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Canker Sores

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small ulcers formed in the mucous of the mouth, the gums, cheeks and/or any soft tissue inside the oral cavity. They are oval or rounded sores with a white or yellowish color surrounded by a red area.

These aphthous ulcers are not contagious. They do not contain any pus or any other signs of infection. Even though they are small, they can be very painful when doing simple activities such as talking, eating or swallowing. However, bigger canker sores can develop and they can be formed individually or in various places at the same time. They are usually more common in teenagers and/or young adults but their appearance tends to decrease over the years.

These small ulcers in the mouth are one of the most common oral afflictions, along with cavities.

Some canker sores symptoms are:

  • Pain and a burning feeling

  • White or yellowish color and redness in the surrounding area

  • In some cases, fever

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Swollen lymph nodes

Canker sores can be caused by:

  • Biting yourself by accident

  • Dental friction with the mouth tissue, prompted by a cracked tooth or when using dental braces.

  • Hot beverages or food

  • Some chemicals on certain toothpastes

  • Certain medications

  • Food allergies

  • Smoking

  • Stress

  • Hormonal disorders

  • A viral infection

  • Weak immune system

How to prevent these ulcers

  • Avoid very hot meals and drinks

  • Maintain a healthy oral hygiene

  • Use antimicrobial and alcohol-free mouthwash

  • Adopt a healthier diet with more fruits and vegetables

  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 and vitamin C

To ease canker sore pain and discomfort you can use an antibacterial mouthwash or warm water with salt for gargling. You can also apply honey to the sore. They usually take from eight to fifteen days to heal, but many times after the first five days, the pain will disappear. Remember to visit your dentist regularly to keep a healthy oral hygiene.

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