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What are Canker Sores? Symptoms & Treatment Explained

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What are Canker Sores? Symptoms & Treatment Explained

Do you think you have a canker sore? If so, what are your next steps? These can be challenging questions to answer if you’re unfamiliar with canker sores, their symptoms and how to effectively treat them. Therefore, we’ll cover everything you need to know, and to put your mind at ease if you feel one coming on.

Young woman with canker sore while brushing her teethWhat Exactly is a Canker Sore?

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your mouth, along your gums, this is potentially a canker sore. It’s necessary to understand what a canker sore is, so you know exactly what you’re dealing with and to make sure it is not something more serious. Unfortunately, canker sores are much more common than people tend to think, and they can be generally described as an infection that occurs inside the mouth, on your gums, tongue, lips, the inside of your cheeks or even in your throat.

Usually, when it comes to canker sores, they are most commonly found on your gums, tongue, your lips or the inside of your cheeks. Sores in the back of your throat is also a possibility but far less common.

Thankfully, canker sores are easy to detect because you can feel them almost immediately with your tongue (or sometimes on your tongue). These painful and annoying sores are generally oval in share and have a white or, sometimes gray color in the middle with a red circle around the sore. Generally, all canker sores tend to look somewhat similar to this.

Additionally, canker sores aren’t usually dangerous, but they do last at least, several days and can cause some pain and discomfort.

Symptoms of Canker Sores

To help you correctly identify and then seek treatment for your canker sore, it’s essential to be familiar with the possible symptoms. In general, canker sores tend to stick around for a week before they show any signs of healing and at in its earliest stages, the center of the canker sore will be white but slowly fade to grey as it heals.

Usually, canker sores are about a centimeter wide with inflammation all around it. Without even touching it, there will be pain and discomfort caused by the abscess. Of course, all symptoms differ from person to person, but these are the general symptoms one would usually associate with a canker sore. If it does not go away in a few weeks, be sure to contact your doctor or schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure it is not oral cancer or herpes.

Treatment & Medications

Treatment and medication available to help a canker sore heel and to reduce the pain and inflammation might already be in your medicine cabinet. As a general rule of thumb, unfortunately, canker sores take time to heel. There is no magical cure, and usually, antibiotics are unnecessarily drastic. So, your very first solution is just to let the canker sore run its course or to use a numbing preparation such as Orajel.

For a more natural solution–mix sea salt with warm water and swish this back and forth in your mouth, especially where the canker sore is located. This might be be painful and irritate the sore at first but, after cooling, this can help to speed up the healing process. If you are sensitive to salt try hydrogen peroxide instead of salt.

On the other hand, you can do things to prevent canker sores from happening, too! This is mainly for those of you who feel like you seem to get an excess of lesions in or around your mouth. To help prevent these pesky and painful sores, try things like using SLS-free toothpaste or taking probiotics, to help promote healthy bacteria in your mouth!

The Bottom Line

At this point, you have all the information you need about canker sores. From precisely what they are, how to identify them, the symptoms they produce and finally, how to treat them! Although painful, canker sores generally pass within a week, so there should be no need to seek medical care.

For more information or to schedule a oral cancer screening in Beverly Hills, please contact us.

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