icon: Lupus Muscle Pain and Weakness

Muscle Pain
& Weakness

Icon: Lupus Heart Issues

Heart Issues

Icon: Lupus Weight Changes