Canker Sores can surely bring lots of pain and discomfort, for something so small. Whenever you have one, you can't help but wish that you never get canker sores ever again. These small shallow ulcers that grow inside your mouth do not only sting, they also make eating difficult and talking uncomfortable.
Canker sores come in two types: simple canker sore and complex canker sore.
Simple Canker Sore can appear three to four times a year. This can last up to one week and usually affects people between 10 to 20 years old.
Complex Canker Sore is less common and typically occurs more in people who have previously had canker sores.
What exactly causes this oral problem is not yet known.
Simple canker sores are thought by experts to be caused by:
- injury or stress on the tissue
- Eating certain foods that are high in acid content such as lemons, orange, apples, strawberries, and figs are thought to either trigger the growth of this mouth ulcer or aggravate it if you already have one.
- It's also possible that a sharp tooth or dental appliance not fitted properly like dentures or braces may cause this.
Complex canker sores, meanwhile, are thought to be a sign of an underlying medical problem such as:
- impaired immune function
- nutritional deficiency (zinc, folic acid, iron, or vitamin B12)
- gastrointestinal tract disease (Celiac disease or Crohn's disease)
You know you have canker sores if there is a painful sore (or sores) inside the mouth such as:
- soft palate
- on the tongue
- inside the cheeks
Other symptoms are:
- swollen lymph nodes
- round and white with red edge sores
- round sores that are white or gray in color, with a red edge
- tingling or burning sensation when the sores are about to grow
If you get a canker sore, usually you won't need to do anything since the pain generally goes away in a few days while the sore itself can heal without treatment in about a week.
For large and painful canker sores, your dentist may advise you to use an antimicrobial mouth wash or a corticosteroid ointment that will alleviate the pain and irritation.
You can also try rinsing your mouth with a solution of water and salt. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of water.
Another solution you can try is one to two tablespoons of Maalox combined with 1/2 tablespoon of liquid diphenhydramine. Rinse a teaspoonful of this mixture four times a day. Make sure that you don't swallow the mixture. Also do not use this with a child because liquid diphenhydramine is toxic.
Moreover, there are a number of over-the-counter medications that you can purchase to reduce the pain that comes with the canker sore. Some examples are:
- vitamin B-12 (Avamin Melts)
- glycyrrhiza extract (CankerMelts)
- gel that contain polyvinylpyrrolidone, sodium hyaluronate, and aloe vera (Canker-X).
- Take note however that there are limited studies done on these medications so their effects are not properly documented.