The term "canker sores" may not ring a bell for some, but most people have actually been affected by these already. If you've experienced pain because of round or oval sores that have a grayish-white film and red, inflamed borders,1 this means that you've had canker sores.
Fast Facts About Canker Sores
Canker sores, which also go by the name of aphthous ulcers, are the most common type of mouth ulcers among people.2 These painful but non-contagious sores typically appear on the inner surface of the cheeks and lips, upper surface of the mouth, on the tongue and at the base of the gums.3,4
Anyone can be affected by canker sores. However, adolescents and young adults should take extra precaution, since canker sores seem to be prevalent during this period.5 Women also have a higher risk for canker sores compared to men.6Canker sores can be classified into three types: minor canker sores, major canker sores and Herpetiform canker sores. People can distinguish these sores from each other by examining their sizes, appearances, pain and even recovery time.7
Why Do People Get Canker Sores?
Canker sores often develop because of minor mouth injuries, such as from dental work, sports accidents, intense brushing of teeth and accidental cheek bite(s). Some sores may also arise because of toothpastes and mouth rinses containing a chemical called sodium lauryl sulfate, or by eating foods that you may be either sensitive or allergic to, having nutrient deficiencies and even exposure to certain bacteria strains.8
In some cases, canker sores might actually be symptoms for other potentially devastating diseases like celiac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, Behcet's disease, HIV/AIDS and/or a weakened immune system.9
How You Can Go From Painful to Painless
Although canker sores cause extreme pain for a person, these lesions tend to heal fast — the pain usually goes away within seven to 10 days, while complete recovery is estimated at one to three weeks. Moreover, treatment isn't necessary for canker sores, as they usually heal on their own.10
Additional medical treatment might only be required if a patient experiences large, persistent and unusually painful canker sores.11 Unfortunately, this is where trouble can creep in, since some conventional cures can potentially cause more pain and affect your body negatively.
If you've struggled or are currently struggling with canker sores, take some time to read these pages. You will find information about how these sores can affect you. Plus, learn about the best foods you can eat, natural remedies that you can utilize and preventive measures that you should consider.