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Canker Sores Explained

By Susan Braden

Relationships, finances, and physical demands can all contribute to high levels of stress. This stress can manifest in a variety of ways:  anger, insomnia, appetite problems. In addition, about 20% of Americans develop very painful canker sores in the mouth.  These sores, also known as apthous ulcers, can make daily activities like eating and talking difficult.

What Are Home Remedies For Canker Sores?

Although studies have shown many canker sores will heal on their own within a week or two, there are several home remedies known to bring relief:

  • Salt Water Rinses
  • Topical Solution of Hydrogen Peroxide and Water
  • Avoiding Harsh Foods
  • Avoiding Chemical-Laden Toothpastes and Mouthwashes

Also beware of teeth whitening treatments which can further irritate sores that have already developed.

Causes of Canker Sores

Sometimes a trip to the dentist may unfortunately result in the formation of canker sores due to an ill-fitting denture, a sharp edge of a tooth or filling, or a simple nick to the cheek or gum during routine dental work. The Mayo Clinic identifies additional factors that may contribute to canker sore outbreaks:

  • Minor mouth injury (biting the cheek, brushing or flossing too hard, etc.)
  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • Lack of certain vitamins or other nutrition
  • Bacteria called helicobacter pylori
  • Any of the following diseases: Celiac disease, Inflammatory bowel diseases, Behcet’s disease, HIV/AIDS
  • Dysfunctional immune system
  • Hormonal shifts during menstruation
  • Emotional stress
  • Certain chemicals in toothpastes and mouthwashes

Canker Sores Defined

The American Dentist Association describes canker sores as small ulcers that, once ruptured, develop a gray or white base and a red border. These sores typically surface in the following areas: the inside lining of the cheeks or lip, on the tip or underneath the tongue, the floor of the mouth, near the tonsils, or on the roof of one’s mouth. Women and those who have family members with a history of canker sores may be more susceptible to the condition. Most people will experience their first canker sore between the age of 10 and 20. Children as young as 2 years old, however, have also been reported to experience an outbreak.

When to See Your Dentist

If the sores are not healing properly or have multiplied considerably, it is critical to make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Dentists can provide recommendations for over-the-counter numbing agents or oral bandages that can help make talking and eating a little easier. Prescription drugs such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory agents may also be deemed necessary if the sores are not healing on their own.

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Our lives certainly do not need any added stress. Canker sores can be extremely troublesome and irritating. Being able to discern a breakout< and treat the symptoms makes all the difference.

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