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Canker sores – those persistent, painful sores. Let’s talk about what they are and how you can prevent them.

Cankers are small lesions in the mouth that appear as white or yellow ovals with a red border on the tissue of your mouth. Many things are thought to cause cankers, but the exact causes are unknown. Stress and tissue injury are surmised to be the cause of many sores, while others may be caused by acidic foods. Vitamin deficiencies can contribute to canker sores, as well as certain diseases, like celiac disease.

Pain from canker sores can be very annoying, but lessens after a few days and is completely healed within a week or two. Larger canker sores can take longer to heal. If you have a sore that persists painfully for longer than 3 weeks, contact our dentist right away.

Small canker sores don’t generally need medical treatment, but large or intensely painful sores often need it. We can relieve much of the pain by treating the canker with dental lasers or other cauterizing equipment. Be sure to ask Dr. Faith Cousins about this if you have a persistent canker. A steroid mouth rinse can help reduce the inflammation and pain of one, and there are over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments that can lessen the pain and help it heal faster.

Your daily habits can change your odds of developing canker sores. Use these tips to lower your chance of canker sores:

  • Avoid foods that irritate your mouth, including acidic fruits and vegetables, spicy foods, and abrasive or salty foods.
  • Avoid irritating your mouth when chewing gum.
  • Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush after eating to remove foods that may trigger sores.
  • If you have braces or dentures, ask your dentist about orthodontic waxes to cover any sharp edges.
  • Reduce your stress. Since some canker sores can be related to stress, meditation and guided relaxation can help prevent recurring sores.

If you have unusually large sores, or sores that are spreading, persist 3 weeks or longer, have bad pain even after taking over-the-counter pain medication, or a high fever that appeared with the sores, contact Faith Cousins DDS in Silver Spring, Maryland, today. Your canker may be serious and need professional treatment.

If you have more questions about canker sores, please call us today at 301-589-2714, and we’ll be happy to help you.