What Are Canker Sores?

Brunette woman wearing a white t-shirt looks off wondering if she should be concerned about canker sores in her mouth

Should you be concerned if you get painful, shallow sores inside of your mouth? They are likely canker sores, or aphthous ulcers. Read on to learn more about what canker sores are and how to treat them.

Canker Sore Symptoms

If you feel areas of pain or burning anywhere in your mouth, including on your tongue or palate, and see sores in your mouth with grey, red, or white borders, then you likely have canker sores. Some report also feeling feverish and tired when they have canker sores. Canker sores are commonly confused with cold sores, but they have critical differences. Canker sores are not contagious and always occur inside the mouth, whereas cold sores are viral, fluid-filled blisters around the mouth that are contagious.

Canker Sore Types

There are two types of canker sores:

  • 1. Simple canker sores last about a week, appear a few times a year, and affect adolescents and young adults.
  • 2. Complex canker sores last up to a month, are larger and more painful, can scar, and affect people who experience recurrent canker sores due to an underlying condition.

Canker Sore Causes

The actual cause of canker sores is unknown, but stress or accidental injury are often believed to be the leading triggers of canker sores. You may also notice that you get canker sores after you eat acidic foods, like tomatoes, citrus, or pineapples. Additionally, canker sores can occur due to oral irritation from metal braces, ill-fitting dentures, or a sharp tooth. Complex canker sores indicate a more serious health issue, like Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, vitamin deficiencies, or a compromised immune system.

Canker Sore Treatment

Canker sores heal on their own over the course of a couple of weeks, but if the pain is too debilitating, you can seek out laser treatment for immediate relief. Try avoiding acidic and spicy foods, and easing any discomfort with an ice cube or eating cool yogurt.

Come Visit Us!

Canker sores do not post a major threat to your oral health, but if you find that you are getting them due to irritation, visit Dr. Sullivan to figure out a solution for long-term relief. At Sullivan Family Dental, we want you to feel comfortable with your dental treatments both inside and outside of the office! Contact us to schedule an appointment today.