What are canker sores?
Canker sores manifest as a single bump or a group of bumps. These sores usually appear on the surface of the gums, roof of the mouth, cheeks, lips and tongue. These sores are completely benign. Symptoms start with a tingling or burning sensation, and progresses to a more painful bump or red spot that eventually becomes an open ulcer. It is possible to develop fever, swollen lymph glands and a general discomfort or malaise, but not for the most part. Within 1-2 weeks the pain will disappear, although canker sores frequently return again.
What causes canker sores?
Canker sores can be linked to problems with the body’s immune system, but often times they are brought about by emotional stress, hormonal changes, menstrual periods, food allergies, spicy foods, and dietary deficiencies of iron, B-12 (cobalamin) and Folic Acid. These sores may occur after an aggressive tooth cleaning, dental work, or biting one’s cheek or tongue. Canker Sores often occur in conjunction with a viral infection.
What can I do to prevent and treat canker sores?
Treatment is usually not necessary, as the canker sores usually go away by themselves. While the canker sore is present, you should avoid eating hot or spicy foods, anything acidic or anything rough and crunchy, as they may cause some discomfort. Prescriptions of corticosteroids or special rinses may be given by your dentist to help with your healing and comfort, but you can also find over-the-counter rinses and medicines that can soothe the painful areas. Warm, salt water rinses, peroxide rinses or Milk of Magnisia can also be used. In fact, the rinse many dentists prescribe is called the Magic Mouth Rinse, which contains equal parts of viscous lidocaine (as the numbing agent), along with Benedryl and Malox. In order to help prevent their reoccurrence, keep your resistance up by eating healthy, sleeping well and controlling your stress levels.