Canker Sores

Canker sores also called aphthous ulcers, are little, shallow sores that form on the delicate tissues in your mouth or at the base of your gums. In contrast to cold sores, ulcer don’t develop on the outside of your lips and they aren’t contagious. They can be excruciating and can make eating and talking troublesome.

Most canker sores go away on their own without any treatment in a week or two. Check with your dentist if you have unusually large or painful ulcers or canker sores that don’t seem to heal.


Most ulcers are round or oval with a white or yellow center and a red border. They occur inside your mouth — on or under your tongue, inside your cheeks or lips. You may experience pain or burning sensation in your mouth a day or two days before the sores actually appear.

Canker sores generally have three main categories, including minor, major and herpetiform sores.

Minor canker sores

1. Minor canker sores are the most common
2. Are usually small.
3. They are oval shaped with a red edge.
4. Heal without scarring in one to two weeks.

Major canker sores

1. Major canker sores are less common and
2. Are larger and deeper than minor canker sores.
3. Are usually round with defined borders, but may have irregular edges when very large
4. Can be extremely painful.
5. May take up to six weeks to heal and can leave extensive scarring.

Herpetiform sores

1. They are pinpoint sized
1. Often occur in clusters of 10 to 100 sores, but may merge into one large ulcer
2. Have irregular edges
3. Heal without scarring in one to two weeks
4. When to see a doctor
5. Consult your doctor if you experience.

Causes of Canker Sore

The exact cause of canker sores is hard to determine, though researchers suspect that a combination of factors contributes to outbreaks, even in the same person.

Possible triggers for canker sores include:

  1. A small injury to your mouth from any dental issue such as accidental cheek bite, overzealous brushing or sports mishaps.
  2. Toothpaste and mouthwashes containing sodium lauryl sulfate.
  3. Some people may have food sensitivities for acidic foods or particularly to chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, cheese, and spicy or acidic foods.
  4. Poor nutrition lacking in vitamin B-12, zinc, folate (folic acid) or iron.
  5. Some people may have an allergic response to certain bacteria in their mouth. Helicobacter pylori, the same bacteria can lead peptic ulcers.
  6. Hormonal changes during menstruation.

Risk factors

Anyone can develop canker sores. But they more often appear in teens and young adults, and especially in females.

Often people with recurrent canker sores have a genetic disorder. This may be due to family history or to a shared factor in the environment, such as certain foods or allergens.


Canker sores often recur, but you can reduce their frequency by following these tips:


1. Watch what you eat: Try avoiding foods that seem to be allergic to you. Most of the people often express their allergy to certain foods including nuts, chips, pretzels, certain spices, salty foods and acidic fruits, such as pineapple, grapefruit, and oranges. Avoid any foods to which you’re allergic.


2. Choose healthy foods: To prevent nutritional deficiencies, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.


3. Follow good oral hygiene habits: Regular brushing after meals and flossing once a day can keep your mouth clean and free of foods that might trigger a sore. To prevent irritation to delicate mouth tissues try using a soft bristled brush and avoid toothpaste and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.


4. Protect your mouth: If you have braces or other dental appliances that may hurt sometime. If sharp edges of any dental work are hurting, try applying orthodontic wax to cover.


5. Reduce your stress: If your canker sores related to stress, try some stress-relieving techniques, such as meditation or yoga.

Solution in Dentistry

If the ulcer is due to any oral condition then some oral treatments can help to stop re-occurrence of these mouth ulcers.

Crooked tooth: If the tooth shape or position is hurting the cheeks or lips your dentist may suggest fixing it.

Braces: If you have braces, the sharp edges of the brackets may irritate the cheeks. The dentist will make some adjustment which can reduce the discomfort.

Ill-fitted denture: The denture which is not fitting in the mouth properly may create trouble in your mouth. In that case your dentist will adjust the denture.

How dentists can help to cure Canker Sore?

When you are experiencing re-occurring ulcers then you should see the dentist. Dentists will ask about your diet to check nutritional condition. He will visually examine your mouth and check for the signs of plaque, cavity, or gum disease. He may incorporate an X-ray to find out the reason which is not seen from visual examination. Reveal any chronic disease or any medications if you are having any. After analyzing your situation, the dentist may suggest the treatment according to your situation.

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