What Does it Mean When the Roof of My Mouth Hurts?

There are several reasons why the roof of our mouth becomes sore. Majority of these conditions are harmless, but some can be very serious. Here are seven causes of lumps and bumps on the roof of a mouth:

1.Canker sores

Canker sores can develop at any time on the roof of the mouth. They rarely require any treatment and disappear within five to 10 days. Canker sores are red, yellow or white in color. The person may feel pain, have difficulty swallowing or get a sore throat.

In the case of pain, an over-the-counter medicine can be used. Home remedies for canker sores include: rinsing the mouth with salt water or baking soda, eating honey or yogurt, etc. For the rinses, fill half of a glass with water and add a teaspoon of salt/ baking soda. Then, rinse for 15 to 30 seconds and spit out the solution. Repeat after a few hours as many times as needed.

2. Torus palatinus

Torus palatinus is a bony growth that some persons are born with and that may appear only later in life. They occur on the roof and can be small to large in size. The growth does not require treatment in the majority of cases, and it can be surgically removed if required.  The symptoms of Torus palatinus include a lumpy or smooth bump, a slowly growing bump, etc.


The top of a mouth is a sensitive area that can be burnt easily. The area can sometimes get burnt from hot food, a condition called “pizza palate.” Similarly, hot drinks can also cause a burn. A burned palate normally does not require any treatment and heals on its own in three to seven days. In the case of a severe burn, the blister may develop fluid during the healing process.

4. Cold Sores

Cold sores are blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus. The fluid-filled blisters appear on the lips, but they can also form on the mouth’s roof. The blisters are contagious, and they heal on their own within eight to 10 days. During the healing process, it is best to avoid picking or touching the blisters. Cold sores symptoms include an itching or tingling sensation, patches of blisters, oozing blisters, etc.

5. Oral Cancer

Sometimes, sores on the roof of the mouth can show a serious disease such as cancer. Oral cancer can develop in the salivary glands, and its symptoms include a lump in the mouth, a bleeding sore, pain in the jaw, or a sore that is not healing. Using tobacco increases the likelihood of cancer.

Oral cancer treatment will depend on which stage it is identified, and the earlier it is identified the better. If a sore is suspected to be cancerous, the patient will be referred to an oral surgeon for evaluation and biopsy. Treatment of oral cancer many times involves removal of the sore, followed by radiation or chemotherapy.

6. Epstein pearls

Epstein pearls are cysts that appear in the top of the mouth of newborns. The yellowish-white cysts are harmless and normally disappear after few weeks of birth.   

Request an appointment here: https://beniciadentist.com or call Southampton Dental Care at (707) 887-5075 for an appointment in our Benicia office.


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