Canker Sores- What Causes Them and How to Get Some Relief

There are very few feelings in the world worse than attempting to eat or drink when you have a canker sore in your mouth. Canker sores occur regularly in approximately one in five individuals, smallish open eruptions that arise inside the mouth, cheeks, lips, throat, and on occasion, the tongue. Canker sores are different from cold sores in that they are always located on the inside of the mouth, are not contagious, and are not caused by a virus, while cold sores form on the outside of the mouth around the lips, cheeks, or chin, can be spread to others by kissing, and are the result of the herpes simplex virus. The exact cause of canker sores is not clear, but the good news is that they usually go away on their own in a few days. The bad news is that until they do, canker sores can make you miserable.

Canker sores are also called aphthous ulcers and anyone can be subject to them, however, they tend to happen to women twice as much as men. There seems to be a heredity link involved in who will get canker sores as well; if you have a propensity towards developing canker sores then there is a ninety percent likelihood your kids will too! There is no one single cause of canker sores that scientists can pin down, but they have shown that those with nutritional deficiencies involving such compounds as folic acid, iron, and vitamin B-12 lean towards having canker sores. An immune system problem can result in canker sores, as can a mouth injury. Something that is as innocuous as biting the inside of your lip or brushing your teeth too hard can result in a painful canker sore. Women that are going through heir menstrual cycle are at a bigger risk for canker sores, and it seems that emotional stress is a factor in their development. Canker sores for the most part initially will appear in people between the ages of ten and forty.

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Some canker sores can be as large as one inch in diameter, although most are considerably smaller in size. A canker sore first manifests itself as a tingling or burning sensation somewhere inside the mouth. It will take about one day after you feel that sensation for the canker sore to appear. It will be an open sore with a white or yellowish color to it, surrounded by an edge of red. In some cases, canker sores can appear in clusters, compounding an already bad problem. On rare occasions, a fever and swollen lymph nodes can accompany the formation of a canker sore. Lasting anywhere from three to four day to a little over a week on average, canker sores will clear up on their own, and all signs of one are usually gone in about two weeks.

But during their stay, canker sores just plain hurt. It is painful when anything comes into contact with them, making eating and drinking not pleasant. When the canker sore first makes it debut is when the pain is at its worst. Anyone with a canker sore needs to stay away from consuming abrasive foods like nuts or potato chips, or they will pay the price as they try to chew them. A canker sore located anywhere in the vicinity of where the base of your gums meets the bottom of your lip is one of the last things you would ever want to try to eat or drink with. Brush your teeth with a soft bristle toothbrush and do not brush them excessively hard. Foods and drinks that are spicy, salty, or acidic should be avoided; you do not want to attempt to drink orange or tomato juice for instance if you have a canker sore.

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The application of ice or ice chips can bring some relief to the area affected by a canker sore. A solution of one part water and one part hydrogen peroxide can be used as a mouth rinse or can be applied directly to the site to provide a reprieve from an angry canker sore; as can rinsing your mouth out with salt water. Make sure that children are aware not to swallow such mixtures. Some doctors recommend applying a small amount of Milk of Magnesia onto a canker sore a few times each day to speed up the healing process and reduce the pain. Adults can try aspirin or over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol if the canker sore is especially painful, but children under the age of ten should never be given aspirin, as this can lead to a potentially fatal disease known as Reyes Syndrome. In cases involving severe canker sores, your physician may have you take some form of an antibiotic known as tetracycline, but for children who do not yet have all of their permanent teeth, this is not an option, as tetracycline can discolor teeth that are just forming. Canker sores are not serious, but until a canker sore is gone for good, you won’t think that it is not that big of a deal.