Preventing and Treating Canker Sores
Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small, painful sores that develop in the lining of the mouth. They are not contagious and usually heal on their own within a week or two. However, canker sores can be recurrent, meaning they can come back repeatedly.
There is no cure for canker sores, but there are things you can do to prevent them and relieve the pain and discomfort they cause.
What causes canker sores?
The exact cause of canker sores is unknown, but there are a number of factors that may contribute to their development, including:
- Genetics: Canker sores tend to run in families, so if you have a family history of canker sores, you are more likely to develop them yourself.
- Stress: Emotional stress can trigger canker sores in some people.las vegas dentist
- Diet: Certain foods, such as citrus fruits, acidic vegetables, and spicy foods, can irritate the lining of the mouth and lead to canker sores.
- Nutritional deficiencies: Canker sores can be a sign of a nutritional deficiency, such as a lack of vitamin B12, iron, or folic acid.
- Oral hygiene habits: Poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing your teeth or flossing regularly, can increase your risk of developing canker sores.
- Certain medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and HIV/AIDS, can make people more susceptible to canker sores.
How to prevent canker sores
There is no guaranteed way to prevent canker sores, but there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk:
- Avoid foods that trigger canker sores: If you know certain foods trigger canker sores for you, avoid eating them. This may include citrus fruits, acidic vegetables, spicy foods, and nuts.
- Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss once a day. This will help remove food particles and bacteria from your mouth, which can reduce your risk of developing canker sores.
- Manage stress: Stress can trigger canker sores in some people. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or spending time with loved ones.
- Get enough sleep: When you don’t get enough sleep, your body’s immune system is weakened. This can make you more susceptible to canker sores. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet can help prevent nutritional deficiencies, which may be a factor in canker sore development. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
How to treat canker sores
Most canker sores heal on their own within a week or two. However, there are a few things you can do to relieve the pain and discomfort they cause:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with canker sores.
- Topical treatments: There are a number of over-the-counter topical treatments available that can help relieve the pain and discomfort of canker sores. These treatments typically contain ingredients such as benzocaine or lidocaine, which are numbing agents.
- Prescription medications: If your canker sores are severe or do not respond to over-the-counter treatments, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications, such as corticosteroids or antibiotics.
Home remedies for canker sores
There are a number of home remedies that can help relieve the pain and discomfort of canker sores. Some of these remedies include:
- Salt water rinse: Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth with the solution for 30 seconds.
- Baking soda rinse: Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth with the solution for 30 seconds.
- Milk of magnesia: Dab a small amount of milk of magnesia on the canker sore with a cotton swab.
- Ice: Apply an ice cube to the canker sore for a few minutes at a time.
When to see a doctor
You should see a doctor if your canker sores:
- Are severe
- Do not heal within two weeks
- Are accompanied by fever or other symptoms
- Recur frequently
Your doctor can help you determine the cause of your canker sores and recommend the best treatment