Canker Sores 101

Canker Sores 101

Jan 01, 2020

Have you ever had tiny bruises in your mouth that make it hard to eat or speak properly? Well, you are not alone. Most of us have at one time or another suffered from mouth ulcers that cause excruciating pain. These ulcers are referred to as canker sores, and they are more common than you think. Plus, they affect people of all ages but are common in women and young adults.

Although canker sores sound serious, they are nothing to be worried about because they are treatable. Keep reading to find out more about canker sores.

What are Canker Sores?

Canker sores or aphthous ulcers are small wounds found inside the mouth which make eating and drinking a challenge. Mouth ulcers range from minor to severe depending on the cause and the symptoms.

Minor or simple canker sores are tiny wounds that mostly affect people aged 10 to 20 years. These wounds heal after a week without scaring.

Complete or major canker sores, on the other hand, are large wounds that scar easily and take two weeks to clear up.

Are Canker and Cold Sores Same?

Although they both affect the mouth, canker and cold sores are not the same. Canker sores appear on the inside while cold sores affect the outside. Cold sores also called herpes simplex type 1 or fever blisters are highly contagious and can also appear under the nose. Canker sores are not contagious.

What Are the Risk Factors of Canker Sores?

The cause of canker sores is not known, but doctors believe that factors like compromised immunity, stress, vitamin deficiency, allergies, and diet are triggers.

Mouth ulcers are also common in women because of hormonal imbalance. Genetics may also play a role in the recurrence of the canker sores.

What are the Canker Sores Symptoms?

A tingling sensation in your mouth is always a warning sign of canker sores. Afterward, you will experience pain, fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.

Canker sores clear up in a few days. However, if you have unusually huge sores, ulcers that last for more than three weeks, high fever, or sores that spread, you need to come to visit us immediately for treatment.

What is the Recommended Treatment?

Various treatment options are available, but at Graham Family Dental we offer laser therapy for the treatment of canker and cold sores.

Our dentist applies a gentle light for ten minutes on each sore to promote healing. The laser light penetrates deep within the tissues, thereby treating the mucosal sores and preventing a re-infection.

Additionally, laser therapy has less discomfort and gives relief in the first 24 hours and healing within three days.

Laser therapy is effective as you will have fewer recurrent episodes after the treatment.

Other treatment that you may use include:

  • Mouthwashes especially antibacterial can help relieve the discomfort. Additionally, they detoxify the mouth and clean off any bacteria that may increase the risk of infection.
  • Nutritional supplements can also be given if vitamin deficiency is the cause of the mouth ulcers. Vitamin B12 and zinc deficiencies are common culprits for canker sores.
  • Oral medications can also help, but our dentist will prescribe the appropriate medication to ease discomfort.

Are There Home Remedies?

Yes. If the sores are minor or mild, you can use home remedies to get rid of the pain. Topical products such as medicated gels and creams work effectively. You can also use an ice pack and milk of magnesia.

Avoiding acidic, hot, and spicy foods can help hasten the healing process.

What Can You Do to Prevent Canker Sores?

The cause is unknown, but you can reduce a reoccurrence, by using a soft-bristled toothbrush, eating nutrient-dense foods, dealing with hormonal imbalance, and protecting your gums.

Come for an Assessment

If you have a recurrent canker or cold sores, it could be a sign of an underlying condition. Come to our dental clinic for an assessment and discussion on the risk factors. At Graham Family Dental we offer canker and cold sore treatment as part of your general dentistry services.

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