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Canker sores – those persistent, painful spots of agony that make each moment you’re not distracted by something else an absolute drain. Let’s talk about what they are and how you can prevent them.

Cankers are shallow lesions in the mouth that appear as white or yellow ovals with a red border on the insides of your cheeks or lips, under your tongue, and on the roof of your mouth. There are many things thought to trigger cankers, but the exact causes are unknown. Stress and tissue damage are thought 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.

Canker sores can be very painful, but the pain generally lessens after a few days and is completely healed without treatment in 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 direct treatment, but large, persistent, or unusually painful sores often need care. They can be treated using dental lasers or other cauterizing equipment, and this usually provides immediate pain relief. Be sure to ask Dr. Derek M. Lichter about this if you have a persistent sore. A steroid mouth rinse can reduce the inflammation and pain of a sore, and there are a number of over-the-counter and prescription topical products that can reduce the pain and speed healing.

Your daily habits can affect your chances of developing canker sores. To reduce your likelihood, follow these tips:

  • 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 unusually intense pain even after taking over-the-counter pain medication, or a high fever with the sores, contact Derek M. Lichter, DDS, Inc. in Chula Vista, California, today. Your sore may be more serious and need professional care.

If you have more questions about canker sores, please call us today at 619.591.8945, and we’ll be happy to help you.