London: Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small, painful sores that can develop inside your mouth. They are not contagious, but they can be very uncomfortable. Canker sores typically appear on the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your tongue, gums, or inner cheeks. They can be white or yellow in color, and they are often surrounded by a red, inflamed area.
Causes of Canker Sores:
The exact cause of canker sores is still not fully understood. However, several factors are believed to contribute to their development:
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What Causes Canker Sores?
The exact cause of canker sores is not fully understood, but there are a number of factors that can trigger them, including:
Stress: Canker sores are often triggered by stress.
Dietary deficiencies: A lack of certain vitamins or minerals, such as iron, vitamin B12, or folate, can increase your risk of developing canker sores.
Hormonal changes: Canker sores can be more common in women during times of hormonal change, such as menstruation or pregnancy.
Food allergies: Some people may develop canker sores after eating certain foods, such as citrus fruits, nuts, or chocolate.
Trauma to the mouth: Canker sores can also develop after an injury to the inside of your mouth, such as from biting your cheek or tongue.
How Are Canker Sores Treated?
Most canker sores go away on their own within 1-2 weeks, without any treatment. However, there are a number of things you can do to help relieve the pain and discomfort, such as:
Over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with canker sores.
Oral rinses: There are a number of over-the-counter oral rinses that can help soothe canker sores. Look for rinses that contain ingredients such as benzocaine or benzyl alcohol.
Gels and ointments: There are also a number of gels and ointments that can help relieve the pain and discomfort of canker sores. These products typically contain ingredients such as hydrocortisone or triamcinolone.
Salt water rinses: Salt water rinses can also help to soothe canker sores. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth with the solution for 30 seconds.
If your canker sores are severe or do not go away after 2 weeks, you should see a doctor. There may be an underlying medical condition that is causing your canker sores.
Medications for Canker Sores
Pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with canker sores.
Topical treatments: Over-the-counter gels, ointments, or mouth rinses containing ingredients like benzocaine, hydrogen peroxide, or antimicrobial agents can provide temporary pain relief and promote healing.
Home Remedies for Canker Sores
Saltwater rinses: Gargling with warm saltwater can help soothe the pain and reduce inflammation.
Baking soda paste: Applying a paste made of baking soda and water directly onto the sore can help alleviate discomfort.
Honey: Applying a small amount of honey onto the sore can provide a protective barrier and promote healing.
Can Canker Sores Be Prevented?
There is no sure way to prevent canker sores, but there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk, such as:
Avoiding foods that trigger your canker sores: If you know that certain foods trigger your canker sores, try to avoid them.
Managing stress: Stress can be a trigger for canker sores, so it is important to find ways to manage stress in your life.
Eating a balanced diet: Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to prevent canker sores.
Taking good care of your teeth and gums: Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day can help to keep your mouth healthy and reduce your risk of developing canker sores.
Canker sores can be a temporary nuisance, causing discomfort and pain. Understanding the potential causes and available treatment options can help individuals manage and alleviate the symptoms. While most canker sores heal on their own, if you experience recurrent or severe sores, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene and adopting a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in preventing the onset of canker sores and promoting overall oral health.