What are Canker Sores?

Featured / Thursday, June 5th, 2014

A sudden sore, fleshy spot inside the mouth can cause alarm. If you can’t recall a specific injury, it may be a canker sore. Canker sores are small, raw, irritations that occur inside the mouth along the wall of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, and/or tongue. These tiny sores are miniscule ulcers that feel like a fleshy, tender, wound in the mouth.

While small in size, they are painful and can make it difficult to talk or chew. The exact cause of most canker sores is unknown. It is believed that stress or a slight physical injury is the cause of most canker sores. However, for more serious cases of canker sores the symptoms can be more severe, including fever, fatigue, and swelling of the lymph nodes. It is believed that underlying health issues, including an impaired immune system or a vitamin deficiency, causes these cases.

Doctors have found that canker sores occur more often in women or young people. The good news is that it is safe to let a canker sore run its course. Unlike cold sores, which occur on the outside of the mouth and need treatment, canker sores usually heal on their own. The process can take up to 10 days, but medication isn’t necessary.

In the meantime, the best way to cope with a canker sore is to avoid causing any irritation inside the mouth. Resist foods that are spicy or highly acidic. Fruits such as strawberries, pineapple (or other citrus-based foods and drinks) can worsen — or sometimes trigger canker sores. In the event that a canker sore lasts longer than 10 days, you should see your dentist or doctor. An antimicrobial rinse can help prevent infection and soothe the sore.