A canker sore is a small shallow lesion that develops on the soft tissue of the mouth. Canker sores are also referred to as “aphtous ulcers” and are not contagious. They are, however, painful and can make eating, drinking and even talking difficult. In most cases, canker sores go away on their own within one or two weeks, without medical treatment. However, if you have a particularly large canker sore or recurring canker sores, this may be a sign of a problem with your oral health or your overall health.
There are two different types of canker sores: simple canker sores and complex canker sores. A simple canker sore is one that may appear three or four times a year and lasts for about a week. A complex canker sore is larger, deeper and more painful and takes longer to heal. In some individuals, this type of canker sore is a reoccurring problem.
The exact cause of most canker sores is unknown, however, stress or injury are thought to be the causes of most simple canker sores. Canker sores can also be caused by other underlying health problems such as an impaired immune system, vitamin deficiencies or other nutritional problems, Celiac Disease or Chrohns Disease.
In most cases, canker sores will heal on their own, without medical intervention. However, rinsing with warm salty water or with an antimicrobial mouthwash may help with the pain and speed the healing. Dabbing the sore with a Q-tip dipped in hydrogen peroxide is another simple remedy that can be used to treat a canker sore. However, if you have reoccurring canker sores or a canker sore that is unusually large and does not heal quickly, it is a good idea to seek treatment from a doctor. If your canker sore is complex in nature, your doctor may prescribe an antimicrobial rinse, a corticosteroid ointment or a medication to help with the pain and inflammation.
Getting adequate nightly rest and managing your stress level can go along way in preventing canker sores. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can also help to ward off these painful sores. If you would like to get more information about canker sores and the available treatments, talk to your dentist today.
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