Facts About Canker Sores

Canker sores are aphthous ulcers that form inside the lips and cheeks, at the gums base and under the tongue.

Canker sores are aphthous ulcers that form inside the lips and cheeks, at the gums base and under the tongue. These sores can be extremely painful and they can make eating very difficult. Canker sores are shallow and red, with a white coating sometimes covering them. They can form as a single sore or appear in small clusters. These sores are not contagious and they cannot be spread by kissing, sharing food or drinking from the same glass as an infected person. Anyone can be affected by canker sores, but they are more common among women, young adults in their 20’s and teenagers.

What Causes Canker Sores

• Minor mouth injuries occurring from dental procedures, sport accidents, cheek biting and vigorous teeth brushing

• Allergy or sensitivity to certain foods or beverages

• Highly acidic fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons

• Poor diet lacking in essential vitamins, such as B-12, folic acid, iron and zinc

• Diseases, such as AIDS, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

• Sodium lauryl sulfate, found in some toothpastes and mouthwashes

• Emotional stress

• Hormonal changes

Symptoms of Canker Sores

• Several hours before the first appearance of canker sores, a tingling or burning sensation may be felt inside the mouth.

• Painful sores that form inside the mouth either alone or in small clusters.

• Small red sores inside the mouth that are sometimes covered by a white coating.

• Sores inside the mouth that do not heal within one or two weeks.

How To Treat Canker Sores

1. Baking Soda

Make a paste using baking soda and water. Coat the canker sore with the paste to lessen the pain and help to destroy any bacteria that is inside the mouth.

2. Black Tea

Boil a small bag of black tea, let cool completely and place on canker sore to help ease the pain.

3. Ice Cubes

Allowing ice cubes to slowly dissolve in the mouth will temporarily numb the canker sore and relieve the pain.

4. Salt Water

Rinsing the mouth with salt water three times a day will help to speed the healing of canker sores.

5. Yogurt

Eat yogurt daily that contains live acidophilus to help canker sores heal faster and prevent more outbreaks in the future.

How To Prevent Canker Sores

• Brush and floss daily after every meal to clean away food particles that can irritate the gums.

• Use a soft bristled tooth brush that is gentle on the gums.

• Be cautious when eating foods than can cut the soft tissue inside the mouth.

• Cut back on spicy foods and acidic fruits that can irritate the mouth.

• Avoid excessive gum chewing, which can irritate the gums.

Canker sores will normally heal on their own in a week or two. Consult a doctor if they persist for more than three weeks.

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Cynthia Roberts
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