Why Does the Back Of My Mouth Hurt? Causes And Treatment

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Experiencing pain in your mouth can be a real annoyance, especially when it interferes with your ability to eat. But what’s causing the pain in the back of your mouth? And how can it be treated?

Pain in the back of the mouth can be caused by something simple like a cold or a more serious condition like HPV or oral cancer. Most of the time, the pain will fade on its own within a couple of days. If it doesn’t, it’s best to see a dentist to discuss treatment options. 

If you’re still not sure why there’s pain in the back of your mouth, don’t worry. Let’s take a closer look at the causes behind mouth pain and some of the home remedies you can use to alleviate it. 

What’s Causing Pain on the Back of My Mouth?

Unhappy woman on white background

There are several different ailments that could be causing pain in the back of your mouth. Take a look at the below conditions and see if any of them might be the culprit in your case.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores are little wounds that can form in your mouth. There are several different types of mouth sores, some of which are caused by a cold, stress, or hormones. 

If you’ve recently been ill, then mouth sores are one of the most likely causes of your mouth pain. You can check by using a flashlight to look at the back and roof of your mouth. Check for red sores. 

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is a fungal infection you can contract in your mouth. It’s basically a yeast infection, and those who have a weakened immune system are more likely to contract it. 

You can check for oral thrush by looking for yellow or white lesions on the roof of your mouth. These sores may also bleed. 


The human papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to warts in the mouth that can cause you pain. These warts are white in color and may seem to grow with time. 

Mouth Trauma

Your mouth is a very tender place full of thin layers of skin. Therefore, you can scratch, cut, or burn the inside of your mouth.

These small traumas can cause pain in your mouth. Check the back of your mouth for any visible traumas, but keep in mind that although some scratches and burns might be too small to be visible, they can still cause you pain. 

Oral Cancer

Mouth pain is a very serious symptom of oral cancer, but this symptom won’t appear on its own. If you’re experiencing mouth pain in addition to other symptoms, like fever and headache, then it’s critical to make an appointment with your dentist right away. 

Treatment for Common Causes of Mouth Pain 

Young sad woman suffering from tooth pain

Generally, there isn’t a specific treatment for pain on the roof of your mouth, especially when the pain is a result of sores or trauma. Most of the time, the pain will dissipate in a few days without any intervention. 

In the meantime, you should drink plenty of water. If you’re in excruciating pain, however, you can take a pain reliever like ibuprofen (on Amazon) or acetaminophen (also on Amazon). Using mouthwash may also temporarily relieve the pain from mouth sores. 

Alternatively, you can make a saltwater rinse with 1 teaspoon of salt in a half cup of warm water and swish it around your mouth. This will help numb mouth sores, particularly canker sores. 

It’s always acceptable to apply ice to the part of your mouth that hurts. This may help numb the area a bit, but it may not always help if your mouth pain is caused by something other than trauma. 

If the pain continues past a few days, then it’s more likely your mouth pain is caused by a more serious ailment like HPV or oral cancer. In these cases, it’s best to see a dentist for a prescription rather than trying to self-medicate. 

How to Prevent Mouth Pain and Soreness Before It Happens 

No one wants to experience mouth pain, which is why it’s best to prevent it before it happens. In most cases, mouth pain is preventable as long as you do the following.

  • Don’t chew tobacco products
  • Don’t eat food that’s too hot
  • Take small bites
  • Don’t eat overly acidic or spicy foods

If you do all of these things, there’s still a chance you may experience mouth pain, but it’s much less likely to occur. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are several reasons the back of your mouth could be hurting. Whether you have canker sores, HPV, or you simply hurt your mouth in some way, the pain can be very frustrating and uncomfortable.

If the pain doesn’t dissipate within a few days, it’s definitely time to see the dentist. They can help direct you to the cause of your mouth pain and prescribe the right treatment to help you heal. 

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