Fortunately, not all of us do get canker sores, and for those of you that do, at least they’re not contagious. But if you’re female or have a family history of canker sores, your chances are higher that you could get them. And as a family dentist I know that canker sores are no fun.
Those little white ulcers in your mouth can actually make your life downright miserable for a while because they hurt so much. Even though most of them heal on their own within about a week or two, that can feel like forever when you’re tolerating that kind of discomfort.
Nobody really knows what causes these little sores, but there are several possible triggers:
- Certain foods may be to blame, particularly acidic or spicy foods. So if canker sores affect you, you may want to tone down your diet (not that you’d want to eat spicy foods when you have a canker sore anyway!).
- Are you stressed out right now? That could be enough to be causing canker sore chaos in your mouth. Chill out!
- Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals? Your canker sores could be caused by a lack of vitamin B-12. Or you may not be getting enough folic acid, zinc or iron in your system. To avoid nutritional deficiencies, be sure to eat plenty of healthy foods – including fruits and veggies, as well as whole grains.
- What kind of toothpaste and mouthwash are you using? If you are prone to canker sores you may want to avoid dental products containing sodium lauryl sulfate.
- How’s your health? Canker sores may also be caused by certain conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or a compromised immune system.
As much as they hurt, minor canker sores usually don’t require treatment, as they tend to clear on their own. But there are some things you can do to relieve the pain, such as rinsing with salt water or using over-the-counter oral products containing benzocaine (which will numb the pain). And be sure to brush gently so you don’t irritate your canker sores.
Obviously, if you have a more severe issue with canker sores – issues involving large sores, multiple sores or sores that don’t heal in a reasonable amount of time – you should see your family dentist, who can then present you with additional and more advanced treatment options.
If you reside in the Reynoldsburg or Columbus areas and have dental issues that need to be addressed – whether it be a need for a check-up or something more serious – then make a point to check us out. We offer a variety of services and treatment plans. In fact, you may want to consider CareCredit if you need to seek out affordable payment options.