Canker sores, also known as the aphthous ulcers are shallow and small lesions which develop on the soft tissues found inside the mouth. The sores can also develop on tongue, cheeks, gums, lips or throat. They can be very painful, making talking and eating difficult but they are not contagious. Canker sores can develop as one or in groups and they are generally yellow or white with a red border.
The main symptom of canker sores is a tingling or burning sensation which occurs in the area where the sore is developing.
Types of Canker Sores
1. Simple Canker Sores
They are usually small and oval shaped. Simple canker sores usually heal in one or two weeks without any scarring.
2. Complex Canker Sores
They are deeper, larger and have round irregular edges. Complex canker sores can take up to even six weeks to heal. They mostly occur in people who have had the condition previously.
Causes of Canker Sores
The precise cause of this condition has not yet been established although medical researchers believe that some of the possible triggers include:
• A family history of canker sores.
• Minor oral injuries resulting from cheek bite, dental work, excessive brushing etc.
• Allergic reactions.
• Acidic foods
• Lack of vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, folate, Vitamin B12 etc.
• Mouthwash and toothpaste which contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
• Emotional stress
• Hormonal changes.
Certain diseases and conditions may also trigger canker sores and they include:
• Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
• Celiac disease.
• Behcet’s disease
• A weak immune system which fails to attack pathogens in the mouth.
How Canker Sores May Be Prevented
Eating Healthy Foods
Watch what you eat and ensure that your diet is healthy in order to avoid nutritional deficiency. Your diet should include fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. Also try to avoid foods which irritate your mouth e.g. spicy foods, acidic fruits, nuts etc. Avoid eating foods that you are allergic or sensitive to.
Have a Good Oral Hygiene
Ensure that you floss daily and brush your teeth after meals. To prevent oral irritation, use a soft brush and avoid mouthwash and toothpaste which are manufactured with sodium lauryl sulfate.
One of the potential triggers of canker sores is stress. To prevent and reduce the recurrence of this condition, learn how to manage stress using techniques such as guided imagery and meditation.
Protect Your Mouth
You can ask your dentist about braces, orthodontic waxes and other dental appliances which you can use to protect your mouth.
Treatment of Canker Sores
Since the exact cause of this condition isn’t known, there is no any specific treatment and as a matter of fact, the sores usually heal on their own within a couple of weeks without any treatment. However, a dentist may use dental laser which will provide the patient with immediate relief. If you have any dental problem or questions, you can contact us ProCare Dentistry for a consultation and appointment (561) 737-5530.