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Why Do I Keep Getting Canker Sores?

Why Do I Keep Getting Canker Sores?
Author: Posted: December 6th, 2021 Category:

Canker Sores are benign, but they can be extremely painful. Here are some ways to relieve the pain as they heal.

Canker sores aren’t a serious oral problem. But if you’ve ever experienced the pain and throbbing of a canker sore, you know how difficult they can make eating and speaking, and you’ll want to get rid of them as soon as possible.

With the medical terminology as aphthous stomatitis, canker sores refer to small ulcers that develop in the soft tissues or your mouth, typically on the gums or tongue, and appear round or oval with a white center rimmed by red. In addition to pain, canker sores cause a tingling or burning sensation when they come in contact with certain foods. Canker sores are non-contagious and rarely require treatment by your dentist, as home remedies are usually effective in reducing the pain and irritation.

What Causes Canker Sores and How to Heal Them

Canker sores can result from several causes. A vitamin B12 deficiency, especially in children, is said to lead to canker sores. Those with weakened immune systems stand a greater risk of canker sores because their bodies cannot heal the lesions as quickly as those with stronger immune systems. Eating acidic food, such as lemons and pineapples, may cause canker sores or irritate current sores even more. Lastly, canker sores may result from an injury such as biting your gums or bruising your gums from brushing too harshly.

It should be noted that canker sores are not the same as cold sores. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and usually form outside of the mouth, first as blisters and then as sores after the blister pops.

Fortunately, canker sores resolve on their own within two weeks. As you wait for the lesion to heal, you can reduce the pain and irritation with these five home remedies. Most of the ingredients are available in stores, or you may already even have them in your home.

Alum Powder. Commonly used to preserve food, alum powder is made from potassium aluminum sulfate. Mixed with water, it forms a paste and removes moisture from the inflamed lesion to speed up healing. Leave the mixture on the sore for about a minute before rinsing your mouth.

Salt Water Rinse. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a half cup of warm water. Rinse your mouth for about 30 seconds and spit out the water. Like alum powder, salt dries out the moisture in the sore to promote healing. You can also make a rinse of hydrogen peroxide or baking soda (just be sure to spit it out after rinsing).

Milk of Magnesia. Used mainly as a laxative, milk of magnesia also works as an acid neutralizer. When applied directly to the sore, the solution reduces pain and irritation.

Chamomile. Chamomile contains two anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agents — azulene and levomenol — and has been used for centuries as a natural remedy. You can either apply a moistened tea bag to the sore or rinse with brewed chamomile tea daily.

Topical Gels and Mouthwashes. To heal oral lesions, apply an over-the-counter topical gel containing benzocaine and lidocaine to reduce inflammation. Another option is a mouthwash with lidocaine to numb the sore. An antiseptic mouthwash can reduce bacteria in the mouth and promote healing. On the other hand, mouthwashes and toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate have an irritating effect on canker sores. 

If your canker sore doesn’t resolve in two weeks, is extremely painful, or grows larger, a visit to your dentist may be necessary. He or she can prescribe a prescription mouthwash or an oral steroid to eliminate the lesion.

Preventing Canker Sores

You don’t have to suffer from a painful canker sore. These tips can help stave off their occurrence (and recurrence): 

Avoid Trigger Foods. If you develop canker sores after consuming spicy, salty, or acidic foods, avoid those foods until the sores heals. Food with hard, abrasive edges — such as crackers — can also irritate a canker sore. 

Practice Good Oral Hygiene. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once daily will rid your mouth bacteria. Bacteria acts as a deterrent to healing, so it’s best to maintain a clean mouth. In addition, use a soft-bristled brush that won’t irritate your sensitive gums.

Take Vitamins. If you suspect your repeated canker sores stem from a deficiency of zinc, folic acid, and iron, increase your intake of foods with those vitamins. A vitamin B complex supplement containing eight B vitamins, including B12, may help heal canker sores. Because the supplement could cause side effects, check with your doctor before taking it.

Visit Espire Dental

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Colorado Springs location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your teeth and heal the pain and irritation caused by canker sores. Don’t live near our Colorado Springs, Colorado office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Colorado Springs
8610 Explorer Drive #315
Colorado Springs, CO 80920