What is Canker Sore?
Canker sores also called recurrent aphthous stomatitis, RAS is among the common oral conditions suffered by more than half of the population of the world. These are sores or ulcers that are small, oval, or round and are yellowish in colour. It is painful and often starts during adolescence. They appear on the softer parts of the mouth like the lips, tongue, cheeks, and the soft palate. They usually heal on their own and appear in new locations frequently. The canker sores can be of the below types:
- Minor canker sores which appear 3 or 4 times a year.
- Major canker sores are less summon and the ulcers are bigger.
- Herpetiform canker sores which are rare and appear as clusters of tiny sores.
Canker Sores Symptoms
Canker sores can be irritating and painful. Before it becomes painful it appears as:
- Round, small and well-defined which is about less than a cm in size. It appears in the mouth’s lining or the mucosal surface.
- Tingling sensation in the mouth before the sores appear.
- The centre of the sore is white or yellow and the skin surrounding it is red and inflamed.
- Sores appear on the inside of the mouth, the lip, cheeks, underside, or upper side of the tongue.
- It can also affect the gums in some rare cases.
- Sores can last for up to 2 weeks before it is completely healed.
In some rare cases, the symptoms can also include:
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
Who is at Risk?
The following is considered as the risk factors for canker sores:
- People who have had an injury due to accidental biting, sports activities, damage to the tissues due to dental work.
- People who do not follow proper dental hygiene.
- People who use oral products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
- People who consume food that is acidic or spicy.
- People who suffer from intense emotional stress.
- People who have weak immunity.
- People who eat food that can trigger this condition like nuts, dairy, chocolate, etc.
- People who suffer from frequent hormonal changes.
- Affects women more than men.
- People in the age group of 30 and 40 are more prone to canker sores.
Canker Sore Causes
The exact causes of canker sore are not yet known but there are some factors that contribute to it, like:
- Viral infections can be one of the reasons for canker sore.
- The family history of these sores is also thought to be one of the causes.
- Allergies to food like dairy, chocolates, eggs, etc can also develop sores.
- Conditions like nutritional deficiency, inflammatory bowel disease, weak immune system, or overactive immunity can also lead to sores.
- Injury to the mouth due to dental treatment or damage to the mouth lining.
- Hormonal changes in women especially during menstruation.
- Certain medications can also inflame the lining of the mouth and cause sores.
- Chronic stress can also lead to canker sores.
How are Canker Sores Diagnosed?
Canker sore diagnosis is done by examining it. A series of tests are ordered if the breakout is thought to be severe, is due to virus infection, vitamin deficiency, or a problem with the immune system.
- The medical history and family history are investigated to know if there are any underlying conditions that are the cause of the sore.
- A blood test is performed to determine if the virus is causing infection. It also is useful to determine if there is any vitamin deficiency.
- A biopsy is done if the canker sores do not heal even after treatment. It can be used to determine if it is a cancerous lesion which also appears as a canker sore.
How is Canker Sore Treated?
In most cases, there is no need for canker sore treatment from a dentist. There are many over the counter medicines that can heal and also prevent infections. In case it persists, the treatment options the canker sore doctor may prescribe the following:
- Gel or paste which soothes the pain and also provides relief from irritants like food. Mouth patches also can promote faster healing and also protect against irritants.
- Medicine for canker sore to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Mouthwash that prevents the growth of microorganisms like bacteria and also prevents sores. Prescription mouthwash contains corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and pain.
- If the canker sores do not respond to the above then systemic treatments to treat intestinal ulcers, gout, etc are provided.
Canker sores are painful and affect the way of life. Consult our specialists at Cure.fit to get effective canker sore cure.
How can Canker Sores be Prevented?
Canker sores often come back and hence there is no permanent cure for it. There are many ways of prevention of canker sore. Some of them are:
- Follow proper dental hygiene so that it prevents infections.
- Use a toothbrush that is soft to brush which prevents injury to the gums.
- Avoid foods that irritate the mouth including spicy foods.
- Avoid smoking as it can irritate the lining of the mouth and cause sores.
- Avoid chewing gum.
- Avoid spicy and acidic food that can trigger ulcers.