One of the uneasiest feelings is having canker sores.
It’s painful and uncomfortable because it’s located on the side of the lips or cheeks.
It makes eating and opening the mouth difficult too.
“Aphthous stomatitis” is the medical term for canker sore.
It can be a recurring problem in a benign and non-contagious form.
The canker sore is not the same as the cold sore or the fever blister.
Although these sores affect the mouth, the cold sore is medically called Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and it, thus contagious.
There are two forms of canker sore, a simple canker sore and the complex canker sore.
Simple canker sore is the most common type where it affects anyone between the ages 10 to 20 and it usually occurs at an average of 3-4 times a year.
The complex canker on the other hand, is not so common and it happens mostly to people who have had it before.
What really causes canker sore?
Unfortunately the primary cause of the aphthous stomatitis is unknown. But here are many attributing factors that may lead to such problems.
- Injury to the mouth or gums.
- Food intake: The food you are taking can cause canker sore especially eating too much citrus fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, apples, figs, pineapples, lemons, oranges and strawberries.
- New dental appliances with sharp surface such as new braces, dentures, retainer, etc.
- Underlying medical condition: Complications of certain medical conditions can lead to canker sores. This is because the immune system is low and they lack essential body nutrients like folic acid, those with iron deficiency anemia, vitamin B-12 deficiency and even those who are malnourished.
How to determine if you have canker sores
Canker sores can be easily determined. The sore looks like an ulcer on your soft palate, tongue, on the side of your cheeks or even on the gums.
It is round with a white or gray patch but surrounded with red and swollen edges. These are painful especially when you try to open the mouth or try to eat. Sometimes you may experience fever, body malaise and enlarged lymph nodes.
If you experience any unusual symptoms like very big mouth sores that spread, or a canker sore that lasts more than 3 weeks, difficulty eating or drinking water, a high fever during the canker sore appearance, you should not hesitate to visit your dentist.
Treatment options for Canker Sores
An ordinary canker sore will heal within a few days to a week. However, you can try any of these suggested remedies at home.
- Good oral hygiene: Never forget to brush your teeth or floss after eating. This helps to avoid microbial buildup in your mouth and infecting the area with canker sore.
- Gargle:Gargling with mouthwash like Bactidol or with salt water will reduce the pain being experienced.
- Hydrogen peroxide: Mix hydrogen peroxide with water on equal parts and apply it on your sore mouth using a cotton swab. Do this three times a day to lessen the pain.
- Visit your dentist often: This is essential so they can determine if your canker sore is infected especially if it’s been present for more than a couple weeks. Dentists can also prescribe pain medications, an effective mouthwash, corticosteroid ointment or even antibiotics.
Experiencing canker sore is just normal especially with the factors mentioned above. The sore and pain will eventually subside and you will feel better in a few days time. However, you should also know the warning signs and determine when is the best time to seek the help of your dentist.