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Canker Sores 101

by | Mar 15, 2023

Canker sores are a common yet concerning issue for many adults. They can be uncomfortable, painful and sometimes embarrassing to deal with. But, understanding why they occur and how to treat them effectively is essential for managing your oral health. That’s why we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to Canker Sores 101 – so you can gain insight into what causes these lesions, get tips on prevention and know when it’s time to see a professional if necessary. 

Read on for everything you need to know about dealing with canker sores.

Canker Sores

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small, painful sores that develop inside the mouth, typically on the cheeks, tongue, gums, or base of the gums. They are usually round or oval in shape and have a red border with a yellow or white center. 

Canker sores can range in size from small to large, and they can be accompanied by a burning or tingling sensation.

The exact cause of canker sores is not known, but there are several factors that may contribute to their formation. Some of the known causes include:

  • Injuries to the mouth, such as biting the inside of the cheek or lip
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Deficiencies in certain nutrients, such as iron, zinc, or B-12
  • Certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Certain foods, such as acidic fruits and vegetables, chocolate, and nuts, may also trigger canker sores.

What Can I Do About My Canker Sores?

Canker sores can be very uncomfortable, especially when they insist on staying for long periods of time. Here are a few tips on how to soothe the pain to make the recovery more manageable:

  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help relieve pain.
  • Apply topical medication such as a numbing gel or cream to the affected area to help reduce pain and discomfort.
  • Rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution to help reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.
  • Avoid foods that may irritate the sore, such as acidic fruits and vegetables, chocolate, and nuts.
  • Avoid spicy, crunchy, or hard foods that can irritate or cause injury to the canker sore.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth gently to avoid accidentally causing injury to the canker sore.
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco products, which can irritate the mouth and slow the healing process.
  • Practice good oral hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing regularly to maintain a healthy mouth and prevent future outbreaks of canker sores.

When Should I Consult my Dentist about Canker Sores

It is generally appropriate to consult your dentist about ongoing canker sores if they do not heal within two weeks or if they are causing severe pain and discomfort. 

Additionally, it is important to see a dentist if you have frequent or recurrent canker sores, or if the sores are large or deep. 

Canker sores can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as a nutritional deficiency or an autoimmune disorder, and a dentist can help to identify and address these underlying issues.

Furthermore, if you have canker sores that are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, or difficulty swallowing, it’s also important to see a dentist as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate a more serious condition, such as an infection or cancer, and prompt diagnosis and treatment are necessary.

The Solution for Canker Sores in Raleigh

If you are experiencing frequent or recurrent canker sores or if they are not healing, it’s time to contact Triangle Dentistry. Our experienced team will carefully examine the situation and ask all the important questions in order to ascertain potential causes. Don’t let your dental health suffer – get help from our reliable professionals today.

Canker Sores may appear to be a superficial issue, but it is possible that there are more pressing dental issues involved. Don’t put off the help you need – contact our office today for an appointment and let us assist with your oral health.