Understanding Canker Sores

Canker sores are small and shallow sores and ulcers that develop on the soft tissues in the mouth or upper throat. Also called as aphthous ulcers, canker sores can be painful as a result of a breakage in the mucous membrane. They can develop anywhere in the mouth’s soft tissue areas such as the inside of the cheeks, under the tongue or even in the lips.

Causes of canker sores

The primary cause of canker sores is still not clear. Medical experts believe that it can be due to a number of different factors. Doctors believe that canker sores may develop as a result of the immune system sometimes attacking the healthy cell sin the mouth instead of the harmful bacteria and viruses.

Some canker sores are believed to be a result of an allergic reaction of the body to bacteria in the mouth. Others attribute it to vitamin deficiencies such as a diet that lacks vitamin B, zinc, and iron. Other possible causes of canker sores include stress, sensitivities to certain foods, and hormonal changes.

Symptoms of canker sores

Canker sores generally follow a round or oval shaped with either a white or yellow center with reddish borders surrounding it. Canker sores can be of several types. There are sores that are small and disappear after two to three weeks.

There are canker sores that are larger lesions and can last for months and even years. There are also canker sores that seem to cluster together and form into a single large ulcer later on. Symptoms that may accompany such formations include intense pain, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

How canker sores is diagnosed?

A visual exam of the mouth is all that it takes for doctors to diagnose canker sores. Further tests are made to determine other health problems as well as the severity of the problem and to determine the type of treatment.

How to treat canker sores?

For minor canker sores, treatment may not be necessary as they can usually clear from two to three weeks. For larger and more serious and painful lesions, one of the treatments used include a special mouth rinse that contain steroid dexamethasone that will help ease the pain and inflammation inside the mouth.

Other treatments for canker sores include topical pastes containing any of the following: triamcinolone acetonide, amlexanox or fluocinonide. Applying them to individual lesions can help speed up healing as well as relieve pain.