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July 20, 2018 | Family Medicine
Canker sores can be miserable for those who deal with them, even though they usually go away within a week or two. Canker sores (also referred to as aphthous ulcers) are shallow, painful, small sores in the mouth. They are not contagious and are different than cold sores because they are usually inside the mouth rather than on the lips.
One reason that canker sores are hard to treat is the exact cause is unknown. It’s different for every person, although some common culprits may include:
Because it is hard to pinpoint exactly what causes canker sores, it can also be difficult to treat them or to determine what the patient should do to prevent them. Teens and young adults are more likely to get canker sores, and women are more likely than men to get them. There is also a genetic component to the prevalence of canker sores, but it could be explained by a shared exposure to allergens, food and other environmental factors.
Canker sores form inside your lips or cheeks, under your tongue, on your soft palate or at the base of the gums. Many notice a burning or tingling sensation several days before the sore appears. There are three types of canker sores:
Most sores have a white or gray color to them and are round. They will also have a red border or edge, and in severe cases, you may also run a fever, have swollen lymph nodes or feel sluggish throughout the day.
Many canker sores go away without treatment, although there are topical treatments to numb the pain. If you have constant canker sores for several weeks, they may be caused by an underlying issue that your doctor or dentist should attend to. You can help prevent canker sores by:
Although canker sores are common and there is no definite treatment for them, we encourage you to see a doctor if canker sores cause severe pain or if you have constant canker sores.
”Canker Sore.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/canker-sore/symptoms-causes/syc-20370615
“Dental Health and Canker Sores.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/canker-sores#1
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.