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How to get rid of canker sores

Jan 5, 2023Oral health

How to get rid of canker sores

There is no clear explanation for what causes canker sores, so it can be difficult to figure out how to eliminate them as soon as possible. The researchers at BMC Oral Health discovered that hyaluronic acid-based treatments, such as Gels or Oral Rinds like Gengigel, might be able to help speed up the healing of canker sores, but may not be effective for all people.

There are several ways in which you can help heal your canker sores. You can brush your teeth regularly and use hydrogen peroxide to rinse your mouth, which helps to reduce bacteria in your mouth in addition to healing your canker sores.

If you are experiencing canker sores on a regular basis, then you might be suffering from stress-induced canker sores. Canker sores may be caused by hormonal shifts. It may take a little trial and error to pinpoint the cause, but it is much better to prevent the issue from occurring in the first place as opposed to focusing solely on how to treat canker sores after they have appeared.

What Is a Canker Sore?

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small, shallow open wounds or ulcers that can develop in the mouth, making it difficult to eat and talk. There are various forms of canker sores:

Minor canker sores: Minor canker sores are a common occurrence for those ages 10 to 20, generally occurring three or four times yearly. These minor lesions usually measure less than one centimeter in diameter and typically heal within one week without leaving any scarring.

Major canker sores: Major canker sores are less common than minor canker sores and can cause ulcerations to last more than two weeks. These ulcerations may also result in scarring upon healing.

Herpetiform canker sores: Herpetiform canker sores are a rare phenomenon, featuring clusters of small ulcers that typically resolve within the course of one week.


How long do canker sores even last?

Canker sores (aphthous stomatitis) are common oral lesions characterized by small, round, yellow or white ulcers that can be painful. These ulcers often appear on the insides of the cheeks, lips or tongue.

Patients may experience stinging or tingling sensations along with a red rim around the ulcer as additional symptoms.

Most minor cases of canker sores typically cause discomfort for a period of three to five days, healing completely within two weeks. In comparison, complex canker sores that are larger and more painful may take up to six weeks to heal, with the possibility of scarring.


What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Canker Sores?

Canker sores typically present as round, painful sores with a white or yellow coating and a red halo around the perimeter. Generally they are small (¼ inch or 6 millimeters in diameter) and shallow; however, occasionally these sores can be larger and deeper.

Canker sores typically appear individually, however they may also appear in small groups. It is not uncommon for an affected area to experience tingling or burning sensations prior to the development of a canker sore.

Canker sores typically take two weeks to heal. They can be particularly painful during the initial three to four days, but the discomfort should dissipate as the sores heal. Generally, these sores will heal without leaving any scarring unless they are large or deep.


Canker Sore Diagnosis

In most cases, canker sores are not serious. If you have any of the following, please contact your dentist:

  • Unusually large sores
  • Sores that spread
  • Sores that last 3 weeks or longer
  • Despite avoiding trigger foods and taking over-the-counter pain medication, the patient is still experiencing extreme pain.
  • Trouble drinking enough fluids
  • A high fever with canker sores
  • Mouth sores that occur often or last for an extended period of time may be indicative of an underlying health issue, such as pemphigus, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Behcet’s disease, autoimmune disease, anemia, HIV, or in rare instances, oral cancer or leukemia.

A diagnosis can typically be made based on a physical examination and an individual’s medical history. Depending upon the circumstances, a doctor may elect to test the patient’s blood in order to determine if a vitamin deficiency or other health issue is responsible for the sores.


Canker Sore Treatment

The pain caused by canker sores typically dissipates within a few days, and the sores usually heal without intervention in approximately one to two weeks. For large, long-lasting, or particularly bothersome sores, treatments may include:

Mouthwashes: Your physician may prescribe a medicated rinse containing either a steroid or analgesic.

Topical medications: Your doctor may decide to prescribe a topical steroid for inflammation, along with a topical anesthetic such as lidocaine to provide relief from pain. Additionally, they may recommend Aphthasol, a prescription ointment referred to as an “oral paste,” which can assist in decreasing the discomfort and quickening the healing process.

Oral medications: Sucralfate (Carafate), a medication used to treat ulcers, and colchicine (Mitigare), a gout drug, can also be used to treat canker sores.

Nutritional supplements: If you suspect that nutrient deficiency may be the cause of your canker sores, it may be beneficial to consider certain supplements.

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