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Roof Of Mouth Hurts – Pain, Sore and Swollen Palate?

By Senior Editor
Food Pyramid -

Nowadays, a common complaint that doctors hear from patients is that their roof of mouth hurts. If you are one of these people, this article will tell you about the common causes of pain in your roof of mouth, the respective treatments and even preventative measures you can take at home. But first, you should be clear about what the roof of the mouth actually is.

If you use your tongue to feel the top of your mouth, you will undoubtedly feel a difference in texture between the front side and the back. There is a horizontal bony plate in the front part of the roof of your mouth called the hard palate, which you will have felt to be hard. Behind that however, you will feel ticklish if you poke your tongue further back as the latter part of the roof of your mouth is made of soft tissue and is known as the soft palate. Hard palate pain is much less common than soft palate pain as the latter is more sensitive.

If you feel alarmed that the roof of the mouth hurts, it is actually a pretty common condition. Usually the pain is accompanied by inflammation or sores on roof of the mouth. The pain is likely to be at its peak when you wake up from sleeping and snoring only aggravates it. Eating hot or spicy food can also make the pain worse.

Roof of mouth hurts

Anatomy of the Mouth – The “Hard palate” is the roof of the mouth.

Causes of palate pain and how to treat it

1. Ingestion of hot substances

Some people find that the roof of the mouth hurts after they have had a scalding cup of coffee or some really hot and spicy food. Since the roof of your mouth is sensitive, it can easily be damaged if you eat or drink something too hot. You might suffer from a sore soft palate for a few days and in extreme cases a blister can form. If such is the case, you should drink a cold liquid immediately and try to keep it near the affected area to soothe it.

2. Eating irritating substances

Have you ever scratched your palate with a fish bone or a particularly sharp potato chip? The roof of the mouth hurts whenever you eat or chew an irritating substance like tobacco, as the tissue is soft and can be easily damaged. Spicy food only aggravates your condition so try eating bland, soft foods like bananas to prevent further irritation.

3. Mouth Infections

The roof of the mouth hurts usually when you have a bacterial or viral infection like strep throat, sinus infection, thrush or even the common cold. Your sore roof of mouth may be due to bacteria from a throat infection invading the flesh of your mouth. In order to treat the roof of mouth pain you must treat the infection. Along with the antibiotics your doctor prescribes, eat foods rich in Vitamins B and C to strengthen your immune system and heal the sore.

4. Ulcers due to Dental Issues

The pain in the roof of the mouth may be due to some ill-fitting dentures or other oral devices. Even a tooth abscess can not only cause an ulcer but the infection can spread to the palate and lead to a sore on roof of mouth.

5. Burning Mouth Syndrome

This is a condition that is characterized by the sensation of a dry mouth. In most patients roof of the mouth hurts but the cause of the disease is unknown. It occurs mostly in postmenopausal women. Research has found that use of Alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant found in spinach, broccoli and potatoes has led to significant improvement in symptoms.

6. Cold sores

Also known as fever blisters, these small, painful blisters are mostly caused by the herpes simplex virus. Not only does the patient find that the roof of the mouth hurts but he might also find his roof of mouth swollen. Cold sores usually clear up without treatment but topical treatment of an oral get containing ethyl ether can numb the pain.

7. Canker sores

These are small shallow lesions that are not contagious but are painful. Often when the roof of the mouth hurts, there is a canker sore on roof of the mouth. These can be caused by stress, mouth injury, food allergy, hormonal changes or the deficiency of vitamins and minerals in diet specially folic acid, iron or Vitamin B 12. Usually canker sores go away by themselves; however in severe cases your Doctor may prescribe medicines called corticosteroids or a strong Chlorhexidine mouthwash.

8. Mouth Cancer

The lump on the roof of mouth may be a palate tumor. Don’t worry though; it won’t just be any painful bump on the roof of mouth. If you notice swelling in the roof of mouth that increases rapidly or a color change, you should seek immediate medical attention. Mouth cancer can be either lymphoma or melanoma. A lymphoma spreads from the tonsils or the tongue so the patient will find that the roof of the mouth hurts excessively. An oncologist will guide you to the treatment best suited to you which may be radiotherapy, chemotherapy or even surgery.

Roof of mouth irritation treatment

  • Avoid hot and spicy foods to avoid further irritation.
  • Avoid chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol. Tobacco can cause scratches and alcohol only exacerbates sores.
  • Stop smoking. When you smoke, a thousand tiny irritants go in to your mouth and throat that damage the sensitive tissue. Many smokers find that the roof of the mouth hurts more after smoking.
  • Control your stress levels as it can cause canker sores. People who meditate or do yoga daily rarely find that the roof of the mouth hurts.
  • Gargle with cool, salted water to ease the pain in your sores. People whose roof of the mouth hurts even find relief by swishing cold milk around their mouth.
  • Apply the gel found within an aloe vera leaf on the sores for fast relief.
  • People who find that the roof of the mouth hurts often have Vitamin B deficiency and should take a supplement.

When should you see a Doctor if your roof of mouth hurts?

Now you know what to do if someone tells you ‘the roof of my mouth hurts’ or ‘the roof of my mouth is sore’. However there are some conditions in which you must seek medical attention.

  • If you have pain in drinking fluids.
  • If you have unbearable pain.
  • If your sores spread or change color.
  • If you already have HIV or cancer.
  • If white patches appear on your tongue or palate.
  • If you have other symptoms like rash, fever or difficulty swallowing.


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  • Devon Dodd

    I have an area on the hard pallet of my mouth that feels like a good inch long blister. Whatever it is, I know that I hurts in extreme amounts. It feels like the swelling is pushing my front teeth… what can I do?

    • Ben

      I have exactly the same thing! I kicked in a few days after I bit into some unbelievably hot food.

      Did your issue go away by its self?

  • Tam

    my question: My son just recently started complaining for the last week of a his soft palette being hurting. I had never heard of this before.. I do have one son who has a cleft lip and palette if it had been him.. I would have not been so surpised.. his palette had to be created.. but this son, is my 18 yr old. reading about this being not so rare was a shock.. anyways. what can I do to help his pain.. so far he says it hurts when he eats. and drinks. he has been using my throat drops. that helped. what would cause this? what can I do to help?

  • sore mama

    The past 4-5 weeks i’v been in so much pain like unbelievable swollen sharp throbbing feels like it has its own heartbeat make that pulsating feeling in the roof of my mouth in the back everything and anything makes it worse to the point I don’t want to eat or drink cause most times it brings me to tears , normally the only in mouth problem I have is swollen glands witch I thought hurt till this happened to the roof of my mouth forever ago. I went to the Dr and he gave me some antibiotics for my throat took for 5 days like said too and there was no change in anything I just don’t know what to do it hurts so flipping much and i’v had 4 kids and this hurts much more then that I’m loosing weight I’m down to 113 pounds at the age of 32 from not wanting to eat cause if I try (even soup) cold soup 🙁 the roof of my mouth swells up more really bad…. someone plz any advice anything at all would help… thank you all xox

    • SN Meeks

      I really don’t feel sorry for you ,however if you have continued not to realize your doctor is a idiot then maybe you do need help GET ANOTHER DOCTOR !

      • Signify

        A mean and ruthless comment.

    • Signify

      Hopefully, you managed to see a dentist, or another medical provider. You posted this two years ago. Excruciating pain must always be attended to by a medical professional without delay.

  • Mary Mattio

    Is there statistical evidence that shows people who do yoga are less likely to have mouth pain?

    • Et al

      I think what they are referring to here is canker sores, which can be triggered by stress. Doing yoga can reduce stress levels, which in turn can reduce the instance of canker sores. Mouth pain is a very broad term that has many causes.