Canker sores do not directly affect your teeth, but they are a huge part of your oral health and therefore it’s your dentist’s concern. That doesn’t mean you should call your dentist very time you get a canker sore!
You’ve probably had one of these small ulcers. Canker sores can appear almost anywhere inside your mouth—your gums, your tongue, your cheek, and even the roof of your mouth. They will be white or gray and very painful. In bad cases, you may feel like you have a cold. While not contagious the pain can make talking and eating difficult.
What Causes a Canker Sore?
No one really knows the exact cause of these little mouth ulcers. Some are most likely caused by stress or injury to the gum tissue. If you have a more rare complex canker sore, it could be caused by a health condition, like a mineral deficiency. Certain foods, especially those that are very acidic, can also trigger or exacerbate canker sores.
Canker sores usually heal themselves with a few days or weeks. There are doctor related treatments that do help the pain subside, but these are usually only administered in serious cases. For less serious canker sores, there are some at home treatments and remedies that help ease pain, discomfort and possibly speed the healing process.
- Saltwater Solution and Sodium Bicarbonate – Saline and sodium bicarbonate both help the mouth heal quickly by gently reducing the alkalinity and bacteria in the mouth
- Hydrogen Peroxide Solution – Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic that will help reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth
- Over-The-Counter Oral Care Products and Mouth Rinse – Products such as gels, paste, and rinses that are specifically marketed for mouth sores may provide pain relief and help speed the healing process.
When to Tell Your Dentist
If it’s a serious case, or if you consistently deal with canker sores, you should talk to your dentist about your sores. Signs that it’s time to talk to him or her include:
- More than 3 outbreaks a month
- Extremely large canker sores
- Sores that last longer than 3 weeks
- Difficulty drinking and/or dehydration
- Pain that will not subside even while avoiding trigger foods and taking pain medications
- High fever
- A spreading of the sores
If you have a pesky canker sore that is presenting more serious symptoms give Dr. Chauvins office a call!