Canker Sores

Small shallow ulcers that appear in the mouth are called canker sores. They make it difficult to eat and drink. Canker sores are of two types:

  • Simple canker sores: These kinds of canker sores are usually seen in children between the ages of 10-20. They may occur at least 3-4 times a year. But, this may not long last and will disappear within a week.
  • Complex canker sores: This is a less commonly seen condition and occurs in people who already had it before.

The cause of canker sores may not be the same in every individual. Sometimes, it may be from the food they eat, can be the drinks of high acidity etc. Use of sharp instruments like dentures, braces, etc. may also cause canker sores. Apart from these, nutritional problems, gastrointestinal tract diseases, deficiency of zinc, folic acid or iron etc. can also be the cause for developing canker sores.

Many people get confused with cold sores and canker sores. People consider them as the same. In fact, they are different. Cold sores develop as a result of fever blisters or cold or herpes (simplex type 1). Cold sores are painful and fluid filled. Both cold sores and canker sores develop due to virus and both are contagious. Canker sores appear on the roof of the mouth whereas; cold sores appear on the surface of the face such as the chin, around the lips and under the nose.

Main symptoms of canker sores include:


  • Burning or tingling sensation
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sluggishness physically
  • Round white or grey sores.

In most cases, mouth ulcer heals on its own within one or two weeks. Other discomforts and pain will also heal on its own without treatment. Severe pain and discomforts can be reduced using over-the-counter solutions. Antimicrobials and corticosteroid ointments are usually suggested for the infection. There are no measures to prevent the development of canker sores. Still, there are solutions to prevent it from re-occurring even after the treatment. It can be prevented through:

  • Avoiding citrus juices, acidic contented vegetables, spicy foods etc.
  • Brushing and flossing properly

Coconut oil, honey rub, eat yogurt, apply ice are some home remedies for canker sores. You should contact your dentist immediately if:

  • There is severe pain
  • The sores became very large
  • The sores breaks out
  • The sores spreads
  • Sores that do not subside etc.

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