If you have white spots in your mouth that hurt and make everything worse, then that’s a canker sore! They can be very difficult to work with, but given the necessary time they will heal without a trace.
Today we shall learn a little bit about them, what they are, how to know if there is one, their causes, as well as the most common questions we get asked here in Los Algodones about canker sores!
What are canker sores?
A canker sore are shallow ulcers that form in our mouths. These can hinder our ability to eat and speak due how painful they can get to be.
Canker sores, also named aphthous ulcers or aphthous stomatitis, can form on the soft tissue of our mouths, this includes our inner cheeks, tongue, soft palate, and gums. It does not, however, form outside on our lips.
How do I identify a canker sore?
They usually have a round shape, the ulcer itself can be either white or yellow on its center surrounded by a noticeable red border.
They are also very painful to the touch. Before one forms in our mouths, you might be able to tell if one’s going to appear if there is a slight burn or tingling sensation in the area.
Usually, they can be broken down into three categories:
- These are around 3 to 10 millimeters in diameter and the most common ones. They take a week or two to completely heal without leaving a scar.
- A major canker sore is not only larger, but also deeper, surpassing 10 millimeters. These take longer to heal and can leave a scar.
- Herpetiform sores. Rather uncommon sores, but nothing to worry about. They are very, very small, around 2 to 3 millimeters and present in large numbers at a time. Just like minor canker sores, they heal as quick and without scarring.
From personal experience pain is always included. Always.
There are many triggers that can cause a canker sore to appear. Some of them are:
- Small injuries and bruises. Such as those from biting, brushing, flossing, and even from braces, to name a few.
- Consumption of acidic and citrusy foods. Not only can they make one appear, but also can make existing ones hurt even more!
- Stress and anxiety may also make you prone to develop them.
- Bad diet. A lack of vitamin B-12, folic acid, iron, or zinc not only is bad for your health, but for your mouth as well.
- The smoke and components in cigarettes can irritate the mouth.
Are they contagious?
This is a rather common question our Los Algodones dentists get asked when the topic arises.
The answer is no, they are not contagious at all. A canker sore is also not the same nor related to cold sores or fever blisters.
What can I do about them?
- Have a good diet. As we mentioned before, not taking the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals you need can be the reason. Partaking on a healthy diet is a good way to start.
- Be mindful about food that harms your mouth. Remember, acidic and citrusy foods are guilty of this! So coffee, soda, lemons, and more might need to be cut back a bit!
- Do not use products with sodium lauryl sulfate in them for the time being. So check your tooth paste and mouth rinse just in case! Seek their counterparts without this chemical and it will surely help.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water or a baking soda rinse. This will help towards the healing.
- Have good oral hygiene. Of course, there is nothing that beats a good oral hygiene: brushing, flossing and mouth rinsing. Also make sure you are brushing gently and with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- If a canker sore remains for long periods of time, contact a dentist. There are rare cases where they might require special attention from a professional.