Are canker sores a serious problem?

Canker sores are only very rarely serious and don’t affect your gorgeous smile. That’s good to know, but they are still annoying and painful! So, what are canker sores and how can you prevent them?

What are canker sores?

Canker sores are those yellowish-white ulcers that form under your tongue, on your soft palate, on your gums, or inside your cheeks or lips. They are different than cold sores, which are caused by a type of the herpes virus and are very contagious. Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes canker sores, but they may be triggered by

• A food sensitivity – nuts, cheese, chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, and spicy or acidic foods are thought to cause canker sores

• Stress

• Injury to your mouth, such as when braces rub against your cheek or you’ve had a sports injury

• An allergic response to bacteria in your mouth

• Hormone shifts

• Sodium lauryl sulfate, which can be found in toothpastes and mouth rinses

• An iron or other vitamin deficiency

Canker sores may also be a sign of an underlying condition or disease, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or a disease that suppresses the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS.

What can you do about canker sores?

Canker sores usually go away in 7 to 10 days, which can be a long time when you are finding it too painful to eat! There are over-the-counter ointments and pain relievers that might give you temporary relief. If you have several canker sores or if you keep getting them, you should see a doctor – he or she might prescribe a mouth rinse or a prescription medication to help. Your doctor may also want to cauterize your canker sores, which means to destroy the tissue with an instrument or a chemical substance. You might also be advised to take a nutritional supplement, if your canker sores are the result of a vitamin deficiency.

The staff at Lerner & Lemongello wants you to have a healthy mouth. If you are constantly dealing with canker sores, mention this at your next cleaning appointment. Call the office in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, for an appointment today, at (561) 627-9000.

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