Oral Care Tip: What are Canker Sores and How Should They Be Treated?

Sometimes, it’s the smallest things that can cause the greatest irritation. Canker sores, clinically known as aphthous ulcers, are rarely sizable in relation to the rest of your mouth, but they can cause a great deal of discomfort and irritation.

The precise cause of canker sores is not known, but it is believed that stress, a weakened immune system, dental trauma such as biting the inside of your cheek and nutritional deficiencies can all play a role. Canker sores are not the same thing as fever blisters (cold sores). Canker sores usually appear inside your mouth, and, unlike fever blisters, are not contagious.

Here are a few oral care tips to help you minimize any difficulties youoral-care might experience as a result of canker sores:

Oral Care For Canker Sores

  1. Remember that most canker sores go away on their own. Even if they are painful, most canker sores resolve themselves within a week or two without treatment.
  2. Simple self-administered oral care can be very effective. You can rinse with warm water or use an over-the-counter topical medication to reduce your discomfort.
  3. Your dentist can provide stronger tools if symptoms persist. Options can include an antimicrobial mouthwash or a corticosteroid ointment.
  4. Make a dental appointment if the canker sore doesn’t get better. It’s important to be seen by a dentist if the sore doesn’t resolve within a week or two, or if you experience a rash, swollen lymph nodes, joint pain, diarrhea, fever or sluggishness.

“If you have canker sores, you may not have done anything to cause it,” says Dr. Melanie Bauer, a dentist in practice at Dr. Carol Ford & Associates in central Phoenix. “But your dentist can direct you to the proper oral care to resolve the condition, and examine you if there is a concern that something more serious might be going on.”

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