There are few things more infuriating than going to take a bite out of your favorite food and being met with a jolt of mouth pain. However, this pain isn’t stemming from your tooth. Instead, it’s coming from the inside of your lip or cheek. When you look in the mirror to see what’s causing the pain, you’re probably met with a white spot.
This is what a general dentist calls a canker sore. To learn what they are as well as how to relieve and prevent them, keep reading!
What are Canker Sores?
Canker sores are small ulcers that can appear anywhere in the mouth. They often make chewing foods and even talking difficult since you’re not used to their presence. As a result, it’s easy to bite them and make them even more inflamed.
While the cause of canker sores is unknown, they’re believed to appear due to stress or tissue injury. Certain foods containing large amounts of citrus or acidic compounds can trigger the creation of a canker sore or make existing ones worse. They can also appear when a dental device scratches oral tissue or due to an underlying health condition, such as an impaired immune system or nutritional deficiency.
Furthermore, the rate they appear can also depend on genetics. For example, girls are more likely to get them due to fluctuating levels in their hormones. For reference, about 20 percent of the U.S. population is predisposed to developing canker sores.
How Do I Relieve My Canker Sores?
The good news is that the pain felt from canker sores only lasts a few days. They tend to heal without treatment within one to two weeks. Of course, you can always speed up this healing process by utilizing mouth rinses multiple times a day. Hydrogen peroxide or salt and baking soda mixtures can effectively sanitize the area.
To relieve pain felt from canker sores, use numbing agents like Orajel. Pastes like Milk of Magnesia used in tandem with hydrogen peroxide can provide pain relief and accelerated healing as well.
How Do I Prevent Them in the First Place?
If you’re part of the population that can develop canker sores, consider the following tips to reduce your chances of having them appear below:
- Avoid foods that easily irritate the mouth, including citrus fruits, acidic vegetables, and spicy foods.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing after meals. Be sure to floss once a day to keep the mouth free of food debris.
- If your dental device is irritating your mouth, see your dentist for adjustments.
If you experience a canker sore that lasts longer than two weeks, schedule an appointment with your dentist to get a prescribed antimicrobial mouthwash today!
About the Author
Dr. Robert Long earned his dental degree from the University of Health Science Center at San Antonio. He regularly educates parents and children alike on the best habits for oral care, including on how to prevent canker sores from developing. To learn more about his preventive treatments or practice, contact him through his website.