Cold Canker Sores 101: Everything You Need to Know
These sores occur on their own without apparent cause and clear out on their own. Canker sore treatment near you
are common, affecting both children and adults alike. They are very similar to cold sores but different in the cause and how they manifest.
What are Canker Sores?
Canker sores are small, round lesions that affect the soft tissues in the mouth. There are three categories of canker sores, and they include:
- Minor canker sores. These are tiny, oval-shaped ulcers that occur three or four times a year and mostly affect children and teenagers between and 20 years. These sores heal within two weeks without scarring.
- Major canker sores. These are larger, deeper, and round-shaped ulcers. These ulcers are less common but very painful. They take up to six weeks to heal and can cause scarring.
- Herpetiform canker sores. They are uncommon and mostly affect adults. The sores develop in tiny clusters and have irregular edges. These ulcers heal within two weeks without scarring.
How Do They Differ from Cold Sores?
Cold and canker sores are often confused but are different. Cold sores also called oral herpes simplex type 1 are a group of painful blisters caused by a virus. The cold sores appear at the outside of the mouth, around your chin, and under the nose. These blisters are contagious and clear out within seven to ten days with natural remedies.
Canker sores are not contagious, appear without a known cause, and on the inside of the mouth. They are not as painful but can make talking and chewing difficult.
What Are the Causes of Canker Sores?
There is no known cause of canker sores, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing the sores such as:
Minor canker risk factors:
- Tissue injuries caused by a dental appliance. If you have a broken dental appliance like braces, visit a dentist near La Costa for immediate treatment.
- Acidic and citrus fruits and vegetables
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- An allergic reaction
- Helicobacter pylori
Complex sores risk factors
- An underlying medical condition that weakens the immune system
- Nutrition deficiencies like vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid
- Gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn’s disease
The canker sores also affect more women than men because of hormonal imbalances.
What Are the Treatment Options for Canker Sores?
Canker sores can clear out on their own without treatment. However, if the sores persist, certain treatments can help hasten the healing such as:
- Oral medications. The doctor may prescribe medications such as drugs for ulcers to ease the discomfort. Steroid pills can also be beneficial in reducing canker sores.
- Mouthwashes with a steroid or painkiller can help ease the discomfort.
- Nutritional supplements can come in handy if you have nutritional deficiencies like vitamin B12.
- Cautery is a medical practice that involves using laser light or chemicals to burn the sores and remove them.
- Topical products like gels, creams, and pastes
- Home-made mouth rinses such as a mix of salt and baking soda
- Milk of magnesia
Other remedies include:
- Avoid taking acidic fruits and vegetables
- Do not take spicy or hot foods to avoid irritation
- Apply ice on the sores to ease discomfort
- Maintain proper dental hygiene. Brush using foaming-agent-free toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush
How to Prevent Canker Sores?
Canker sores are common and can reoccur, but you can reduce the frequency with the following tips:
- Eat nutrient-dense foods to prevent nutrient deficiencies like iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12.
- Avoid eating foods that can irritate the mouth, such as nuts, hazelnuts, salty and acidic foods.
- Follow a good hygiene routine to keep the gums and teeth healthy. Use a soft toothbrush when brushing to avoid hurting the gums and the soft tissues.
- Protect your mouth when playing contact sports with mouthguards, especially if you are wearing braces.
- Reduce stress. It’s not clear how, but it is believed stress contribute to canker sores.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are looking for a canker sore treatment near you, contact us or visit Sinclair Smiles for more information on the available treatment.