North Houston Cancer Clinics

What is canker sores?

What Is Canker Sores: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Canker sores can be small in size but significant in pain. These painful ulcers that develop in the mouth can make a few simple things like eating and speaking difficult, leading people to seek relief and answers. Learning about why canker sores happen, what symptoms they cause, and when they could shed light on this common oral problem.

Causes of Canker Sores

Also known as aphthous ulcers, canker sores may have many triggers without a known cause. Some possible causes are:

1. Tissue Trauma: Small damages to soft tissues inside the mouth, such as accidental biting or irritation from dental appliances, might make someone more likely to get a canker sore.

2. Immune System Dysfunction: Fluctuations or imbalances with the immune system contribute to the onset of canker sores. For example, stress, hormonal changes during menstruation or menopause, or certain medical conditions all affect how well your immune system works, which then makes you susceptible to oral lesions

3. Nutritional Deficiencies: Not getting enough essential nutrients like vitamins B12, folate (folic acid), and iron can have higher chances of developing these types of ulcers in some studies – therefore, we must eat balanced diets rich in minerals & vitamins required by our bodies want healthy teeth too!

4. Microbial Infections: Although not directly responsible for their formation, bacteria infections were found to worsen existing mucosal lesions, ultimately leading to aphthous-type ulceration. The same goes for viral attacks on the mucosa lining—they will trigger any dormant infection, which manifests through multiple painful blisters called canker sores.

causes of canker sores

Symptoms of Canker Sores

Knowing what signs accompany canker sores helps recognize them quickly and manage this condition appropriately. The most common symptoms of canker sores include:

1. Painful Ulcers: Canker sores appear as small round or oval-shaped wounds with a white or yellowish center and a bright red border. They can be inside your mouth’s lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, or roof.

2. Discomfort While Eating or Speaking: People with canker sores may experience significant pain when they eat certain foods, drink liquids that are too hot or spicy, or talk for long periods continuously because their tongues rub against the sores, making them hurt more than usual.

3. Burning Sensation: Some individuals might feel a burning/tingling sensation at the site where they will later see an ulcer forming—this feeling normally lasts throughout the entire duration of an aphthous lesion.

4. Swelling and Inflammation: When a canker sore appears, there may be swelling around it, which causes general discomfort due to increased sensitivity in that particular area, hence making everything worse off than before. A better understanding of what triggers these conditions will empower people towards prevention strategies such as good dental hygiene and timely medical intervention whenever necessary, thus reducing their impact on daily living activities and overall health status.

Treatment Options for Canker Sores

Given their size, canker sores are tough to tolerate, though each usually takes anywhere from a few days to two weeks before healing completely without any therapy needed. However, various treatments could quicken the healing process and relieve signs, thereby enhancing the quality of life throughout the present period.

Over-the-Counter Remedies:

1. Topical Analgesics: Benzocaine and lidocaine are over-the-counter topical treatments that temporarily relieve pain by numbing the area around the sore. These products commonly appear in gels, ointments, or mouth rinses and can be applied directly on the canker as needed.

2. Protective Films: Oral patches or protective films made with hydroxypropyl cellulose create a barrier over the ulcer, shielding it from further irritation while promoting healing. They stick to the inside of your mouth and dissolve slowly over time.

Prescription Medications:

1. Topical Corticosteroids: Triamcinolone acetonide or fluocinonide are topical corticosteroids healthcare providers prescribe for severe or persistent canker sores. When directly applied to the ulcer, they usually reduce inflammation, causes relieve in pain, and speed up the healing.

2. Oral Rinses: Dexamethasone or tetracycline are some ingredients found in prescription oral rinses used to treat canker sores caused by bacterial or inflammatory factors; these rinses may contain antimicrobial agents that also prevent secondary infections.

Home Remedies:

1. Saltwater Rinse: Gargling warm saltwater solution several times a day helps soothe canker sores and promote healing. Saltwater rinses have antimicrobial properties that aid in reducing inflammation and preventing infection.

2. Baking Soda Paste: Applying a paste made from baking soda mixed with a little water directly on the canker sore helps ease pain and speed up recovery by soothing it; baking soda is alkaline which neutralizes acidity thus reducing inflammation.

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