Canker Sores – What are they and how to get rid of them?

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What are Canker Sores?

Canker Sores, also medically known as Aphthous ulcers, are small, painful Sores that occur on the lips, cheeks, gums and tongue within the mouth.

They are named after Aphthae (the root of Aphthous) means “to set on fire” in Greek.

Women are more likely than males to get Canker Sores. Canker Sores develop most typically form between the ages of 10 and 40. Canker Sores can be caused by oral injuries, viral infections, hormonal changes, an unbalanced immune system or a nutrient-deficient diet.

Most of us experience Canker Sores now and then; some get them regularly. In any case, you need to get rid of them as early as possible.

What are the types of Canker Sores?

Canker Sores are commonly classified into two types:

Simple Canker Sores

Simple Canker Sores arise 3-4 times a year, usually in adults aged 10-20 and last around a week.

Complex Canker Sores

Complex canker Sores are less common, more significant and more painful. They can persist for up to one month and leave a scar. Complex Canker Sores can happen due to a weakened immune system, Crohn’s disease or a vitamin deficiency.

What Causes Canker Sores?

It is not always feasible to determine what caused a Canker sore. The following are the most prevalent causes of Canker Sores:

  1. Changes in hormones levels
  2. Minor injuries sustained when cleaning one’s teeth or performing dental work
  3. Nutritional deficiencies
  4. Spicy foods
  5. Stress levels
  6. Toothpaste and mouth rinses with the ingredient Sodium lauryl sulphate
  7. Infections caused by viruses.

Diseases contributing to Canker Sores

Canker Sores are also associated with specific diseases, including:

What are the symptoms of Canker Sores?

Canker Sores are painful in the local area.

The following characteristics distinguish canker Sores:

  1. They appear well-defined, round, less than a centimetre across, and are usually shallow in the mouth’s lining (mucosal surface).
  2. At times, tingling feelings are felt before they develop.
  3. An inflammatory red rim surrounds a white or yellow-grey centre.
  4. Over time, they fade to grey.
  5. Normally formed in the front of the mouth, on the floor of the mouth, inside the lip (labial mouth), under the cheeks (buccal) or the front or sides of the tongue.
  6. Occasionally affecting the gums and, in rare cases, the surface of the rear of the mouth.
  7. Usually lasts 1-2 weeks before they heal.

Symptoms of more severe cases may include sluggishness, enlarged lymph nodes and fever.

How do you treat Canker Syndrome?

Treatment for Canker Sores includes the following medications:

  • Baking soda paste
  • Mouth rinses such as salt water, baking soda (1 teaspoon soda in 1/2 cup warm water), hydrogen peroxide diluted in half with water or a combination of 1 part diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to either 1 part bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate) or 1 part simethicone (Maalox)
  • Milk of magnesia can be applied directly on the Canker sore
  • Numbing agents – benzocaine (Anbesol, Orajel), ice or ice chips can be used.

You can avoid the following foods to eliminate aggravating Canker Sores:

  1. Foods that are abrasive or that can stick in the mouth.
  2. Spicy, acidic or hot foods and beverages.
  3. Ulcers are traumatised (for example, through harsh contact with toothbrush bristles).

How is a Cold sore different from a Canker sore?

Cold Sores and Canker Sores are two disparate conditions:

Cold SoresCanker Sores
Are often observed as fluid-filled blisters.Are seen as white circles with a crimson halo.
Are formed outside the mouth, frequently under the nose, around the lips or under the chin.Appears within the mouth
Caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), in rare cases by HSV-2 (the genital herpes virus).Are not contagious.

In conclusion

The course of Canker sore differs among individuals. Some individuals with Canker Sores have a single painful red area that develops into an open ulcer that is generally white or yellow, but others may have enlarged lymph nodes, fever and several Canker Sores simultaneously. Fortunately, Canker Sores can be appropriately treated with natural remedies and over-the-counter pain relievers. Even better, you can lower your risk of Canker Sores by brushing your teeth carefully so that you do not injure your mouth, eating a nutritious diet and reducing stress. Talk to your doctor if you encounter frequent and painful Canker Sores.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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