Understanding Canker Sores

Being a dentist means helping our patients achieve amazing oral health. By teaching beneficial daily routines like correctly brushing and flossing, our Melbourne, Florida dental office can see the improvement in confidence and lifestyle a healthy mouth brings. However, some oral conditions like canker sores are much more difficult to prevent and along with being extremely painful can crush self-confidence for weeks at a time. Healing sores in the soft tissues is just as important to us as treating cavities and preventing periodontal disease. In today’s blog we will learn about what causes canker sores and how Dr. Brazdo and her team at Artistic Touch Dentistry can help clear them.

What is a Canker Sore?

Canker sores are ulcers that form in the mucosal tissue of the mouth. They can be extremely painful and easily irritated by the teeth or tongue touching them. In most cases they clear up on their own in just a few weeks. These ulcers appear most commonly on the inner lips and cheeks. In some cases they are found under the tongue and in even rarer cases they can develop in the hard and soft tissues of the palate and gums. These painful sores develop as ovals or circles, often gray or yellow in the center surrounded by ring of red inflamed tissue. Because of their proximity to the teeth and tongue, they are easily irritated and can take up to two weeks to heal in some situations.

Canker sores affect people of all ages from toddlers to grandparents. And, about 25 percent of the American population suffers from recurring canker sores in a condition called recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Canker sores are a common condition for children and young people and the frequency and severity of these ulcers diminishes with age. There are many things that can cause canker sores, therefore its diagnoses in each patient dealing with oral ulcers may be different. Common factors include trauma, such as biting your cheek and the site not being able to heal, hormonal changes, stress, adverse reactions to medications, food sensitivities, and nutritional deficiencies. In some cases recurrent canker sores are caused by viral infections such as herpes, HIV, and IBS. These infections compromise the immune system and create susceptibility to the development of oral ulcers.

What Should I Do About Canker Sores?

Canker sores are one of the most common oral concern people have. Thankfully these irritating and painful sores are able to heal on their own in one or two weeks after development. It is not necessary to schedule a visit to your Melbourne, Florida dentist right away when you notice a canker sore. Most of the treatment we can offer is designed to alleviate the symptoms of the canker sore until it heals itself. It is beneficial to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash or a solution of saltwater to hasten healing. It is also important to steer clear of any foods that may irritate the canker sore, so you can allow it to heal as fast as possible. This can include, spicy, acidic, or rough, abrasive foods. As stress can trigger the development of an oral ulcer, it may be beneficial to take some time to just relax and allow your body to heal.

When to See A Dentist

In most cases canker sores will heal on their own. However, if a sore has not healed by two weeks after developing, it is critical that you schedule an appointment with your Melbourne, Florida dentist. On the not-so-serious side of the spectrum you may have developed a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics and oral bandages that can protect the sore from your teeth and tongue while it heals. However, persistent oral sores can also be a symptom of oral cancer, and it is always better to be screened as soon as possible to diagnose and treat oral cancer. If you have a particularly painful and persistent canker sore do not hesitate to call our office for advice as we can help treat the symptoms and provide a screen for oral cancer as well.

Canker sores are one of the most common oral conditions people deal with. While painful and aggravating, they should heal on their own. If you have any questions about what you can do to prevent canker sores or alleviate your symptoms do not hesitate to call our office today. And, if you are worried about a persistent or particularly troublesome sore, make that call today so Dr. Brazdo can begin to help you heal and feel like you again.