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What Causes Canker Sores?

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.

© 2020, Marielaina Perrone DDS. All rights reserved. Henderson Cosmetic Dentist

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