Canker Sores: What They Are, What Causes Them and What to Do About Them

 What are canker sores?

Often confused for cold sores or fever blisters, canker sores occur on the inside of the mouth, and can cause much discomfort. Almost half of the US population will have canker sores at some point in their lives, though they form more frequently in our younger years and reduce as we age. Another common misconception about canker sores is that they are a form of herpes infection. This is because there are forms of canker sores that can include several small sores that cluster together. Usually canker sores are less than 10mm in diameter, with a white center. Though they often go away on their own within a couple of weeks, they can be quite painful while they are present. There are other forms of canker sores that can last up to 6 weeks, and can cause scars when they heal.

Signs of canker sores

Canker sores are generally small, oval sores that have a white center. The area surrounding the sore is often inflamed as well, and will be quite tender. These can cause significant pain while eating or drinking. In some cases, the sores will appear close enough in proximity to each other that they can look like one much larger sore.

Progression of canker sores

Progression of Canker Sores

• Small ulcers develop
• Round, with white centers
• Ulcers increase in size
• Become more painful
• Ulcers remain painful
• Can cause more to appear
• Several sores can cluster together
• Sores appear raised and are more sensitive

Dangers of canker sores

The most danger associated with canker sores is the pain and discomfort they cause. Depending on their location, they can even make eating nearly impossible for some people. The good news is that they are not contagious, despite popular belief.

What causes canker sores?

Even after years of studying them, doctors and scientists are still unsure of what causes canker sores specifically. Some factors that are thought to contribute to them are:

  • Biting your cheek, tongue, or lip
  • Using tobacco
  • Braces
  • A Sharp tooth or poorly fitting dentures
  • Stress
  • Some studies have shown that a common ingredient in commercial toothpaste, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, can weaken tissues in the mouth and lead to canker sores and other issues.

How to prevent canker sores

Because there is no clear cut way to tell what causes canker sores, preventing them can be tricky. If you regularly suffer from them, start by looking at your diet. Avoid acidic and spicy foods that can irritate mouth tissues, and also avoid abrasive foods that can damage the mouth. Be careful when brushing your teeth that you don’t brush too aggressively, or stab the gums or cheek with your brush.

Treatment of canker sores

The best remedy for any oral condition is to improve your oral hygiene plan. Be sure you’re brushing at least twice a day, using an antibacterial mouth rinse twice a day, and flossing at least once to remove food particles that can feed bacteria. All natural products usually work best, because as mentioned earlier, there are ingredients in many commercial products that can worsen conditions like this.

Cost of canker sores

The costs associated with canker sores usually involve medication to help treat them. You may need to take pain medication if it is severe enough, or if they are persistent your doctor may recommend an antibiotic to help treat the infection.

What to do about it

If the improvements to your oral hygiene plan alone aren’t helping rid you of canker sores, don’t overlook the impact those harmful toothpaste ingredients can have. Make the switch to an all natural product that will eliminate the chance for infections.

Did it ever occur to you that the least expensive and painful option might be found in nature? Why not try a great product that provides natural relief?

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