If you’ve ever had a canker sore, you know how irritating and alarming they can be. Unfortunately, canker sores are very common and can happen to anyone. Learn more about canker sores to help prevent and treat them.
What Is A Canker Sore?
Canker sores are small ulcers that can form anywhere inside your mouth ranging from the inside lip, tongue, soft palate or cheeks. They can cause a painful burning sensation or sensitivity to touch. Canker sores are round in shape and white or gray in color with a red border. The sores should not extend outside your mouth and are not contagious. Canker sores can be diagnosed at home or by your Cary, IL dentist.
What Causes A Canker Sore?
Dentists aren’t sure what exactly causes a canker sore, but they are linked to a combination of the factors listed below.
- Stress or minor injury to the mouth such as sports injuries or excessive brushing
- Toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate
- Food sensitivities, specifically spicy, citrus or acidic foods
- An allergic reaction to bacteria inside the mouth
- A diet lacking in vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron
- Emotional stress
- Hormone shifts during the menstrual cycle
Canker sores may also occur frequently in people who have weakened immune systems. Patients diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases, Behcet’s Disease, lupus or AIDS are often prone to canker sores.
How To Treat a Canker Sore
Most canker sores tend to clear up on their own in a few weeks. You can treat the symptoms of canker sores by applying ice to the sore or using over the counter topical products to numb the pain. A dentist may also prescribe an oral medication or mouth rinse to help speed up the healing process. You can help prevent canker sores by practicing good oral hygiene, reducing stress and eating a well-balanced diet.
When To Consult Your Cary, IL Dentist
Canker sores are usually not serious, but you should consult your dentist if the sores are unusually large, persist for longer than 2 weeks, you have persistent breakouts, extreme pain or a fever.