Canker Sores: Causes, Types, Treatment, and Prevention Tips

Canker sores are one of the most prevalent forms of mouth ulcers. Medically known as "aphthous ulcer," canker sores are tiny, superficial wounds that grow on the soft tissues in your mouth or at the bottom of your gums. They are common in younger adults and women but can happen at any age. Most canker sores get cured on their own within a week or two. However, you should consult your doctor or dentist if your canker sores are abnormally large or painful or they don't seem to heal.

Read more to learn about what you need to know about canker sores, including causes, types, treatment, and prevention tips.

Canker Sores Causes

According to an estimate by the United States Surgeon General, 25 percent of people suffer from recurrent canker sores.  Although the specific cause of canker sores is unknown, some viral infections are believed to be possible reasons.

Here are some other factors that are thought to trigger canker sores:  

  • Minor mouth injuries from dental work, rough brushing, etc.
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Menstrual hormones
  • Environmental factors
  • Medications
  • Food allergies
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Canker sores may also occur due to certain medical disorders, including:

  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Behcet's disease
  • A faulty immune system

Canker Sores Types

Canker sores are generally categorized as:

1.Simple Canker Sores

They usually occur 3-4 times a year in people between the age group of 10-20, and last around a week.

2.Complex Canker Sores

They are less common, bigger, and more painful. They may persist up to a month and leave a scar. Complex canker sores are generally due to an underlying ailment.

Treatment for Canker Sores

Canker sore treatment involves reducing inflammation and promoting the healing process by treating secondary conditions, like a bacterial infection that could delay healing.

Simple cases of random canker sores will heal on its own and disappear without intervention. However, for more severe or persistent canker sores, you will need to consult a doctor to rule out related disorders or to access prescription treatments. Therapies may include steroid mouth rinses, antiseptic ointments/rinses, topical anesthetics, or nutritional supplements.

Prevention Tips for Canker Sores

Canker sores are usually recurrent, but you can reduce their frequency by following these tips:

  • Avoiding foods that aggravate your mouth condition
  • Eat healthy foods to prevent nutritional deficits
  • Follow good oral hygiene practices
  • Decrease your stress through stress-relief methods

Also Read: Does Invisalign® Work for Overbite Problems?

Canker Sores FAQs

What foods trigger canker sores?

Foods such as nuts, chips, certain spices, salty foods, and acidic fruits, including pineapple, grapefruit, and oranges, can trigger canker sores. Also, avoid consuming food items that you are sensitive or allergic to.

How long do canker sores last?

They usually get cured within one to three weeks without any treatment, although the pain usually subsides in 7 to 10 days. Severe canker sores may need up to six weeks to heal.

What is the white stuff in a canker sore?

There isn't any white stuff within canker sores. The white patches are actually the membrane of nerve endings formed in the crater of the canker sore.

Can I pop a canker sore?

Since canker sores are superficial wounds and not blisters or pimples, there's nothing to pop. Also, it'll really hurt if you try.

Also Read: How to Instantly Stop Bleeding Gums

Does rubbing salt on a canker sore help?

Rubbing salt into ulcers isn't recommended because it can increase pain in nerve endings and result in severe discomfort. The abrasion from rough salt crystals can also aggravate the situation.

Is it bad if a canker sore bleeds?

Any sores that bleed, firm up, or simply don't disappear after a few weeks should be reviewed and tested by a doctor.

To learn more about canker sores or to schedule a dental appointment with our Shoreline dentist or Milton dentist today.


Reign Dental

Reign Dental is one of the most sought after dental care providers in Seattle area to offer complete dental care. We are among a few dental clinics that provide a wide range of dentistry services including oral & maxillofacial surgery, TMJ treatment, Botox, orthodontics, periodontics and all other advanced dental solutions. Highly professional dentists working with us specialize in dental implants, bone grafting, smile makeover and oral surgery. We are well-known for our safe and patient-specific care approach. We offer affordable and quality dental care services. We make sure that our customers walk out of our clinic with a big beautiful smile.

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