AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

There they are again, those little white spots inside our lip or on the sides of our mouth that are so very painful. What are these things? Why do they show up every now and then without notice and why do they hurt so bad?

These painful little spots are called canker sores, shallow ulcers that are small and appear in the mouth making eating and talking uncomfortable.

Canker Sores What Are Canker Sores And Why Do They Hurt?

Causes of Canker Sores

While the development of canker sores are a very common occurrence, the exact cause of these inconvenient little ulcers is unknown. However, stress or injury is commonly thought to cause them.

It could also be that dietary choices can lead to the appearance of a canker sore. Certain acidic fruits and veggies can spark one or make it worse such as lemons, oranges, pineapples, figs, tomatoes and strawberries. Sometimes a cut or scratch from sharp tooth or utensil can trigger one. More complex sores can be caused by other health conditions such as malnutrition, poor immune system or lack of vitamins and minerals.

Is a Canker Sore Different Than a Cold Sore?

The short answer is yes, these two common and painful conditions are totally different. The big difference between a canker and a cold sore are the locations. Cankers are within the mouth while cold sores occur outside the mouth such as on the lips or chin.

Cold sores are also caused by a highly contagious virus. And while cankers are small ulcers, cold sores are clusters of painful, fluid-filled blisters.

Canker Sore Symptoms

Some symptoms of a canker sore are the ulcers inside your mouth, tongue, back part of the mouth or inside the cheeks. There could be a burning or tingling at the spot before one happens. Their appearance is that of round, white or gray in color with a red border or edge.

If canker sores get severe, you could experience some complications such as fever, lethargic behavior or swollen lymph nodes.

Treatment for Canker Sores

Without treatment a sore can go away in about a week or two and the pain typically lessons after a few days of eruption. If the sores become larger than normal and keep coming back, then your dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse, a corticosteroid ointment or an over-the-counter prescription to reduce the irritation and pain.

How to Prevent Canker Sores

You may be able to hold off a recurring canker sore, but there is no specific cure. Some of the prevention techniques are:

  • Avoid eating too many citrus fruits and acidic vegetables and spicy food. This type of food can irritate the mouth promoting sores.
  • Try not to chew gum for too long as it can cause irritation.
  • Keep your mouth free of foods that trigger sores by keeping a good routine of brushing and flossing with soft bristled brushes.

It would be a good idea to give your dentist a call if you experience some certain symptoms from cankers sores:

  • If they are unusually large
  • Sores that seem to be spreading
  • If the sores are lasting longer than 3 weeks or more
  • Even after taking over-the-counter pain medication and avoiding triggering foods, there is still unbearable pain.
  • If it is difficult to drink fluids.
  • Alongside the canker sores you have a high fever.

Canker sores are very irritating and painful. Maybe these suggestions and explanations will help keep them at bay.

About Author: Kelly Wilson writes about a variety of health issues and learned how to treat and prevent canker sores at McDowell Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, a Portland OR dentist office.
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