Canker sores are defined as small-sized, shallow ulcers that form in the mouth lining. It starts as whitish to yellowish ulcerations bordered with redness. In most cases, they are small but might grow up to 1 inch in diameter. The sores can be tender and can cause eating and talking sore.
What are the types?
- Simple – these might form 3 or 4 times in a year and last up to a week. Anyone can develop canker sores, but they typically form among those between 10-20 years of age
- Complex – this type is uncommon and often arises among those who had sores before
What are the causes?
The precise cause is unknown but some of the possible causes include the following:
- Minor injury or stress to the interior of the mouth is believed as the cause for the simple sores.
- Certain foods such as acidic or citrus fruits and vegetables might trigger a canker sore or aggravate it.
- Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen
- Pointed tooth surface or dental device such as poorly-fitting dentures or braces
- Certain diseases that affect the immune system such as lupus, inflammatory bowel ailments and AIDS.
- Nutritional issue such as a deficiency in vitamin B12, folic acid, zinc or iron
What are the symptoms?
If an individual has a canker sore, the following might be present:
- Painful sore within the mouth, usually on the tongue, inside the cheeks or the soft palate
- Burning or tingling sensation before the appearance of the sores
- Mouth sores that are rounded, white or grayish in appearance with a reddened perimeter
In serious cases, the individual might also experience fever, enlarged lymph nodes as well as sluggishness.
Management of canker sores
The discomfort from a canker sore typically lessens in a few days and the sores typically heal without requiring treatment within 1-2 weeks. Over-the-counter products can also be used to relieve the symptoms.
If the sores are painful, large or do not heal before new sores manifest, the treatment requires a prescription antibacterial mouth rinse, corticosteroid ointment or a prescription or over-the-counter solution to lessen the pain and irritation.