Have you ever had a painful sore in your mouth that just won’t go away? If so, you may be dealing with a canker sore. These small ulcers are common and can cause discomfort and pain, especially when eating or speaking.
At Nao Medical, we’re committed to whole body and mind care, and that includes oral health. In this blog post, we’ll explain what canker sores are, why you get them, and how to get rid of them.
What Are Canker Sores?
Canker sores are small ulcers that develop inside the mouth, on the tongue, lips, gums, or cheeks. They can be white or yellow in color and are surrounded by a red, inflamed area. These sores are not contagious, but they can be painful and can make it difficult to eat, drink, or speak.
What Causes Canker Sores?
The exact cause of canker sores is unknown, but there are several factors that can contribute to their development. Some of these factors include:
- Stress: Emotional or physical stress can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to them.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: A lack of certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, folate, and iron, can increase your risk.
- Oral Trauma: Accidentally biting your cheek or tongue, brushing your teeth too hard, or wearing ill-fitting dental appliances can cause such sores to develop.
- Hormonal Changes: Women may be more likely to develop canker sores during their menstrual cycle.
- Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, can increase your risk of developing these oral sores.
How to Get Rid of Canker Sores
While canker sores can be uncomfortable, they typically go away on their own within one to two weeks. In the meantime, there are several things you can do to alleviate the pain and promote healing:
- Use a Salt Water Rinse: Swish a solution of one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water around your mouth for 30 seconds, then spit it out. This can help reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process.
- Apply a Topical Gel: Over-the-counter gels or creams, such as Orajel or Anbesol, can provide temporary relief from pain and discomfort. Follow the instructions on the package carefully.
- Try a Mouthwash: A mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide or baking soda can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Be sure to dilute it according to the instructions on the package.
- Avoid Trigger Foods: Spicy or acidic foods can irritate canker sores and make them worse. Try to avoid these foods until your canker sore has healed.
- Manage Stress: Since stress can contribute to canker sore development, finding ways to manage stress can be helpful. Try deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation.
- See a Doctor: If your canker sore is particularly large, lasts longer than two weeks, or is accompanied by a fever, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. They may prescribe medication to help manage your symptoms.
Preventing Canker Sores
While canker sores can’t always be prevented, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing them:
- Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brush and floss regularly to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
- Eat a Balanced Diet: Make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
- Avoid Irritating Foods: Spicy, acidic, or salty foods can irritate the mouth and make canker sores more likely to develop.
- Manage Stress: Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or talking to a therapist.
Canker sores can be painful and uncomfortable, but with the right care, they typically go away on their own within a week or two. At Nao Medical, we’re committed to helping our patients achieve whole body and mind health, and that includes oral health. If you’re dealing with a canker sore or any other oral health issue, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us. Our caring and experienced staff are here to help you get the care you need, when you need it.
What’s the difference between a canker sore and a cold sore?
A canker sore is a small, painful ulcer that develops inside the mouth, while a cold sore is a small, fluid-filled blister that typically appears on the lips or around the mouth. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are contagious, while canker sores are not contagious.
Can canker sores be a sign of something more serious?
While canker sores are typically harmless and go away on their own within a week or two, they can be a sign of an underlying medical condition in some cases. If you’re experiencing frequent or particularly painful sores, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to rule out any underlying issues.
Can I prevent canker sores?
While canker sores can’t always be prevented, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing them. Practicing good oral hygiene, eating a balanced diet, avoiding irritating foods, and managing stress can all help reduce your risk of developing canker sores.
Book an appointment with Nao Medical today to get the care you need for your oral health. Our team of experts is ready to help you achieve whole body and mind health.