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Canker sores (also referred to as apthous ulcers) are a common type of mouth ulcer presenting as a small and shallow ulcer. Canker sores can show on the inner surface of the cheeks and lips, soft palate, the tongue, and along the gums. Canker sores appear as a bright red area surrounding a white or yellow center. More than half the population is affected by them. They generally last about 10-14 days with no long term health issues (not cancerous). They are very different from cold sores that develop from the herpes simplex virus and are contagious unlike canker sores.

What Causes Canker Sores?

The exact cause of canker sores remains a mystery to dentists and physicians alike. The following are some of the issues linked to what causes canker sores:

Canker Sores Marielaina Perrone DDS-Emotional Stress. This seems to bring canker sores on in many people but not all.

-Trauma To Tissues. Biting lip or cheek, orthodontic braces causing trauma, or ill fitting dentures can trigger canker sores to develop.

Nutritional Deficiencies. This includes deficiencies of B-12, Zinc, iron, or folic acid.

-Impaired Immune System.

-Presence Of Gastrointestinal Disease (GI Disease). This can include celiac disease or crohn’s disease.

-Hormonal Changes. For many women, the oncoming menstrual cycle can bring on the occurrence of canker sores.

-Genetics. Canker sores seem to run in families with women being affected more often than men.

Signs And Symptoms Of Canker Sores

Signs and symptoms of include the following:

-A painful sore or sores inside your mouth. These sores can be anywhere on the tongue, on the soft palate, or inside your cheeks or lips.

-A tingling or burning sensation before the sores appear.

-Canker sores present in your mouth round in size, white or gray center, and with a bright red border.

Although canker sores will heal on their own they can be quite uncomfortable especially when speaking or eating. The following are some of the treatments recommended for canker sores:

-Non prescription anesthetic cream. This will help relieve some of the discomfort of the canker sores. Topical creams can include benzocaine (Anbesol), fluocinonide (Lidex), and hydrogen peroxide (Orajel).

-Prescription Mouth rinse. Prescription mouth rinse containing the steroid dexamethasone to reduce pain and inflammation.

-Dental Laser. Can eradicate canker sores giving almost immediately relief

-Oral Medications. Oral steroids can be given in severe cases.

-Debacterol. This is topical solution formulated to treat canker sores. Debacterol works by chemically cauterizing canker sores. Debacterol medication has the ability to reduce healing time to about a week.

-Nutritional Supplements. based on laboratory results your doctor may prescribe a nutritional supplement if you are low folic acid, vitamin B-12 or zinc.

At Home Help For Canker Sores

Below are some remedies to try at home to speed healing time of your canker sores:

-Use salt water or baking soda rinse.

-Milk of magnesia. Place a small dab on your canker sores 3-4 times a day.

-Avoid Certain Foods. Avoid abrasive, acidic or spicy foods that can cause more irritation and discomfort.

-Use Ice. Allow ice chips to slowly dissolve over the area of the canker sores for relief.

-Soft Brushing. Using a soft brush and foaming-agent-free toothpaste such as Biotene or Sensodyne ProNamel can give relief. Look for SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) Free toothpastes.

 What Causes Canker Sores? Conclusion

Canker sores are not a serious health event but are definitely uncomfortable when they occur. At first sign of a sore speak to your dentist or doctor to ensure it is not something more sinister. While unusual, they can often be overlooked as oral cancer. If they last more than 3 weeks get them checked out immediately. As always see your dentist regularly for a happy, healthy smile.




Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Stress can arise from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.

Too much stress is known to play a role in our overall health but did you know that stress can also cause issues to your smile?

Stress Induced Dental Health Issues

Poor Dental Hygiene

When a person is under a lot of stress they tend to lose focus on basic habits and this can include maintaining optimal dental hygiene. If you do not take care of your dental hygiene on a daily basis, your dental health along with your overall health will begin to suffer and consequences can develop. This is especially important if you already have an issue with periodontal disease. Neglecting any part of your dental hygiene regimen can cause your periodontal disease to worsen. Another issue that can occur from stress is changes to your nutrition. Most people under heavy stress tend to develop very unhealthy eating habits. This can include frequent snacking on greater quantities than normal of sugary foods and drinks. These dietary changes will increase the risk of tooth decay.

An excellent way to defend against stress in your life is to regularly exercise. Maintaining a regular exercise schedule can help you relieve some of that built up stress and give you an extra energy boost to fight back. Exercise will also boost your immune system which will keep you stronger and healthier over the long haul.

Teeth Grinding (also referred to as Bruxism)

A main factor for people who grind their teeth is due to stress. Bruxism or teeth grinding can occur any time of day or night but it is usually an act we are unaware we are doing. Stress is not the sole cause of bruxism but it can make it worse. Dental issues associated with bruxism can include:

-Headaches

-Pain In Ears

-Wearing down of teeth.

-Temporo mandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues

Sensitive Teeth

-Chipped or cracked teeth

Receding gums or teeth with notches along the gum line

Your dentist following a thorough examination may recommend a night guard to wear while you sleep to minimize the damage to your teeth. Generally, if stress is the root cause the bruxism will stop when the stressor(s) are removed.

Sores In The Oral Cavity

Mouth sores come in multiple forms. These forms can include:

-Canker sores. These are tiny ulcers with a white or grayish base and a red border.  There has been extensive debate among scientists regarding what is the root cause of canker sores. Some believe it is an immune system deficiency, bacteria, or even an underlying virus. The consensus belief is that stress can increase the risk of them appearing. Canker sores are not believed to be contagious.

Canker Sores Marielaina Perrone DDS

Canker sores generally last about a week to ten days. Spicy foods along with highly acidic foods should be avoided as they may irritate the sores. Your dentist can recommend a prescribed medicine called Debacterol. This prescription medicine is applied directly to the mouth sore and can reduce symptoms as well as thetime that the sores are present in the mouth.

-Cold sores (also called fever blisters). This type of sore is caused by the herpes simplex virus and are highly contagious. These sores are blisters that are filled with fluid that often appear on or around the lips. They are also seen under the nose or around the chin area. Emotional stress can trigger these sores to develop. Other triggers for these sores include fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.

Cold sores generally heal on their own in about 7 days time. Many treatments are available for relief, including over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Talk to your doctor or dentist if these medications could help you. It is imperative to start treatment as soon as you feel or visually notice the cold sore forming. The sooner you begin treatment the effects of the cold sore can be decreased.

Periodontal Disease (also Known as Gum Disease)

Stress can often lead to depression. Scientific studies have shown that patients who are dealing with depression have 2 times the risk of poor treatment outcomes from periodontal disease treatment compared to those who are not depressed. Most doctors agree that learning healthy strategies to cope with bouts of depression can help reduce the risk of periodontal issues getting worse.  Also, people who are in a depressed state tend to have poor overall hygiene including dental hygiene.

Stress Conclusion

Remember, we all have events that trigger stress during our daily lives. Development of techniques to deal with stress can make a marked difference in the maintanence of our dental health as well as our overall general health. As always, see your dentist for regular dental examinations along with professional cleanings to ensure you can keep your smile looking and feeling as healthy as can be!

Reminder:

-Eat a balanced diet

-Regular Dental Visits

and good oral hygiene help reduce your risks of periodontal disease. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss daily.



Stress is the body’s internal and external reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional response. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.

Too much stress is known to be bad for us but did you know that stress can also cause issues to your dental health?

Dental Issues That Can Be Caused By Stress

Poor Dental Hygiene

When a person is under stress they tend to lose focus on basic habits and this includes being diligent with maintaining their dental hygiene. If you do not take care of your dental hygiene, your dental health as well as your general health will begin to suffer. This is especially true if you already suffer from periodontal disease as skipping any part of your dental hygiene program can worsen the periodontal disease. Another issue with being under stress is your nutrition changes. Most people dealing with stress tend to develop very unhealthy eating habits. This can include snacking on larger than normal amounts of sugary foods and drinks. These changes will increase your risk for tooth decay.

A good way to combat stress in your life is to maintain a routine of regularly exercising. Exercising regularly can help you relieve some of that stress and give you an extra energy boost. Exercise will also boost your immune system which is always a plus.

Teeth Grinding (also called Bruxism)

One of the main reasons why people grind their teeth is due to stress. Bruxism can occur day or night but it is usually a subconscious act. Stress is not the only cause of bruxism but it does make it worse. Some of the dental issues associated with bruxism include:

-Headaches

-Ear Pain

-Worn Down Teeth.

-Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues

Sensitive Teeth

-Chipped or cracked teeth

Receding gums or teeth with notches in them at the gum line

Your dentist may recommend a night guard to wear while you sleep to minimize the damage caused to your teeth. Usually, if stress is the cause the bruxism will stop when the stressor is removed.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores come in many forms. These can include:

-Canker sores. These are small ulcers with a white or grayish base and bordered in red.  There has been vigorous debate regarding what causes canker sores. Some believe it is an immune system issue, bacteria, or even a virus. Consensus is that stress can increase the risk of them showing up. Canker sores are not known to be contagious.

Canker sores generally last about 7-10 days. Spicy foods as well as highly acidic foods should be avoided as they tend to irritate the sores. One of the best forms of relief comes from a dentist prescribed medicine called Debacterol. This medicine is applied directly to the sore and can reduce symptoms as well as the length that the sores are present.

-Cold sores (or fever blisters). These sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are highly contagious. Cold sores are blisters that are filled with fluid that often appear on or around the lips. They can also appear under the nose or around the chin area. Emotional stress can trigger an outbreak. Other triggers include fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.

Cold sores often heal on their own in about a week’s time. Treatment is available, including over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Ask your doctor or dentist if either could help you. It is important to start treatment as soon as you feel or notice the cold sore forming. The sooner you start treatment the effects of the cold sore will be reduced.

Periodontal Disease

Stress can lead to depression. And studies have shown that patients who are depressed have twice the risk of a poor outcome from periodontal disease treatment compared to those who are not in a depressed state. You can not make depression or the stress disappear, of course. But most experts agrees that learning healthy coping strategies can help reduce the risk of periodontal issues getting worse.  Also, people who are depressed tend to have poor overall hygiene and that includes dental hygiene.

Conclusion

Keep in mind we all have stress during the course of our day. Developing proper techniques for dealing with that stress can make a world of difference in the maintanence of our dental health as well as our overall health. As always, see your dentist regularly for dental examinations along with professional cleanings to ensure you keep your smile as healthy as can be!

Remember, eating a balanced diet, seeing your dentist regularly, and good oral hygiene help reduce your risks of periodontal disease. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss daily.



Canker sores are known to be very unpredictable in nature and quite uncomfortable for many who suffer from them. Canker sores (also called apthous ulcers) are white sores, not blisters, that occur inside the mouth. They range in size from small dots to large coin sized ulcerations. They can be quite painful, may make eating, speaking or even just smiling difficult, and may take 1-2 weeks to heal. Canker sores have been studied clinically for years, but the exact cause remains a mystery to clinicians. They have been linked to a person’s genetic background, increased stress, or even minor dental trauma.  The big question remains, what should you do to avoid canker sores?

Tips To Avoid Canker Sores

Maintain Proper Nutrition. It is important to maintain proper eating habits ensuring you are ingesting the right mix of vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. Nutritional deficiencies have been shown to cause mouth ulcers. Researchers have shown that vitamin B12, zinc, iron, l-lysine, and folic acid are all very helpful in preventing canker sores.

Avoid Certain Foods. If you are suffering from a canker sore you should restrict your diet. Acidic drinks (such as orange juice or lemonade) can irritate the canker sores and actually prolong the healing process. Eating chocolate is a known trigger for apthous ulcers.

Change Oral Hygiene Products. The bubbling agent in toothpaste can be an irritant to the oral tissues. If you notice sloughing tissues, red irritated tissue, and frequent canker sores, you may want to cut out regular toothpaste. Experiment with some new dental hygiene products that are  gentler on your mouth. There are specialized canker sore toothpastes specially formulated not to irritate the mouth. These toothpastes are sodium lauryl sulfate free (SLS). Sodium lauryl sulfate is generally used in toothpastes to produce that foaming action when brushing. It is believed that removing SLS will reduce the incidence of canker sores.

Hormones. Large jumps in hormones such as during menstrual cycle, menopause, pregnancy can trigger canker sores.

Medications. Certain medications may trigger apthous ulcers such as Nicorandil, a medicine used in patients with angina.

 What To Do If The Canker Sores Persist

DeBacterol. These topical canker sore treatments chemically cauterize the ulcer. The relief is instantaneous, and the healing is within days instead of weeks. Drinking milk is supposed to help decrease canker sore outbreaks.

-Drinking milk is supposed to help decrease canker sore outbreaks.

-Supplement with a multivitamin to be sure you are getting everything your body needs.

Dental Examinations.  If you are experiencing persistent sores in one area of the mouth, call your dentist and make an appointment to get the surrounding teeth and gums checked.

 You should contact your dentist about canker sores if you have the following:

-Unusually large sores.

-Sores that are spreading.

-Sores that last 3 weeks or longer.

-Intolerable pain despite avoiding trigger foods and taking over-the-counter pain medication.

-Difficulty drinking enough fluids.

-A high fever along with the appearance of the canker sores.

Canker Sore Conclusion

Canker sores can be uncomfortable and even debilitating but there are steps that can be taken to relieve them when they occur and  in some cases avoid them completely. The frequency with which you develop sores, the size of them, and how long they last are important. Discuss all of this with your dentist so that he/she may assess whether they are typical canker sores or a more serious issue which may require further treatment and investigation.