What is a Canker Sore?

What is a Canker SoreA canker sore is a small, shallow lesion that appears in the mouth. They are usually round or oval, with white centers and a red border. Canker sores can sometimes make it painful to eat and speak, but they are not contagious.

Many people get canker sores mixed up with cold sores. Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that normally appear outside of the mouth. Cold sores are also caused by a virus and are highly contagious, neither which is true of canker sores. It is actually still somewhat debatable as to the exact causes of developing a canker sore, but researchers have linked canker sores to certain conditions. A minor injury to the mouth, such as biting the cheek or brushing too hard, is thought to be one of the causes of canker sores. Stress, hormonal shifts during menstruation, and toothpastes containing sodium laurel sulfate are also thought to contribute to the development of canker sores. Additionally, certain systemic diseases are thought to play a role in developing canker sores. Celiac disease, immune disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases, and HIV/AIDS have all been linked to canker sores.

Treatment for a canker sore usually involves letting it heal on its own within a few days. In some cases, active treatment of particularly large or painful canker sores may be necessary. Mouth rinses, topical products, oral medications, and nutritional supplements are normally sufficient in treating such cases.

While most canker sores tend to be minor, if your canker sores are unusually large, extremely painful, recurrent, or making it hard to eat or drink, you should contact our dental office to schedule a consultation.

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