3 Important Things to Know About Canker Sores

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1. What Is A Canker Sore


Canker sores are small, shallow sores inside the mouth or at the base of the gums. These painful sores develop as ovals or circles, often white or yellow in the center surrounded by ring of red inflamed tissue. Unlike a cold sore, a canker sore won’t appear on the outside of your lips and isn’t contagious.


Canker sores can be painful and easily irritated by anything touching them. In most cases they clear up on their own in just a few weeks. The most common site of a canker sore is the inner lips and cheeks, but sometimes they will be found under the tongue or in the hard and soft tissue of the palate and gums.


Canker sores affect people of all ages from toddlers to the elderly. They usually diminish in frequency as you age. About 25 percent of the American population suffers from recurring canker sores in a condition called recurrent aphthous stomatitis.


Lots of things can cause canker sores, therefore its diagnoses in each patient dealing with oral ulcers may be different. Common factors include trauma, such as biting your cheek and the site not being able to heal, hormonal changes, stress, adverse reactions to medications, food sensitivities, and nutritional deficiencies. In some cases recurrent canker sores are caused by viral infections such as herpes, HIV, and IBS. These infections compromise the immune system and create susceptibility to the development of oral ulcers.

2. How To Treat Canker Sores At Home


Canker sores are one of the most common oral concern people have. Thankfully these irritating and painful sores are able to heal on their own without needing a visit to your dentist when you notice a canker sore. Most of the treatment offered is designed to alleviate the symptoms of the canker sore until it heals itself.


It is helpful to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash or a solution of saltwater to hasten healing. It is also important to steer clear of any foods that may irritate the canker sore, so you can allow it to heal as fast as possible. This can include, spicy, acidic, or rough, abrasive foods. As stress can trigger the development of an oral ulcer, it may be beneficial to take some time to just relax and allow your body to heal.

3. When You Should See A Dentist


In most cases canker sores will heal on their own. However, if a sore has not healed by two weeks after developing, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. On the not-so-serious side of the spectrum you may have developed a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics and oral bandages that can protect the sore from your teeth and tongue while it heals. However, persistent oral sores can also be a symptom of oral cancer, and it is always better to be screened as soon as possible to diagnose and treat oral cancer.

If you have a particularly painful and persistent canker sore do not hesitate to call your dentist for advice as we can help treat the symptoms and provide a screen for oral cancer as well.

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