Canker sores are mainly triggered by stress and can be annoying, uncomfortable and painful. They can make it difficult for you to eat or talk properly. Most of us get them from time to time. Anyone suffering from canker sores wants to get rid of them as quickly as possible but in order for you to do that, you need to first understand what they are and how they are caused. To help you out, dentists in Brampton have explained where canker sores come from, ways to avoid them and how to treat them if you ever get one. Keep reading and discover everything you need to know about these throbbing lesions.
1. How are canker sores caused?
It isn’t altogether clear how canker sores are caused but they aren’t known to be contagious and cannot be spread through saliva. Canker sores can be the outcome of an injury, like when braces rub or catch against the inside of your cheek or lips or when you accidentally bite into the skin. However, most often they seem to appear out of nowhere. Canker sores can be triggered by a number of reasons including dehydration, a weakened immune system, stress, allergies, and certain medications. Some other common causes are:
- Toothpaste comprising of sodium lauryl sulfate
- A diet which lacks in iron, folic acid, zinc or vitamin B-12
- Hormonal changes that take place during menstrual cycles
- Sensitivity to coffee, eggs, chocolates, strawberries, cheese, nuts, and acidic or spicy foods
- Viral infection
2. How to avoid them?
Since there isn’t an immediate cure to these sores, if you happen to get one, you just have to be patient and wait for it to heal on its own. It may take around 1-2 weeks for them to heal completely, but there are certain things you can do to speed up the recovery time. Use mouthwash twice a day and although it may burn initially, it will help get rid of germs and reduce pain significantly. Some other tips to help you avoid the sores are:
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to prevent irritating your gums and mouth
- Floss and brush after each meal to keep food particles out
- Practice meditation as a stress reduction technique
- If you wear braces, you may want to start using orthodontic waxes to cover the sharp edges
3. How to differentiate between a cold sore and a canker sore?
Canker sores never appear on the external surface of the mouth or lips, unlike cold sores that occur on the outside. Though they may both have similar triggers, canker sores aren’t contagious since there are no bacteria or viruses associated with them.
4. Who is prone to getting canker sores?
In truth, anyone is at the risk of developing canker sores. They can commonly be seen running in families and are most common among:
- Women (especially around their period)
- Young adults and adolescents
- People with food allergies
- People under a lot of stress
You are also at the risk of developing canker sores if your mouth is hurt from recent dental work or a trauma of any kind. Even brushing vigorously can result in them occurring
5. What are the treatment options?
If you’re experiencing a canker sore, the best result you can get from any kind of treatment is speeding up the healing and reducing the pain. Certain things you can do are:
- Stay away from spicy and hot foods as they can cause irritation
- Use over-the-counter saltwater rinses or mouthwashes
- See your dentist if it doesn’t fade away in two weeks or if you have other health-related problems such as skin rash, headache, or fever along with the sore.
If you notice unusually deep or large canker sores that haven’t healed in a long time or if they keep coming back very often, it’s best to see your dentist in Brampton as soon as possible. Mouth ulcers that don’t heal over an extended period of time can be a warning sign. In such cases, it’s best to go for an oral cancer screening to know for sure if there’s anything to worry about or not. You should pay attention and ensure these types of ulcers resolve quickly and remember to seek medical attention if they don’t.