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What is a Canker Sore?

August 26, 2021 | Blog

Ice cream can be a cure for many things. Sore throat, a broken heart, and yes, even a canker sore!

Canker sores are common, but what exactly causes these annoying oral nuisances and how do you get rid of them? The Gulf Coast Dental team is prepared with answers. And they endorse the ice cream cure.

A canker sore, also known as an aphthous ulcer, is a small open wound on the inside of the mouth. Most often they are found on the inside of the lips or cheek.

Symptoms of canker sores include:

  • A tingling sensation in your mouth
  • Painful redness at the wound site
  • A small white or yellow oval-shaped ulcer
  • Pain when talking or eating

Unlike a cold sore, these wounds happen exclusively on the inside of the mouth and are therefore not contagious.

These ulcers are usually not serious, but a medical professional should be contacted if any of the symptoms spread, persist or grow increasingly painful, as it could be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Canker Sore Causes

Because these sores are so common, there are many different factors that can lead tp someone developing one.

Any damage to the tissue inside of your mouth might result in a canker sore. Biting the inside of your cheek or the rubbing of braces within your mouth might cause enough injury for a sore to emerge.

Your diet could also take effect on your mouth health. Regularly consuming foods that are especially acidic, such as oranges or pineapple, may cause stress on the mouth tissue as well. Spicy foods can have the same effect. Not getting enough of the correct nutrients in your diet could also cause a deficiency that could result in a canker sore.

It’s often all in the family. If your family has a medical record of regular canker sores, you may run a higher risk of developing them more frequently. Experts suggest that hormonal imbalances may explain why women experience them more often than men.

Canker sores are experienced most often as a symptom of stress. Physical and emotional stress take a toll on the body’s entire immune system, putting the delicate tissue of the inner mouth in jeopardy. It has also been determined that people tend to bite the inside of their lips or cheeks when under stress.

How to treat a canker sore

Depending on the severity of your sore, there are home remedies as well as clinical treatments available for canker sores to choose from.

Home Remedies to get rid of a canker sore

While canker sores usually go away naturally within 1-3 weeks, there are still several at-home treatments you may want to try before consulting a dentist.

  • Rinse your mouth with ½ cup of warm water and 1 tsp of baking soda or salt
  • Use milk of magnesia to dab on the sore with a cotton swab 2-3 times a day until relieved
  • Hold ice chips to the sore to numb the area
  • Be gentle when brushing your teeth to avoid irritating the area more
  • Soft, cool foods (such as yogurt or ice cream) may be soothing to the sore

Canker Sore Treatment

If the sores persist and don’t go away naturally, a dentist may require alternative medical practices to treat the area.

Steroid medication may be administered to help the inflammation of the wounds. These medications can come in the form of a pill, a topical cream or a special mouthwash.

Dietary and nutritional supplements can be provided if a doctor determines a vitamin deficiency to be the cause of canker sore.

In extreme cases, a dental laser may be used to rid the tissue of sores. Dentists use specific chemicals to cauterize the ulcer for instant relief.

If you think you might be experiencing a canker sore, call Gulf Coast Dental for a consultation to help you towards healing.



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