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Canker Sores – What are they and how to treat them?

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small and painful ulcers that develop inside your mouth. Canker sores are tiny, painful ulcers. Their name is enough to tell you everything. The word Aphthous comes from the Greek “aphthae”, which means to light on fire.

Canker Sores VS. Cold SoresUnfortunately many people mistakenly believe that canker sores, and cold sores have the same name. Both sores can cause pain, but that’s about it.

Cold sores appear as open, crusty, red sores around the mouth and lips. Cold sores are caused by the Herpes virus. Cold sores can appear at any time in one’s lifetime. Cold sores will never appear inside the mouth.


Canker sores, on the other hand, are invisible to passersby. Canker sores are red with a grayish green middle. Canker sores can form on soft tissues inside the mouth, like the gum line, cheek lining, or roof of mouth.

There is no known cause for canker sores. Some evidence suggests that canker sores may be genetic. Canker sores may be caused by environmental factors such as eating acidic food.

Treating Canker Sores
Canker sores can be extremely painful. The pain can be so intense that it makes even simple things like eating or talking difficult for the affected person. Many people are eager to get rid of their canker sores.

Canker sores are not curable. Canker sores usually appear and disappear within seven days. There are several ways to relieve the pain and keep it clean during this time.

  • Peroxide rinses to cleanse and soothe.
  • Gargle with saltwater to soothe and irrigate.
  • Gels that numb the pain and burns.
  • Canker sore patch, which is applied directly to the sore to protect it.

Preventing Canker Sores
Preventing canker sores is the best way to prevent pain. Canker sores can be caused by environmental factors which can easily be changed.

You can try the following to prevent further canker sores:

  • Reduce or eliminate highly acidic food and beverages.
  • Change to toothpastes that do not contain sodium laurylsulfate. SLS, a chemical found in some toothpastes, can cause canker sores for those who are susceptible.
  • Do not traumatize the inside of your lips or mouth by biting.
  • Check your nutrition with a blood test. Canker sores may be due to a lack in Vitamin B12 or iron.
  • Take L-Lysine, an essential amino acids that can prevent the eruption of canker sores.

Canker sores can be painful for everyone. Canker sores do not have a root cause, unlike cold sores. You can consult a dentist if you are experiencing a canker outbreak that is not healing, multiple canker breakouts within a short period of time, or larger canker lesions than normal.


Canker Sore (Aphthous Ulcer): What It Is, Causes & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org)



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