Anyone that suffers from canker sores knows that they can strike anytime. They also cause a lot of pain and discomfort in your mouth, keeping you from having a smile on your face. You may not even know what may have triggered it, which can also be frustrating.
All you can think about is that obnoxious sore in your mouth. There’s a number of ways that you can help soothe the pain. Here’s information about canker sores, on what causes them, and how you can treat them.
Basic Info on Canker Sores
The correct term for canker sores is aphthous ulcers or aphthous stomatitis. They are little painful ulcers that can happen anywhere in the mouth, including your throat, tongue, lips and inside lining of your cheeks.
They can also show up in a gray, white, or yellow color, surrounded by a red color. It’s also not uncommon for there to be more than one in your mouth at the same time.
Canker sores are different from cold sores and cannot be spread to other people. Cold sores also typically show up on the outside of the mouth, while canker sores are found on the inside.
These types of sores are more common in women than men, yet teens and young adults can get them too. The tendency to get canker sores can be inherited down through the family.
Types of Sores
Minor sores are the most common type and can measure from 3 to 10 mm. They usually last for around 10 to 14 days and will not leave any scarring.
Major sores are much larger and deeper, with a ring larger than 10 mm. They also will take between 2 weeks and several months to heal and could leave a scar afterward.
You could have multiple groups of herpetiform sores in your mouth at one time. They are usually between 2 and 3 mm in size but you could experience as many as 100 of them at one time. Like the minor sores, herpetiform sores should heal without any scarring.
Symptoms of Canker Sores
The most common symptoms of canker sores include a tingly or burning sensation up to 24 hours before the ulcers first appear.
You’ll also feel a painful sore in your mouth and could have trouble eating, talking, or swallowing. The ulcers will be white, grey, or yellow, with a red border around it.
Causes of Canker Sores
There are many factors that could be at play that’s causing your canker sores. Some of these include an injury to your mouth, food allergies, smoking, cold, flu, stress, or even oral cancer.
There are several types of prescription drugs that you may be taking that could be causing them. Some people have indicated the sores cleared up and didn’t return when they changed the brand of toothpaste they used. If you have canker sores you may want to try a new brand at your house.
Treatment for Canker Sores
For the most part, canker sores will heal on their own, needing no treatment on your part whatsoever. However, if you are experiencing pain that won’t go away, there are a few things that you can try.
There are several home remedies that you can use around the house to help relieve the pain.
You can allow ice chips to melt in your mouth to help relieve the pain. Make sure that you are using a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water will also help.
Applying milk of magnesia with a cotton swab might also help relieve the pain caused by the sore. The herb echinacea can also help with healing the sore quicker.
It’s also important that you chew carefully when you’re trying to eat around these sores. If your teeth bite down on the tissue, it’s not only going to hurt, but also causes them to stick around longer.
You also need to find a way to relax if you believe that stress may be a factor in what has caused the canker sores.
Mouthwashes for Sores
There are a number of mouthwashes that will help relieve the pain in your mouth. Diphenhydramine suspension is an over the counter mouthwash that works on the mouth tissue as an anesthetic.
Go ahead and put the suspension in your mouth and swish it around for 30 seconds to a minute. Make sure that you spit it out without swallowing it.
You also may need to have an anti-inflammatory steroid prescribed to you by a doctor to help with the inflammation. Then there’s also Tetracycline antibiotic rinses that can help with the pain and help with the healing of the sores.
These are also prescribed by a doctor and are not to be taken by young people under the age of 16, or if you are pregnant.
There are several oral medications that you can take that will help fight against canker sores. Over the counter pain medication such as Advil, Tylenol, Aleve, and Ibuprofen can help with the discomfort.
You may also be dealing with a vitamin deficiency that’s causing the sores. Taking vitamins B and C might also help with the symptoms.
When to Call Your Doctor
Under normal circumstances, canker sores should heal without any need to go to the doctor. If, however, you notice that the sores are larger than normal or that they are spreading and hanging around longer than 3 weeks, you need to get ahold of your doctor.
If you happen to catch a fever at the same time or are having difficulty staying hydrated, these are other areas of concern.
If you suffer from canker sores that keep returning and you know it’s not genetic, you might want to get checked out by a doctor. In some cases, it could be signs of Crohn’s disease, lupus, celiac disease, or even aids or HIV.
When All Else Fails
My husband, Mark used to get mouth cankers all the time. A friend of ours who was a nurse at a local clinic up in Salt Lake City, Utah told him to try switching his brand of toothpaste.
We had been using the same brand for years. She said some of her patients/clients switched from their usual brand to Colgate and their canker sores went away. Mark switched toothpaste and he has never had a canker since switching to Colgate. Mark suggested the same thing to a business associate years ago. He reported back that his sores had gone away too.
We mentioned this to our dentist of ten years and now he hands out only Colgate tubes to his clients. Is there any scientific research here, no there is not. Just plain commonsense, we learned on a fluke.
Canker sores can be such a pain. You’ll be focused on it all day because of the obnoxious space that it’s taking over in your mouth. Hopefully these causes and ways to treat them have helped you be better informed on how to ease the pain and clear up the sores too.
Are you a person that suffers from canker sores from time to time? Stay safe, stay well, my friends. May God bless this world, Linda
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