|Table of Contents|
|What causes canker sores?|
|Symptoms of canker sores|
|How to treat canker sores?|
|Canker sore prevention|
by John Baker
Cancer Sores (also referred to as aphthous ulcers) are irritations which develop inside the mouth. Though often confused with cold sores they are inherently different. Cold Sores commonly form on the outside of the mouth and can be contagious, while canker sores are found inside the mouth and are not considered contagious at all.
A canker sore is a shallow sore that appears on the inside of your lip, cheek or tongue. They most often have a red border which surrounds a white or yellow center and can be painful at times. The places where canker sores can appear are:
- On the tongue
- On the insides of the cheeks or lips
- On the roof of the mouth
- On the base of the gums
Canker sores are often found in adolescents and young adults. In fact, it is said that 20% of Americans are afflicted by canker sores. However, women are more likely to be afflicted than men are. People generally receive their first canker sore between the ages of 10 and 40.
There are three different types of canker sores
1. Simple canker sores (Minor Aphthous Somatitis)
Simple canker sores can appear three to four times a year and last up to about week. They typically occur in people between 10 and 20 years of age and are the most common form of canker sores.
2. Complex canker sores (Major Aphthous Somatitis)
Complex canker sores are less common and occur more often in people who have previously been afflicted by them in the past.
3. HerpetiformAphthous Somatitis
This is the least common form of canker sores. It occurs in less than 5% of people with canker sores.
What cause canker sores?
A lot of people wonder how you get canker sores in the first place. The true cause of a canker sore is not known, but the theory is that it can be induced through stress or tissue injury. Some acidic or citrus foods and vegetables like oranges and tomatoes may make canker sores worse or possibly even trigger them. Though there is no way of knowing what are the direct causes of canker sores, there are several factors which promote canker sore growth:
1. Stress Induced
2. Tissue Injury
3. Hormonal Changes
4. Dietary Influences
5. A Broken Tooth
Some dental appliances like braces could also trigger a canker sore, as well as maybe a sharp tooth.
Health conditions can also remote canker sores such as nutritional problems, impaired immune systems, iron deficiency or a gastrointestinal tract disease like Chron’s disease. Nutritional deficiencies like the absence of b-12, zinc or folic acid may cause or trigger them as well.
Symptoms of canker sores
The first stage of a canker sore initially begins with a burning feeling within your mouth. It is commonly accompanied with inflammation and pain during eating or talking. The most noticeable symptom of a canker sore is a white or yellow ulcer surrounded by a red border.
Some of the other symptoms include:
- Burning sensation in the mouth
- Small ulcers throughout the mouth and usually last up to ten days. These are surrounded by a red border.
Minor cases of canker sores can be sorted out in 1 to 3 weeks. Generally speaking the pain will last from one week to ten days, but major cases can take up to 6 weeks to heal.
Some of the less common symptoms associated with canker sores are:
- Discomfort or uneasiness
- Inflamed lymph nodes
How to treat canker sores?
There are many different ways to relieve pain from or cure a canker sore. If you have a canker sore you will not usually have to do anything, it will go away in a day or two, and heal without treatment. But there are larger ones that may require a dentist to prescribe something to help treat it.
There is no cure for Canker Sores but they can be reduced in frequency by;:
- Avoiding citrus and acidic foods
- Avoiding irritating your gums with chewing gum
- Making sure to brush and floss daily
- Oral care products and antiseptic mouth rinses
- Vitamin and nutritional supplements
If none of these treatments are successful and your canker sore persists for more than 14 days, you should consult your dentist for additional treatment recommendations to help manage the sores.
For extreme cases of canker sore outbreak, your dentist may recommend certain oral medications or corticoid steroids to alleviate the pain and help speed up the recovery time.
Canker sore prevention
As of now there are no proven techniques or strategies to prevent canker sore outbreaks. Because the causes of canker sores are difficult to predict it makes the prevention process even more difficult. Once you have identified the source for your canker sources you can eliminate that source for further prevention.
While this is true, there is something you can do to help the prevention process:
- Eliminating acidic foods from your diet
- Stress Reduction
- Avoid gum chewing or toothpastes which contain sodium lauryl sulfate
- Proper oral hygiene; using a soft bristled tooth-brush and flossing after meals every day.
- Have irregular dental surfaces repaired
- Making sure you are receiving the appropriate amounts of iron, B12 and other vitamins
When to consult your doctor about your cold sore?
1. If you sores persist for more than two weeks
2. If you are having sores for the first time
3. If the sores are very large or start to spread
4. If you are experiencing a great deal of pain
5. If the canker sore is causing a fever, rashes or joint pain
Dietary and Vitamin Supplements
One of the major causes of developing canker sores is vitamin deficiency. Depleting your body of some the much needed vitamins and minerals such as iron and Vitamin B12 can result in the development of future canker sores. Below are several of the dietary supplements which can help supply your body with the vitamins needed to prevent canker sores from developing
- Assists in the production of healthy bacteria
Calendula, Capsicum, Comfrey, Peppermint and Alfalfa
- Each help the treatment of canker sores
- Used as a natural antibiotic
- Commonly applied to sores
- Prevents future canker sores
Multivitamin and Mineral Complex
- Fills the body with much needed minerals
Vitamin A, Vitamin B and Vitamin C
- Helps fight off infection, increase the immune system and spreads up the healing process.
With the right balance of vitamins and minerals your body can do its job in preventing future outbreaks of canker sores and spreadable infections.