What Is Canker Sores??
Canker sores are also called aphthous ulcers those are small, shallow lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth or at the base of your gums. Unlike cold sores, canker sores don’t occur on the surface of your lips and they aren’t contagious. They can be painful, however, and can make eating and talking difficult.
Most canker sores go away on their own in a week or two. Check with your doctor or dentist if you have unusually large or painful canker sores or canker sores that don’t seem to heal.
What Causes Canker Sores?
The exact cause of most canker sores is still unknown. Stress or tissue injury is thought to be the cause of simple canker sores. Certain foods — including citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables can trigger a canker sore or make the problem worse. Sometimes a sharp tooth surface or dental appliances, such as braces or ill-fitting dentures, might also trigger canker sores.
Some cases of complex canker sores are caused by an underlying health condition, such as an impaired immune system; nutritional problems, such as vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron deficiency; or gastrointestinal tract diseases, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.
Most mouth sores occur as a result of irritation. Many things can irritate the mouth and lead to sores, including:
- Poorly fitting dentures
- A sharp or broken tooth
- Braces or other devices, such as retainers
- Burning the mouth on hot food or beverages
- Tobacco products
In other cases, mouth sores may develop due to:
- Certain medications, including beta-blockers
- Highly acidic foods
- Quitting tobacco
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy
- Vitamin and folate deficiencies
What Are The Symptoms??
Most canker sores are round or oval with a white or yellow center and a red border. They form inside your mouth — on or under your tongue, inside your cheeks or lips, at the base of your gums, or on your soft palate. You might notice a tingling or burning sensation a day or two before the sores actually appear.
- A burning, tingling, or prickling sensation, up to 24 hours before the sore appears
- Crater-like ulcers that are white, gray, or yellow in color, with a red border
- Sores are usually painful
- Difficulty speaking, eating or swallowing
Less common symptoms that can also indicate a more serious underlying infection include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
- Thrush infection in your mouth or throat
How Many Types Of Canker Sores Are There??
Minor canker sores
Minor canker sores are the most common and:
- These Are usually small.
- These Are oval-shaped with a red edge
- They Heal without scarring in one to two weeks
Major canker sores
Major canker sores are less common and:
- They Are larger and deeper than minor canker sores
- They Are usually round with defined borders but may have irregular edges when very large.
- They Can be extremely painful
- They may take up to six weeks to heal and can leave extensive scarring
Herpetiform canker sores
Herpetiform canker sores are uncommon and usually develop later in life, but they’re not caused by herpes virus infection. These canker sores:
- They Are pinpoint size
- Often occur in clusters of 10 to 100 sores, but may merge into one large ulcer
- They Have irregular edges
- They Heal without scarring in one to two weeks
When to see a doctor??
- Unusually large sores
- Sores that are spreading
- Sores that last 3 weeks or longer
- Intolerable pain despite avoiding trigger foods and taking over-the-counter pain medication
- Difficulty drinking enough fluids
- High fever with the appearance of the canker sores
What Are The Prevention Measures?
Canker sores often recur, but you may be able to reduce their frequency by following these tips:
- Watch what you eat.
- Choose healthy foods.
- Follow good oral hygiene habits.
- Protect your mouth.
- Reduce your stress.
What natural or home remedies cure canker sores?
If you already have a canker sore, there are home remedies that can be used to help relieve the pain or irritation caused by the sore and to speed healing:
- Topical medications applied directly on the sore, mouthwashes, and oral medications can relieve pain or inflammation.
- Allow ice chips to dissolve slowly in your mouth for relief of pain.
- Avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits or spicy foods that may aggravate the sore.
- If there is any vitamin deficiency (a doctor can test for this), take supplementation as prescribed.
- Brush teeth gently and use a brush with soft bristles.
- Use toothpaste and mouthwash that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Another home remedy is to mix milk of magnesia with Benadryl liquid and use as a mouth rinse. You can also dab milk of magnesia directly onto the canker sore with a cotton swab.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water or baking soda rinse. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda per ½ cup water, and rinse.
- Other natural remedies include goldenseal mouth rinse, deglycyrrhizinated licorice(DGL) gargled in warm water, and saltwater rinses.
- Zinc lozenges may help provide relief and speed healing time. Do not give lozenges to young children, as they may be a choking risk
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