Canker Sores: A Painful Mouthful

Aphthous ulcers, also known as mouth ulcers or canker sores, are small, mostly harmless lesions that appear on the surface of the tongue or the interior of the mouth. They are not to be confused with cold sores, which are typically caused by herpes, and can be found on the lips. Mouth ulcers only ever develop in the interior of the mouth. They are fairly common, and have no single cause, but are rather the result of various possible causes. Usually men are less susceptible to ulcers than women, and the range of 10 to 40 years of age is when ulcers appear most often.

Canker Sores: A Painful MouthfulAs stated previously, there are many possible causes of developing mouth ulcers. These causes are extremely varied, ranging from simple injuries to genetics. Some individuals have a weak immune system or genetic markers which make them more susceptible to mouth ulcers than others, and can develop them quite frequently. Folate, iron, zinc and vitamin deficiencies also have a tendency to cause ulcers. These sores may also develop if an open wound in the mouth becomes infected. These wounds may be caused by dental equipment, cutlery or a bite. Other possible causes include allergies and sensitivities to various foods.

A sure sign that a sore is about to make an appearance is a burning or stinging feeling in one particular spot on the inside of the mouth. The area will begin to redden, and a raw ring will appear followed by a white spot in its center.

The ring will start to grow, and a yellowish center will become visible. These ulcers typically remain quite small, but in some rare cases, they grow to a diameter of a whole inch.

Canker Sores: A Painful MouthfulMouth ulcers are hardly a serious condition. Most sores heal by themselves within a week or so, and do not need any special treatment. However, while they are present, they pose quite a bit of inconvenience when eating, drinking or speaking, so you might want to get rid of them as soon as possible, and there are ways to speed up the healing process. Certain pastes made out of sodium peroxide or baking soda are a good home remedy to dull the pain caused by ulcers, and there are also stronger prescription medicinal ointments available too,  such as steroid medications. As ulcers can have a multitude of causes, it is possible that they will appear due to a nutritional deficiency. If this is the case, dietary supplements are a good way to provide your body with the needed substances in order to avoid further ulcers.

Be careful with the medications you use, as sensitivity to certain medicines may lead to much more sever conditions, such as oral thrush. Mouth ulcers are rarely a sign of a more significant condition. However, if the ulcer is present for longer than two weeks, make sure to consult a doctor, as it might be a sign of oral cancer.

In order to avoid mouth ulcers, you should not consume spicy foods, as well as food salty foods like potato chips which also have painful sharp edges. Make sure to brush your teeth often to maintain good oral hygiene, and adhere to a balanced diet.