canker sores in mouth

Where Did That Canker Sore Come From?

Canker sores can be a real aggravation – and pain – when they occur. They are also unsightly. Treating them may help them to disappear sooner, but there may also be an underlying reason why they keep coming back. 

About Canker Sores

Canker sores are also called aphthous ulcers. The sores are usually rather small and they appear in the soft tissues in your  gums  or mouth. They can also occur on your tongue, throat, and lips. Although they can get as large as one-inch in diameter, they are usually less than 1 millimeter across. Smaller sores will not usually leave any scarring.

A day or two before you get a canker sore, there will likely be a tingling or burning sensation at the spot where it will develop. It will also take a couple of days to form.

Canker Sore Symptoms

A canker sore is a small  ulcer  that is usually round or oval-shaped. They have a red border and a white or yellow center. They are painful, especially when eating food. These small ulcers will usually last for one to two weeks. Larger sores occur less frequently but can be very painful. They can take up to six weeks to heal and may leave considerable scarring. Canker sores are not contagious. 

When canker sores are more severe, you may also experience:

  • Fever

  • Physically sluggish

  • Lymph nodes may be swollen

Canker Sore Causes in Mouth

At the present time, it is not known what actually causes canker sores. It is known to be a  reaction of your  immune system  to the lining of your mouth, and it is usually seen in people who are between the ages of 10 and 40. Some things are believed to be the primary causes, and they include:

  • A Deficiency of Vitamins – When there are problems in the outer layers of the skin and mouth, it is usually related to a  deficiency of vitamins.  Vitamin B-12 is needed to help prevent these sores and it appears to be the primary cause. Other minerals likely include zinc, iron, and folic acid.


  • Food sensitivities  – Certain foods may result in this type of sore when there is a reaction to it. Most likely candidates include strawberries, chocolate, coffee, nuts, cheese, and spicy foods.


  • Toothpastes and mouth rinses  – If the products contain sodium lauryl sulfate it may produce a canker sore.


  • An injury to your mouth  – Different types of accidents may include accidentally biting on your cheek, brushing too hard, a dental injury, being hit in the mouth, etc.


  • Hormonal changes  – It may occur during menstruation, etc. Women are more likely than men to get canker sores.


  • Stress  – Things that cause emotional stress or physical stress can cause cankers.


  • Friction from dentures or braces  – A canker sore may be the first indication that a  denture or brace,  or the bands, are rubbing on the gums, and an adjustment should be made.


  • Some diseases  – A few diseases are known to cause worse forms of canker sores. This includes diseases such as lupus, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and AIDS.


  • Chewing tobacco  – A canker sore will often develop where people place the tobacco in their mouth. It is likely from the chemicals in the plant.


Canker Sore Treatment

There really is very little that you can do to treat a canker sore, except to help relieve the pain. For a canker sore remedy, topical anesthetics, such as you would use for a toothache will help, and some mouthwashes may help to numb it as well. A dentist may also be able to provide you with some prescription topical medication. If you find that certain foods aggravate the pain, stay away from them. Some foods that may cause pain are spicy foods, acidic juices, and foods. Keep your mouth clean by regularly brushing your teeth and  flossing.  This will help to keep other bacteria away from the sore. Rinse your mouth out with salt water to help kill the bacteria and speed up healing.

When to See a Dentist

Treatment for a canker sore is usually not necessary. The sores will usually heal on their own. There are some things about these sores for which you should see a dentist. They include:


  • When they become large and extremely painful.

  • Start to occur more often.

  • After 14 days they still have not healed.

  • Have a high fever at the same time.

  • Look like they are infected.

  • New sores develop before the old ones have healed.


If you have not had a canker sore previously, you should also see the dentist. The reason for this is that other diseases and health problems may produce sores that look similar.


If you live in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas, and need to see a dentist for canker sore relief, you can visit the office of Dr. Kumar Vadivel DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified  periodontist.  For an appointment, or for more information, call today at (817) 756-8578.

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