We’ve all been there— you’ve had a stressful month at work or accidentally bit your gum and low and behold, a few days later a painful canker sore appears. Not only do they always seem to pop up in the most inconvenient of times, but they make everyday tasks like chewing, eating, drinking and talking incredibly painful. As we have patients come to us all the time asking what they can do to prevent and treat canker sores, we’ve put together some basic information and tips to help you overcome the irritation and discomfort that canker sores cause.
What are canker sores? Canker sores are small ulcers that develop in your mouth. While people often get them confused with cold sores, they do not occur outside of then mouth on your lips and are not contagious.
What causes canker sores? Canker sores, while relatively common, simple and self-healing, can be caused by a variety of factors. Those include:
- Emotional stress
- Menstruation/hormonal changes
- Too much acidic foods in one’s diet
- Brushing too aggressively along the gumline
- Minor mouth injury:
- accidentally biting your gums
- abrasion from braces or ill-fitting dentures
- *While not common, some canker sores can be caused by deficiencies and can be side effects of disease
What can I do to treat canker sores? The silver lining about canker sores is that while painful, they heal themselves typically within a week and are not harmful in most instances. While nothing can be done to prevent canker sores from occurring and once formed, most often need to run their own course, there are different methods and recommendations that can be taken to alleviate pain and decrease inflammation.
- Seek over the counter treatment: Often relief is right around the corner at your local pharmacy. There are several over the counter drugs such as like Zilactin-B, Orajel, and Kank-A that do the trick, but our team is always a resource in recommendations pending your specific symptoms.
- Rinse with mouth wash: Antibacterial mouthwashes are thought to help kill bacteria and decrease inflammation. Our team can prescribe an antibacterial rinse that helps treat canker sores, but a gargle of Listerine can often temporarily relieve pain as well. Rinsing with warm salt water is another remedy that many dentists recommend and while it’s free and harmless, it’s worth a try.
- Visit the dentist: If you have any reason for concern, we always encourage patients to visit our office to have us personally check out the lesion to confirm that it is indeed a canker sore. Pending the significance, our team can write a prescription for treatment, if necessary.
For more information about flossing and maintaining good oral hygiene, call our office at 205-699-2551. We see patients from all over, including Leeds, Moody, Trussville, Pell City, Springville, Odenville, Sylacauga, Anniston, and beyond. Give us a call today! 205-699-2551.