canker sores
Health and fitness

Canker Sores: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Canker sores also known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis, RAS are very painful mouth blisters which first appears in adolescence.

Canker Sores

A very common oral issue, canker sores in the mouth affects most of the population. They are basically mouth ulcers similar to peptic ulcers in the stomach. They tend to affect the softer parts of the mouth and that is why canker sores on tongue are very common. People who regularly suffer from it know how hard it is to swallow, talk or chew during that period of time.

What causes canker sores?

woman thinking

There are many causes of canker sores in your mouth preventing you to talk and eat freely. Some major reasons are:

  1. Stress

When you are depressed about your work life or personal life and take way too much stress about it you eventually stop taking care of yourself. Thus your immune system is compromised due to which many digestive issues take place which leads to the formation of canker sores in your mouth. So, identify your mental health issues and solve them quickly.

  1. Hormonal issues

Hormonal changes cause this too. Women tend to suffer more from them than men. They may increase before and during the time of menstruation as during that time both pituitary and ovarian hormones change in their levels. So, women are likely to suffer from canker sores during menstruation and there is nothing to worry about.

  1. Deficiency of vitamins

If you don’t take a balanced diet regularly you have more chances of having canker sores. They are very common in people suffering from vitamin B-12 deficiency.

  1. Allergic reactions

Canker sores can also develop as a result of an allergic reaction to some kind of food ingredients, mouthwash or toothpaste. This creates disturbance in the immune system which then causes these mouth ulcers. Fruits like strawberries, oranges, lemons and figs are known to cause canker sores.

  1. Injuries

If you accidentally bite your tongue or inside part of your lips chances are you will have them. Many people also have the habit of over brushing which can also cause these blisters. If you bite your cheeks it can also cause a canker sore. At times braces can also trigger this problem.

  1. Mineral deficiency

Deficiency of zinc and iron can also cause them.

Symptoms of canker sores:

Simple canker sores are very common and frequent canker sores appear almost three or four times annually. Some of the symptoms are:

  1. A burning sensation in your mouth before it appears
  2. A cluster of sores on the roof of your mouth (in the back), on the tongue and inside your cheeks.
  3. You might also feel pain while having food, especially spicy ones.

And if you are suffering from complex canker sores then the following symptoms are as follows:

  1. Fever
  2. Unusual pain
  3. Swollen lymph nodes

How to get rid of canker sores?

drink water

Since the most common and simple canker sores are not malignant they can be cured easily in the home. But in case they are very painful it might be a symptom of complex canker sores. In that case, canker sores treatment can be done with dental lasers.

Now in case of this, you don’t need to worry and run to the doctor because they can be treated easily at home. Even if you don’t do anything they will eventually disappear within a week. But if it’s bothering you so much then keep on mind these simple tips on how to treat canker sores.

  • Don’t eat too much acidic and spicy food
  • Take vitamins on a regular basis especially vitamin B-12
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat basil
  • Apply ice cubes for temporary relief
  • And please don’t poke at them or bite them

Now let’s discuss a few home remedies on how to get rid of canker sores fast. So, here are some home remedies for canker sores.

  1. Saltwater

Salt water helps in healing very fast. You just need to take one teaspoon of natural salt or sea salt and mix it with a half cup of warm water. Swish around your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds and then spit it. Then wash your mouth with fresh water.

  1. Baking soda

Since baking soda is alkaline in nature it can neutralize the acids in your mouth which triggers painful canker sores. Add one teaspoon of baking soda and mix it with a half cup of warm water. Swish around your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds, spit it and wash your mouth with fresh water.

  1. Clove oil

This is one of the best remedies for canker sores. Eugenol which is the active element in clove oil helps in reducing the pain. First, rinse your mouth with salt water then take a cotton ball to add 10 drops of olive oil in it topped with 4-5 drops of clove oil and apply directly in the canker sore. Keep it for a few minutes (not more than 10 minutes) and you can feel the pain reducing.

  1. Sage

Sage is a herb of the mint family with anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties. It helps in curing them along with other dental problems. Add 2 teaspoons of dried sage to a cup of water and rinse your mouth with it for 60 seconds.

  1. Zinc Supplements

If you frequently suffer from this, you will eventually suffer from zinc deficiency which will lead to even more sores. So, you can take zinc supplements on a regular basis to reduce this and also it is a good way of preventing canker source.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

As you already know vinegar is a good source of acetic acid which helps in killing the oral bacteria. You can mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and rinse your mouth or else you can directly swallow it as apple cider vinegar is good for the digestive system as well. Also, don’t forget to dilute it before using.

  1. Milk of Magnesia

Make a mixture of milk of magnesia along with Benadryl liquid (use to treat allergic reactions) and use it as a mouthwash.

Though you can always consult a doctor and buy prescribed medicines if it can be cured by home remedies with pure natural ingredients then why to consult a doctor at all.

How long to canker sores last?

The simple ones don’t last more than a week or two. Many people also suffer from recurring mouth ulcers which disappear in a week but it keeps coming back. In the case of complex canker sores, they may last more than 3-4 weeks. This is when you need to visit your dentist.

Are canker sores really contagious?

You absolutely don’t need to worry about this as they are not contagious. Even if you have open sores they cannot be transmitted to some other person.

How to prevent them?

  • Always keep yourself hydrated
  • Avoid intake of too much acidic food
  • Stop taking stress
  • Stop biting your tongue or inside of your cheeks continuously. Few people have a habit of doing it when they are tensed.
  • Use toothpaste or mouthwash that doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Maintain proper dental hygiene

Difference between cold sores and canker sores:

These two are often confused with each other but they are definitely not the same. Cold sores are caused by a virus and are highly contagious while canker sores are absolutely not contagious. Cold sores (also known as fever blisters) are fluid-filled blisters that appear outside the mouth while canker sores are limited inside the mouth.

Stay fit and happy.

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