Canker Sores: Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Woman Showing Lip With Canker Sore | Dental & Denture Clinic

What are canker sores?
A canker sore, also known as an aphthous ulcer, is an easy-to-identify condition that occurs when small lesions form on the soft tissues in your mouth. Although canker sores are uncomfortable and often painful, they rarely are a cause for concern and typically don’t require medical attention.

The two types of canker sores that exist are simple canker sores and complex canker sores.

Simple canker sores tend to have the following characteristics:
-Small in size
-Oval shaped and have red edges
-Heal without treatment in one to two weeks
-Typically form up to four times a year

While complex canker sores have the following characteristics:
-Deeper and larger in size
-They have defined found borders
-Can last for up to one month
-Scarring is common

What are the causes of canker sores?
Although the exact cause of canker sores is still unknown, researchers have identified some factors that may contribute to their formation:
– Physical damage to the interior of the mouth including small cuts and abrasions.
– Use of dental hygiene products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate
– Food sensitivities such as citrus fruits and spicy foods
– Sudden increases in stress
– Hormonal changes
– Lack of nutrients including iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and folic acid
– Conditions such as celiac diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, and immune system diseases

What are some common canker sore treatments?
Although canker sores heal on their own without intervention, the pain can be severe enough where you may seek a treatment option. It is important to keep in mind that most of the options that are marketed towards canker sores have not been clinically tested. Because of this, the effectiveness varies greatly from person to person. With that said, here are the most common treatments for canker sores:
– Mouthwashes containing steroids
– Anesthetics
– Antiseptic ointments and rinses such as hydrogen peroxide
– Nutritional supplementation for iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and folic acid

How can I prevent canker sores?
Canker sores can be hard to prevent since a precise cause is not known. However, there are some precautions you can take to decrease the chance of a canker sore forming.
-Avoid eating abrasive and acidic foods that may irritate your mouth
-Maintain healthy dental hygiene habits
-Avoid using products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate
-Maintain reduced stress levels

Good oral hygiene is the biggest contributor to the prevention of canker sores.

Most canker sores disappear in about seven to ten days, but if you have a canker sore that lasts more than two weeks, you should schedule an appointment at Dental & Denture Clinic. We’ll be glad to take care of it!