Canker sores come in all different shapes and sizes. These pesky things seem to plague all of us at point or another during our lifetime. So, what is a canker sore and what causes it? We hope to dive in and answer these questions and also help you understand if your dentist can help out with them.
What Are Canker Sores?
Canker Sores, also called aphthous ulcers, are a small and yet very painful bump that forms on the tissue within your mouth. They can be found on or under your tongue, on the roof of your mouth, or on the inside of your cheek. They often start out as a small red spot that has a burning sensation to it. Over time, they develop into a larger spot that is usually white or yellowish in color. The surrounding border of tissue will often appear quite red.
What Causes Canker Sores?
While its exact cause is not always clear, there are many things that can lead to canker sores. This list is not all-inclusive but can be helpful to look through if you find yourself getting recurrent canker sores. As with most things, avoiding the irritant source to prevent canker sores in the first place is often more ideal than having to deal with canker sores running their course.
Possible causes of canker sores include:
- Genetics (some people just seem to be prone to canker sores)
- Weakened immune system
- Chemotherapy treatments
- Nutritional deficiencies (possibly B12, zinc, or iron)
- Spicy or acidic foods
- Sharp tooth, braces, or ill-fitting dentures
- Cigarette smoking
- Irritants in toothpaste (sodium lauryl sulfate is a common one)
Should Someone See Their Dentist For Canker Sores?
Most canker sores will start to feel better on their own within 4 days. They will usually heal on their own between 1-2 weeks so it is not necessary for you to see your dentist if you have a canker sore. However, if you find that your canker sores are not residing on their own in this time frame or if you find that you are getting canker sores often, it may be time to talk to your dentist about it.
When you speak with dentist about your canker sores, they will probably begin by going over your history with them. Finding out if there is a common factor in why you are getting them can be helpful to know. It’s possible that avoiding that factor will help you stay away from canker sore altogether.
If you are seeking pain relief from the canker sore, then your dentist may suggest laser treatment. By using a soft tissue diode laser, your dentist can modify the nerve conduction inside of the canker sore. The laser vaporizes the soft tissue and sterilizes the area and speeds up cell regeneration. This process allows the wound to heal much quicker than with no treatment at all. You can learn more about laser dental treatment by browsing through the rest of our website.
What Can We Do At Home For Canker Sores?
As mentioned above, canker sores should reside on their own. There are some things that are worth trying at home as they may bring relief and help soothe your canker sores. Every person does seem to respond differently to these home remedies. Some get relief from over the counter creams while others don’t. So it may take trying a few different things to find what works best for you! Feel free to try these safe, at-home remedies to see which ones bring you relief the next time you find yourself battling a canker sore:
- Alum powder
- Over the counter cream or numbing spray
- Rinse with baking soda
- Salt water rinse
- Eat yogurt
- Place raw honey on sore
- Rub coconut oil on sore
Have you been experiencing canker sores? Do you find yourself wondering what your options are for eliminating them or finding pain relief? Our dentists would be happy to discuss this with you. Give us a call or schedule your next dental appointment online.