Canker Sores

Known by dentists as aphthous ulcers, canker sores are painful lesions that form and erupt in the soft tissues within the mouth. If you suffer from frequent canker sores, you don't need an explanation of what canker sores are, you just need to know how to avoid and treat these painful lesions. If you experience canker sores on your lips, gums, tongue, or cheeks there are ways to prevent and treat your "aphthous ulcers".

About 20 percent of people form canker sores, and if you have ever had one you know that eating, drinking, or speaking with a canker sore simply excruciating. At Platinum Dental Care we understand the trouble these kind of sores cause our patients and we offer treatment to help reduce the number of these types of outbreaks.

How Do I Know If I Have a Canker Sore?

A day or two before your canker erupts may These crater-like ulcers are usually round or oval in shape and have a red border and a characteristic white, yellow, or gray center.

The most conspicuous symptom is pain, which almost always causes difficulties with everyday oral functioning. Aphthous ulcers fall into three categories:

Minor canker sores: Usually oval in shape, these sores are small and usually heal on their own in a week or two without leaving scars. These are the most common type and occur in roughly 80 percent of patients.

Major canker sores: These ulcers measure 10 millimeters or more in diameter, are embedded deeply in the soft tissues, and do not have well-defined borders. Major canker sores can leave deep scars and may take more than a month to heal.

Herpetiform canker sores: These types of mouth sores tend to appear in older patients and present as large clusters of 10 to 100 tiny ulcers. Herpetiform canker sores usually resolve themselves within a couple of weeks without scarring.

Common triggers for canker sores

It's not always easy to pinpoint the cause of a canker sore. A mouth injury, which can be caused by braces or dentures rubbing against your cheeks or gums, can cause a canker sore, as can a reaction to acidic foods or the ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste.

Underlying medical conditions, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers, and various autoimmune disorders, can also make a person more susceptible to mouth sores.

Finally, emotional stress and deficiencies in the nutrients iron, folic acid, vitamin B-12 and zinc may be the culprits.

Dental treatments for ulcers

Most of the time, minor canker sores heal without medical treatment. Keeping your mouth clean during the healing process is essential, so gently brush your teeth with a toothpaste that does not contain the foaming agent sodium lauryl sulfate.

You can also rinse with a solution of water mixed with baking soda, salt, or hydrogen peroxide. Some patients also swear by rinsing with a solution made of liquid Benadryl and milk of magnesia. Dabbing a little milk of magnesia on the canker sore several times a day is another trusted home remedy.

If a canker sore is very large, intolerably painful, and doesn't appear to improve over time, you should see your general dentist or family doctor for treatment. He or she can help eliminate the pain and inflammation with oral medications, special mouth rinses, and topical ointments and can even cauterize the ulcer to help reduce healing time.

Canker sore prevention

Eat a balanced, varied diet and eliminating as much stress as possible to avoid canker sores.

If a chronic health condition causes canker sores in your mouth, keeping the problem stable with good medical care as self-care will lessenthe frequency of outbreaks.

Avoiding citrus fruits, coffee, and salty snacks also helps keep canker sores at bay. Orthodontic or other dental appliances can rub your gums or cheeks, so speak to your dentist or orthodontist about using special waxes as a barrier.

Finally, keep your mouth extremely clean with regular flossing, brushing, and rinsing. Check your mouthwash for sodium lauryl sulfate in order to avoid irritating your canker sore, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups

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