The Best 101 Guide On Why Does The Roof Of My Mouth Hurt

Do you experience pain in the roof of your mouth? Is the pain too bad to tolerate? Is it a frequent condition that you suffer from? Is the cause of the pain life-threatening? This article will answer one of the most frequently asked questions, “Why does the roof of my mouth hurt?”

What is the cause behind the pain in the roof of your mouth? Too many questions! Get your curious mind some rest, as all your questions will be answered through this article.

Pain in the roof of the mouth can be troublesome as it generates discomfort in daily processes like swallowing, drinking, talking, and opening-closing of the mouth. The roof of the mouth is also known as the hard palate, situated in the maxilla 1or upper jaw of the oral cavity.

boy sticking out tongue
Image by Wian Juanico from Pixabay

We often ignore the pain in the hard palate, but there can be variegated underlying reasons. Generally, the reasons are not of major concern, but some can be serious too.

Early diagnosis of the root cause behind the pain is a necessity as in severe cases that require treatment, options may become minimal and life-threatening.

It is important to note other symptoms like the swollen palate, burning sensations, and sore roof can also contribute to the pain in the roof of the mouth, where seeking professional medical advice is preferred.

1. Why Does The Roof Of My Mouth Hurt

The causes of pain in the roof of the mouth can be numerous, and jumping to conclusions isn’t a wise solution. A few things are to be kept in mind while jotting down the symptoms like dry mouth, inflammation, redness, mouth ulcers, and pain while eating hard foods as these are some of the most common conditions observed along with the pain in the roof of the mouth.

Listed below are the four major reasons, which are seen as a sign of when to seek medical attention.

1.1. Canker Sores

What is CANKER SORES? Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are the most common type of ulcers. They are small and shallow and can be quite painful at times. They can occur at various sites in the mouth like the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, and the roof of the mouth.

A mouth sore occurs only on the inside of the mouth, having a range of colors from grey, and yellow to white, and a red border. A mouth sore or ulcer can usually heal naturally without leaving behind any scars.

The major difference between aphthous ulcers2 and a cold sore is that aphthous ulcers are not contagious and occur in the mouth tissue. In contrast, cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are contagious.

The cause behind canker sores is not specific. Still, it has numerous causes like hormones, stress, allergic response to certain agents, improper diet, and food sensitivities- sensitivity to hot food, hot drinks, or irritating foods.

Canker sore may occur due to certain medical conditions like a weak immune system, inflammatory bowel disease, and bacterial infections.

The healing process requires over-the-counter medicines for the pain and rinsing the mouth’s roof with salt and water. It usually takes up to seven to eleven days for this medical condition to completely heal.

1.2. Burns

cozy coffee cup hands 1280
Image by Alehandra13 from Pixabay

Burning is a quite frequent cause that encourages discomfort in the roof of your mouth. The roof of your mouth is prone to burning as it is a sensitive area. The burns can occur due to the consumption of hot foods, and it is suggested to avoid foods that elevate the pain in the roof of the mouth, making the burned palate worse.

It becomes difficult to eat and drink as the fluid-filled blisters irritate. The burned palate is the ‘pizza palate,’ which usually takes three to seven days to cure.

Spicy foods or hot foods exceeding the temperature of 80 degrees C may lead to bumps, blisters, and inflammation. Avoid irritating, acidic foods to suppress and heal the burns, replacing them with bland foods.

1.3. Oral Cancer

ORAL CANCER and tumors in the mouth, lips and tongue ©

Most people take mouth pain very lightly and leave it untreated, assuming that it will heal naturally. But if the pain persists for more than two weeks, it is considered a signal for you to go and consult a doctor.

As we discussed earlier, the root cause of mouth pain could be fatal or minor. Therefore persisting pain is a sign of a serious medical condition.

Oral cancer is detected by sore throat, canker sore, cold sore, other mouth sores, lump in the mouth, and other symptoms. Oral cancer 3can occur anywhere in the mouth, like the tongue, salivary glands, the roof of the mouth, or the lips.

An oral surgeon treats mouth cancer depending on its intensity and damage caused. But if the cancer is caught early then, the treatment can be initiated rapidly. Oral surgeons provide medical advice regarding the next steps, including surgical excision of the tumor and killing the cancer-causing cells.

1.4. Cold Sore

Cold Sores | Oral Herpes | Causes, Signs & Symptoms, Treatment

Many people confuse canker sores with cold sores. The difference factor between the two is that cold sores are contagious and are related to HSV-1. The infection with the herpes simplex virus causes cold sores. The symptoms associated with a mouth sore are-

  • High body temperature
  • headache
  • nausea
  • pain in the hard palate
  • blisters

It spreads if you come in direct contact with or are infected with HSV-1. It damages the skin as it progresses and causes irritation along with the symptoms listed above. The exchange of body fluids with infected persons can result in cold sores.

The treatment includes over-the-counter creams, gels, and medicines that ease the burning sensation and swollen mouth due to cold sores.

So these 4 are the immediate answers to your question, “Why does the roof of my mouth hurt.”

Apart from the conditions mentioned above, burning mouth syndrome, oral thrush, and severe periodontitis require medical attention if the pain persists for a longer period.

To avoid symptoms that worsen the condition of your mouth, there are a few key points that you can keep in mind to improve your condition on your own.

Burning mouth syndrome symptoms are mostly observed during the morning than later in the day. Common in most menopausal women, it is caused by oral thrush, acid reflux, and stress, and it results in a burning sensation throughout the mouth.

Keep a note of the following associated signs and symptoms:

  • swelling
  • runny nose
  • dry mouth
  • pigmentation
  • blisters
  • sore throat
  • mouth sores
  • burning/tingling sensation
  • fever

3. Can Pain In The Roof Of Mouth Be Life-Threatening

breast cancer awareness pink ribbon
Photo by Angiola Harry on Unsplash

Not all pains are life-threatening. Some require a recovery time of four to seven days, like a canker sore. In contrast, conditions like oral cancers, if not detected early, can lead to complete surgical removal and further complications affecting other organs.

4. The Red Spots Seen On The Roof Of  Mouth

Red Spots on Roof of Mouth

Red spots seen on the hard palate are a result of excessive alcohol consumption. Some people drink heavily but don’t realize that instead of managing stress (which is also a cause of mouth sore) in this manner, they are inviting more stress into their lives!

Alcohol encourages oral disorders that promote pain in the mouth.

5. Can Dehydration Be A Cause

What is Dehydration? Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Dehydration is a condition that has many adverse effects associated with it. It occurs when there is an electrolyte imbalance and a deficiency of water in the body. It results in weakness, fainting, less activeness, and pain in several parts of the body.

It contributes to the pain in the roof of your mouth by causing swelling/inflammation, and muscle spasms which cause pain and discomfort. Excessive alcohol intake, sweating, medications, and deficient water intake can cause dehydration.

Adequate water and fluid intake keeps the body hydrated for daily activities and metabolic processes essential for a healthy lifestyle. It prevents dehydration and helps in maintaining oral hygiene.4

6. Home Treatments For Pain In The Roof Of Your Mouth

colorful vegetable stir fry recipe
Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

As the pain begins in the roof of your mouth, before consulting the doctor, there are a few things that you can do at home to suppress and relieve the pain. This section will help you take things into your own hands!

  • Observe the symptoms
  • Keep an eye on the color of the sore (if present)
  • Avoid spicy, hot food and drinks
  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Use over-the-counter medicines to cure the pain
  • Maintain your oral hygiene
  • Rinse mouth with salt and water 3 times a day
  • Apply ointment or gels if the sore gets worse
  • Consult a doctor if the pain persists
  • Jot down all the changes observed

7. When To See A Doctor

Once you find out the answer to “Why does the roof of my mouth hurt,” the next thing to know is when to consult a doctor.

This is the most common question that arises when it comes to deciding if the condition of your palate is critical or not. But how to figure out if the pain in the roof of your mouth is serious or not?

The simplest solution to this dilemma is to observe your symptoms and the duration of the pain. The intensity of the pain alone cannot be a deciding factor here in this condition. The key factor is the duration.

If the pain is prolonged and not healing despite initiating home remedies, then it is a call alarm for you to step out and visit a doctor.

People tend to ignore the pain thinking it will go away in a few days, and that is where we all go wrong! If there is a consistency in the pain and discomfort, it is advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Sometimes oral cancers turn out to be fatal because of a delay in the diagnosis. Early detection reduces the risk of radiation and surgery.

A simple bacterial infection can turn hazardous if not treated properly by a doctor. Therefore, it is wise to consult a doctor under the following conditions:

  • prolonged pain
  • change in color of the sore
  • prolonged symptoms
  • intense pain in the opening and closing action of the mouth

8. Swelling In The Roof Of Your Mouth

dental exam closeup
Image by Vanessafrazao from Pixabay

Swelling is a cardinal sign of acute inflammation and a signal that the body is trying to show you that something might be wrong.

The swelling in the hard palate is also known as a palatal torus. The vast majority of swellings are due to lesions related to minor tumors and cysts. The oral surgeon takes radiographs to determine the cause of the swelling. Some other causes are as follows:

  • dehydration
  • blisters
  • spasms
  • canker sores
  • electrolyte imbalance
  • heavy alcohol intake

9. Importance Of Diet In Healing The Pain

Why does the roof of my mouth hurt
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is what we all desire, but certain rules must be followed to make that happen. And the most vital of them is to have a properly balanced diet. A balanced diet helps keep the metabolism good and helps decrease the effect of invasive foreign agents on an individual’s body which cause diseases that contribute to the pain in the roof of your mouth.

When the immune system is strong, mouth sores like canker sores and cold sores heal rapidly. Hence, it is observed that a healthy diet makes a huge difference in the life of an individual suffering from pain in the hard palate.

10. Conclusion

Being aware of your health and bodily processes is part of a healthy lifestyle. Attributes that comprise the pain in the hard palate are correlated to lifestyle, diet, hormones, and stress management.

The maintenance of oral hygiene is a key ingredient in avoiding pain in the roof of your mouth. Instead of instantly assuming the worst, having the proper knowledge of your condition is a must.

Some of the causes of the pain are canker sores, oral cancer, cold sores, burns, trauma, poor oral hygiene, infections, and diseases. It is not a certainty that all the mentioned conditions are chronic or acute.

A diversification is observed in the cases. Some can be acute and some chronic. It is vital to follow up on your symptoms as most require treatments.

It is best advised to check up with your doctor when home remedies aren’t working. Home remedies are not the permanent solution.

I hope now you have a clear answer to the question, “Why does the roof of my mouth hurt.” There isn’t one specific cause for it, but there are various reasons. And the best way to avoid it is to maintain proper oral health.


1. Can teeth grinding cause pain in the roof of the mouth?

A. Yes, teeth grinding (bruxism5) can cause pain in the roof of the mouth. The pressure and friction from grinding your teeth can lead to discomfort and soreness in various parts of the mouth, including the palate.

2. Is a sore palate a sign of oral cancer?

A. While a sore palate can have various causes, including minor irritations, it’s essential to be aware that persistent sores, ulcers, or lesions in the mouth that don’t heal should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. In some cases, they could be a sign of oral cancer.

3. Can dehydration cause the roof of the mouth to hurt?

A. Dehydration can lead to dry mouth, which might cause discomfort in the roof of the mouth. When there isn’t enough saliva production, the tissues in the mouth can become irritated and sore.

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Proofread by:

Dr. Foram Bhuta

Dentist (B.D.S)
  1. Enlow, Donald H., and Seong Bang. “Growth and remodeling of the human maxilla.” (1965). ↩︎
  2. Messadi, Diana V., and Fariba Younai. “Aphthous ulcers.” Dermatologic therapy 23.3 (2010): 281-290. ↩︎
  3. Kademani, Deepak. “Oral cancer.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Vol. 82. No. 7. Elsevier, 2007. ↩︎
  4. Shanbhag, Vagish Kumar L. “Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene–A review.” Journal of traditional and complementary medicine 7.1 (2017): 106-109. ↩︎
  5. Shetty, Shilpa, et al. “Bruxism: a literature review.” The Journal of Indian prosthodontic society 10 (2010): 141-148. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf


Ridhi Panwar

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