When you’re experiencing a sore mouth or pain in your mouth, gums, or even cheeks and tongue, you might have canker sores. Here’s all about them.
Mouth ulcers or canker sores are white or yellow bumps inside the mouth with a slight red inflammation around them.
Also known as aphthae or aphthous ulcers, canker sores can make it painful to eat and uncomfortable to speak.
So if you have the symptoms such as a painful red area in your mouth, an oval-shaped ulcer that is white or yellow, and have a tingling sensation in the mouth, you have a canker sore.
This mouth ulcer is not contagious and usually heals in about 1 to 3 weeks if you don’t use any treatments. But you won’t feel the pain associated with this ulcer for more than 10 days.
If you have, however, a more severe canker sore it can last up to 6 weeks.
The Main Types Of Canker Sores
A mouth ulcer will have specific symptoms and feelings of pain, depending on which type are you suffering from.
Below you will find three canker sore types that will help you determine which one reflects your symptoms.
1. Minor Canker Sores
This is the most common type of canker sore you can experience. It can be painful, but they will heal in about 1 to 2 weeks without any treatment and will leave no scarring. You can have this specific type of ulcer 3 to 4 times a year.
The minor canker sores can include the following symptoms:
- Tingling or burning sensation in the mouth;
- The feeling of pain when drinking, eating, and even speaking;
- The appearance of a small oval-shaped bump in the mouth.
2. Major Mouth Ulcers
This type is not as common as the minor canker sores, but it can be painful, with more severe symptoms lasting up to 4 weeks, and it can even leave scars.
The major canker sores can include the following symptoms:
- A sensation of burning, tingling, and even inflammation in the mouth;
- Powerful feelings of pain;
- Round and large bumps in the mouth;
- Difficulty when drinking, eating, or speaking.
3. Herpetiform Aphthae
This is a very uncommon type of aphthous ulcer. For people who usually develop a mouth ulcer, only 5 percent will get this certain type of ulcer.
There can be rare cases where herpetiform canker sores can join together forming a group so the pain will be in a larger part of your mouth. When this happens, it will take several weeks to heal and it can leave scars.
Symptoms of herpetiform canker sores can include the following:
- Severe pain in the mouth that can increase when speaking, drinking, or chewing;
- Small pinhead-sized bumps inside the mouth that can form groups;
- Burning in the mouth and powerful tingling.
These are the types of canker sores that you might suffer from. Now that you know the specifics you can determine which type of mouth ulcer you are suffering from.
Causes Of Canker Sores
If you have a family history of developing mouth ulcers your risk of developing them will increase.
Also, there can be other causes besides genetics that can lead to developing aphthous ulcers. Here are the main causes of canker ulcers:
- Hormonal fluctuation;
- Food allergies;
- Certain mouth injuries;
- Menstrual cycle;
- Some vitamin or mineral deficiency;
- Problems with the immune system;
- Viral infection.
When you have certain vitamin deficiencies like B3 or B9, you will be more exposed to developing mouth ulcers.
Suffering from calcium, zinc, or iron deficiency will also make canker sores more likely to appear, or even worsen them.
Home Remedies And Treatments For Canker Sores
Small amounts of milk of magnesia or ice applied to the sore spot can relieve pain and help with the healing.
Another remedy would be to make a mixture of warm water and baking soda (a teaspoon of baking soda in half a cup of water).
Also, applying some honey to the infected area is a good canker sore treatment.
If you have large and more painful mouth ulcers, you can use any of the following treatments for canker sores:
- Oral medications – your doctor can prescribe you a certain pill or you can take ulcer drug sucralfate and the gout drug colchicine.
- Topical medications – you can use ointments, oral paste, or spray to apply to the affected area. Also, your doctor can prescribe you topical medications containing a steroid for the inflammation.
- Mouthwashes – there are types of mouthwash specifically used for treating canker sores. They contain painkillers and steroids.
- Nutritional supplements – this is a remedy that you need if your ulcer is caused by a certain nutrient deficiency.
Usually, one of these home remedies or treatments is enough to treat your canker sores. However, if the ulcer is persistent and will take several weeks to heal, this can come with additional pain.
When the soreness is spreading outside your mouth, you have a fever and feel tired, go see a doctor.
How To Prevent Mouth Ulcers
One great tip to apply to make sure you are preventing any recurrent mouth ulcers is to stop eating the foods that may have caused the triggering of the ulcer in the first place.
Salty, acidic, or spicy food may be the cause of your problems.
Avoid foods that cause you allergic symptoms such as itching, or a swollen tongue.
Good oral health can be helpful in preventing any mouth ulcers, and the use of a soft toothbrush can be a good idea to help you avoid irritating your gums.
The Difference Between Canker Sores And Cold Sores
Cold sores can be very similar to canker sores. A big difference between them can be the place where they appear.
A cold sore is usually located outside of your mouth. They appear as blisters, not as inflammations, and will become sores after the blisters pop.
This is all the information you need to prevent, identify, and treat canker sores.
Take care of your mouth ulcers with the above home remedies and medical treatments. And, why not, try to prevent them from happening in the future!
Don’t worry, even if you don’t treat them with medications, canker sores will heal on their own in a few days, up to a couple of weeks.