The term “canker sores” may not ring a bell for some, but most people have actually been affected by these types of mouth ulcers at some point in their lives. 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 noncontagious sores typically appear on the inner portion of the cheeks and lips, upper area of the mouth (usually in the soft palate behind the roof of your mouth), on the tongue and at 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.6 Canker sores can be classified into three types: minor; major; and Herpetiform. 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 tooth brushing or accidental cheek bites. Some sores may also arise from using toothpastes and mouth rinses containing a chemical called sodium lauryl sulfate. Eating foods that can trigger allergy reactions or sensitivities can also sometimes cause canker sores.
Nutrient deficiencies and even exposure to certain bacteria strains are other causes of the sores. In some cases, canker sores might be symptoms of potentially devastating diseases such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, Behcet’s disease, HIV/AIDS or a weakened immune system.8
How You Can Go From Painful to Painless
Although canker sores can cause extreme pain, these lesions tend to heal fast — the pain usually disappears 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.9
Additional medical treatment might be required only if a patient experiences large, recurrent and unusually painful sores.10 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, the best foods you can eat, natural remedies that you can utilize and preventive measures that you should consider.