Have you ever had a painful white sore in your mouth that makes it hard to eat and talk? It could be a Canker sore and having them can be really painful and annoying especially when you have a tasty meal to eat.
Canker sores are also called Aphthous Ulcer. They are small or shallow ulcers that develop in your mouth or at the base of your gums.

Most canker sores go away on their own in a week or two. Check with your doctor or dentist if you have unusually large or painful canker sores or canker sores that don’t seem to heal

Symptoms:

·       A small white or yellow oval-shaped ulcer in your mouth.

·       A painful red area in your mouth.

·       A tingling sensation in your mouth.

When to see a doctor: Consult your doctor if you experience:

  • Unusually large canker sores
  • Recurring sores, with new ones developing before old ones heal, or frequent outbreaks
  • Persistent sores, lasting two weeks or more
  • Sores that extend into the lips themselves (vermilion border)
  • Pain that you can’t control with self-care measures
  • Extreme difficulty eating or drinking
  • High fever along with canker sores

See your dentist if you have sharp tooth surfaces or dental appliances that seem to trigger the sores.

Causes: The precise cause of canker sores remains unclear. Possible triggers for canker sores include:

  • A minor injury to your mouth from dental work, overzealous brushing, sports mishaps or an accidental cheek bite
  • Toothpastes and mouth rinses containing sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Food sensitivities, particularly to chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, cheese, and spicy or acidic foods
  • A diet lacking in vitamin B-12, zinc, folate (folic acid) or iron
  • An allergic response to certain bacteria in your mouth – Helicobacter pylori, the same bacteria that cause peptic ulcers
  • Hormonal shifts during menstruation
  • Emotional stress

Canker sores may also occur because of certain conditions and diseases, such as:

  • Celiac disease, a serious intestinal disorder caused by a sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in most grains
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Behcet’s disease, a rare disorder that causes inflammation throughout the body, including the mouth
  • A faulty immune system that attacks healthy cells in your mouth instead of pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria
  • HIV/AIDS, which suppresses the immune system

Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not associated with herpes virus infections.

Risk factors: Anyone can develop canker sores. But they occur more often in teens and young adults, and they’re more common in females. Often people with recurrent canker sores have a family history of the disorder. This may be due to heredity or a shared factor in the environment, such as certain foods or allergens.

Prevention:  Canker sores often recur, but you may be able to reduce their frequency by following these tips:

  • Watch what you eat.Try to avoid foods that seem to irritate your mouth. These may include nuts, chips, pretzels, certain spices, salty foods and acidic fruits, such as pineapple, grapefruit and oranges. Avoid any foods to which you’re sensitive or allergic.
  • Choose healthy foods.To help prevent nutritional deficiencies, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Follow good oral hygiene habits.Regular brushing after meals and flossing once a day can keep your mouth clean and free of foods that might trigger a sore. Use a soft brush to help prevent irritation to delicate mouth tissues, and avoid toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Protect your mouth.If you have braces or other dental appliances, ask your dentist about orthodontic waxes to cover sharp edges.
  • Reduce your stress.If your canker sores seem to be related to stress, learn and use stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation and guided imagery.

You could also visit your dentist for further advice.

Call our office at 0700DENTIST or 0811 113 1200 for any questions and enquiries.

At Choice Dental, we will be happy to answer your questions on dental care. You can visit us at our office in Victoria Island, Lagos or give us a call today at 0700(DENTIST) and set up a consultation appointment.

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