Canker Sores – What Are They?

Approximately twenty percent of people suffer from canker sores.

Manifesting on the inside of the mouth only (unlike cold sores), aphthous ulcers (canker sores) are not contagious.

One can recognize canker sores by their oval shape with a red border, and usually a yellow, white or gray center. Though painful, most canker sores will heal without intervention in a short time.

Possible causes:

The true causes of canker sores are unclear, though a likely factor is heredity. Women are affected almost at double the rate of men by canker sores and they tend to afflict those who are ten to twenty years old. They often happen at the site where the mouth has been injured, and connections have been discovered between stress and canker sores. A chemical found in toothpaste, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), has been found to be connected with canker sores as well. Additionally, canker sores might be an indicator of an immune system problem.

Canker sores come in three varieties. While most canker sores are minor ones, the other types are major and herpetiform canker sores. The Mayo Clinic has more information on these other kinds on their website.

How to treat a canker sore

If are suffering from a minor canker sore, no treatment is usually needed. There are some things you can do to avoid additional pain, however.
– Avoid spicy foods as well as those that could be scratchy or hard. These will aggravate the wound.
– Don’t brush the wound with your toothbrush.
– Consider using a toothpaste that doesn’t have sodium lauryl sulfate.

Prevention

– Don’t eat foods which can irritate your mouth.
– Be sure to have good nutrition—avoid vitamin deficiency
– Defend your mouth against cuts-Orthodontic wax can help with braces.
– Reduce or eliminate stress from your life.

Check with Dr. Layman, Dr. Shirman, or your doctor if you’re suffering from a canker sore which is larger than normal or painful or one that doesn’t seem to heal.