To help canker sores you should know that they are painful, small, and shallow ulcers that are present in your mouth, cheeks, lips, and gums, The other name of canker sore is Aphthous ulcers.
Aphthous ulcers heal by themselves in about 7-14 days, if it remains longer, see your doctor or dentist at once.
Diagnosis to help canker sores:
They can be identified visually by a doctor or dentist.
If they are large or you feel severe pain, some tests will be done to examine the other health problems.
Symptoms of aphthous ulcers:
-Burning sensation before the appearance
-Loss of weight
-Drinking, eating, and talking is difficult
Aphthous ulcers are oval, round in shape, white color with a red border
When you see your doctor:
If canker sores last for a month, spread over your mouth, you feel unusual pain, permanent rises in your body temperature, or a large ulcer.
Difference between cold sore and canker sores:
-Caused by herpes simplex virus
-Very contagious and fluid-filled occur on lips and outside your mouth
-Called fever blister
-Unknown cause, they may be by allergic reactions or virus
-Occur inside your mouth, cheeks, or lips
-Called aphthous ulcers
Types of canker sores:
1-Minor canker sores
They are the most common type that occurs in 80% of patients, they measure less than 1 centimeters, last for 2 weeks, and heal rapidly without scarring.
2-Major canker sores
They are less common (10-12% of patients), deeper, and larger than minor canker sores. They measure more than 1 centimeters. They last for 10-30 days and heal with scarring.
3-Herpetiform canker sore
They appear in the form of a group of multiple and small ulcers at the same time, They heal in about 7 days without scarring.
Causes of canker sores:
The cause of canker sore is unknown till now But it may be due to health problems, some drugs or bad lifestyles.
Health problems related to aphthous ulcers:
-Stress and fatigue
-Change in hormones
-Systemic lupus erythematosus
-Diseases lead to a decrease in the immune system as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), or cold flu
-Deficiency in folic acid, zinc, iron, or vitamin B12
Bad lifestyle as:
-Brushing your teeth with a hard toothbrush
-Eating acidic food like cheese, milk, lemon, grapefruit, tomato, soda drink….
-Using toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate
A bad lifestyle doesn't help canker sores to heal so stop them.
-Patients who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
-Drug containing sulfur
-Antiplatelet aggregation drugs
Treatment of canker sores:
They heal by themselves and almost don't need treatment.
If you have severe pain, large ulcer, fever, discomfort in eating or drinking and you can't bear the pain, in this case, take treatment to help canker sores heal or see your doctor.
Lifestyle modifications help canker sores by brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush to avoid tissue injury, Using the proper toothpaste, Avoid eating spicy or citrus food, eat a good diet rich in vitamin C, keep your mouth clean and please stop smoking to enjoy good health.
you can use mouthwash to help canker sores. It may contain diphenhydramine, lidocaine, or lignocaine to relieve the pain because of its anesthetic effect.
If you suffer from severe inflammation, you will take an antiinflammatory mouthwash.
Dose: 3-4 times daily
Avoid swallowing it
These products can be found in the form of cream, gel, or ointment, there are several active ingredients you can use, such as Lidocaine, benzocaine, hydrogen peroxide...
If canker sores are caused by bacterial infection, Use topical antibiotics for proper healing.
Also, there is topical anti-inflammatory you can use such as fluocinonide...
You can apply the topical product as soon as the canker sores appear, use it 3-4 times daily.
your doctor may prescribe oral treatment to get rid of the pain such as ibuprofen, naproxen, paracetamol.
Vitamins, zinc, folate, or iron in case of their content in your body decrease.
If you suffer from any health problems related to Aphthous ulcers, make sure to treat them along with treating symptoms of canker sores.
Home remedies for Aphthous ulcers
Most people tend to use home remedies, Here are 7 of the most important home remedies:
Saltwater is used to help canker sores although it is very painful, it helps in the dryness of the canker sores.
Put the solution in your mouth, swish it around for 15-30 seconds.
Hydrogen peroxide is used to help canker sores by relieving the pain, reduces bacterial growth, and enhances the cleaning of your mouth.
Dissolve 3% of hydrogen peroxide in equal content of water, Put cotton swab in the solution then apply it on the ulcers
Baking soda is used as a mouthwash to help canker sores by making balanced PH, reducing inflammatory mediators and pain.
Dilute one teaspoon in 100 ml of water then swish it around in your mouth for 15-30 seconds.
It's one of the most preferable remedies to help canker sores, relieve symptoms, prevent recurrence of them, and enhance your immune system.
You can use it as a mouthwash or find it in the form of a tablet.
Apply ice directly to ulcers until it dissolves, It will decrease your pain.
6-Aloe Vera gel
Aloe Vera offers a reduction in inflammation, pain and gives a soothing effect, and speed healing.
Honey has a powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect.
2014 studies approved that honey is effective in treating Aphthous ulcers and preventing recurrence of them.
Canker sores aren't serious, Treatments to help canker sores are available so don't worry. I wish you a good health
Written by: Dr. Nourhan Sallam