In simple words, canker sores can be best described as painful and shallow sores in the mouth. They are also known as Aphthous Sores. Canker sores occur in the inside of cheeks or the base of gums. They may even occur under the tongue. Canker sores are characterized by extreme redness. However, sometimes they may even have a white coating.
They are different from oral sores
Many people confuse canker sores as common sores or fever sores. However, canker sores are different from ordinary sores. Other sores are less painful as compared to canker sores and less red too. Besides fever sores also known as fever blisters occur on the outside of lips or the corners of the mouth.
Causes of canker sores
Though almost anyone can develop canker sores, there are some individuals who are at a higher risk. Some of the most common causes of canker sores include stress, mouth injuries, food allergies, poor nutrition and menstrual periods.
Certain foods may also be responsible for a canker sore. Some such foods include citrus fruits and acidic vegetables like lemons, pineapples, oranges, figs and the like. A sharp tooth surface or ill fitting dentures can also be responsible for the problem.
Other factors that could be responsible for canker sores include a weak immune system, deficiency of Vitamin B-12 or zinc, gastrointestinal diseases and several others.
Canker sores are accompanied by several symptoms which make them easier to spot. Some of the most common symptoms of the problem include:
- Painful sore inside the mouth
- Burning sensation
- White or gray colored sores in the mouth
In case the sores are severe they may be accompanied with sluggishness, fever and swollen lymph nodes.
Treatment of canker sores
In most cases, sores do not require any treatment. They heal on their own within a week or two. As the sores heal, the accompanied pain also reduces along side. However, if the sores are more severe, they may call for an appropriate treatment. An antimicrobial toothpaste or corticosteroid ointment may be used. A prescription drug or non prescription medication may also be used along side to reduce the pain and inflammation.
Preventing canker sores
There is no definitive cure to canker sores. They may occur on a periodic basis every now and then. However, there are some things that you can do to reduce the frequency of the problem.
One of the first things that you can do to avoid canker sores is avoid eating foods that may irritate your mouth. Also, make sure that you avoid any kind of irritation to your gums by chewing your food carefully. Using a soft bristled toothbrush to brush teeth along with regular flossing can also help prevent the problem to a great extent.