What is a canker sore?


Canker Sores are shallow, small ulcers that appear in the mouth. They often make talking and eating uncomfortable. Simple Canker Sores and Complex Canker Sores are the two types of Canker Sores. Simple Canker Sores occur in people aged 10-20 and last up to 7 days and appear 3-4 times in a year.  Complex Canker Sores are not very common and occur in people who have had the sores before. It is thought that tissue injury or stress causes Simple Canker Sores. Certain foods like acidic and citrus vegetables and fruits can trigger the disease or worsen it. Canker sores may trigger due to ill fitting dentures, braces, dental appliance or sharp tooth surface. Nutritional problems, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, gastrointestinal tract disease and impaired immune system are some of the other causes of complex Canker Sores. However exact cause of Canker Sores is not known.

Symptoms of Canker Sores include burning or tingling sensation before appearance of sores, painful sores on the inside of cheeks, roof of mouth, soft palate or on the tongue. The sores have a border or red edge and are gray, white or yellow and are round in shape. In case of severe Canker Sores, the person has swollen lymph nodes, physical sluggishness and sometimes, fever.

Canker Sores are treated with dental lasers to provide complete relief from the symptoms. Pain caused by the sores becomes less after a few days. In a week or two the sores heal without treatment, usually.

To prevent Canker Sores avoid irritation caused by chewing gum, avoiding spicy foods, acidic vegetables, citrus foods and foods that cause irritation in the mouth. A soft bristled tooth brush must be used after meals and for regular flossing to keep the mouth free of foods that could cause Canker Sores. If the sores are unusually large, if the sores begin spreading, if they last for 3 weeks and more, cause difficulty in drinking adequate fluids, cause pain and fever, then a doctor, must be contacted immediately for treatment.