Canker sores, also called aphthous ulcers, are painful small, shallow lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth or at the base of your gums. Unlike cold sores, canker sores don’t occur on the surface of your lips and they are not contagious. They can be extremely painful, however, and can make eating and talking difficult.

What causes canker sores?

  • A minor injury to your mouth
  • Toothpastes and mouth rinses containing sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • A diet lacking in vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid or iron
  • An allergic response to certain bacteria in your mouth
  • Helicobacter pylori, the same bacteria that cause peptic ulcers
  • Hormonal shifts during menstruation
  • Emotional stress

Canker sores happen to anyone at any time, but they are most common in young adults and teenagers, and women tend to get them more than men.

Most canker sores go away on their own within a couple of weeks, but there are some things you can do to naturally speed the healing.

  • Rinse your mouth with salt water or baking soda rinse (dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 cup warm water).
  • Dab a small amount of milk of magnesia on your canker sore.
  • Avoid acidic or spicy foods.
  • Apply ice to your canker sores.
  • Brush your teeth gently, using a soft brush and foaming-agent-free toothpaste such as Biotene or Sensodyne ProNamel.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat a healthy diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies and avoid excess sugar.

Treatment usually isn’t necessary for minor canker sores, but large, persistent or unusually painful sores often need professional  care which can include laser therapy which can ZAP the lesion and stop the pain immediately.

To get an accurate diagnosis from a dentist and proper treatment prescriptions, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule a dental appointment.