Canker sores are pesky, circular lesions that develop inside your mouth. Unlike cold sores, they’re neither contagious nor caused by a virus.
While science has yet to identify the culprit for canker sores, there are risk factors that make an individual prone to having the condition. Teens and young adults are likely to develop canker sores, as well as women undergoing hormonal changes, like menstruation. Emotionally stressed individuals, as well those suffering from immune system disruptions, are vulnerable, too.
That being said, it seems that anyone may be prone to canker sores at least once in their lives. Unfortunately, for those who’ve had it once, canker sores may make a comeback sooner or later.
Minor cases of canker sores are no cause for alarm and usually disappear within a week or two. The more persistent, although rarer instances of major canker sores, may need medical attention.
Most cases of canker sores clear on their own without needing any medical intervention. However, the pain and discomfort may be unbearable, especially when eating, drinking, talking, or brushing your teeth.
The more serious cases of canker sores last longer. Hence, proper care and treatment should be exercised. Getting rid of canker sores are easier through the following:
A more serious case of sores may require you to visit your healthcare professional. As pain and inflammation are the hallmark symptoms of the condition, your physician or dentist may prescribe you a mouth rinse laden with steroids and/or pain relievers.
These mouth rinses should be swished in the mouth for at least 30 seconds. Spit all the liquid out and never swallow the rinse.
Your oral healthcare provider may recommend medicated solutions, from gels, ointments, creams, pastes, and liquids, to be placed on the sore(s). Some of the topical pain relievers are sold over-the-counter. If you want quick relief from your canker sores while waiting for your doctor’s appointment, run to the nearest drug store to snag one. Typically, these topical products have the following active ingredients:
Canker sore topical gels, creams, and ointments offer three functions; relieve pain, minimize inflammation, and prevent infection. In fact, topical patches are available in select drug stores to provide relief and protect the sore from getting bigger or getting infected.
In cases topical medications and mouth rinses fail to provide relief, a patient may be prescribed steroid pills or oral medications that are not intended for the condition. Take note that steroid medications may have serious side effects, so only take them with prescription, and after other remedies have been unsuccessful in providing comfort.
For instance, your doctor or dentist may advise you to take intestinal ulcer and gout medications to treat your canker sores. In some cases, where an infection is also noted in a patient, antiviral drugs may be prescribed.
Taking lozenges with zinc will ease the pain and may also boost your immune system.
In more serious cases of canker sores, where the lesions are larger and deeper, your doctor may ask you to apply topical antibiotics to prevent or arrest the development of an oral infection. Major canker sores may take up to six weeks to heal, and during this period, your wounds may have been subjected to various bacterial risks.
Canker sores have a whitish, yellowish, or grayish center, with a red ring. If the lesion discharges pus, or if there’s too much redness in the wound, you may have developed an infection. A fever is also a telltale sign that your canker sore has been infected.
Cauterization may be a dangerous proposition for canker sore treatment, but not if you approach your dentist or doctor to perform the procedure. By definition, this procedure involves the use of an instrument and chemical compound such as silver nitrate to burn or destroy the tissue.
A topical solution may be used to chemically cauterize canker sores, accelerating the healing period and cutting it by half. Silver nitrate is also commonly used to cauterize lesions, but they’re more targeted for pain relief.
At home, there are many things that you can do to relieve pain and inflammation, as well as to hasten the healing process and prevent infection.
Overall, maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the main elements of canker sore treatment. So, remember to keep your mouth clean, brush your teeth, and floss daily.
Canker sores are typically not considered a serious condition. As such, you can treat minor cases of canker sores on your own with natural remedies, a few of which are discussed in this article.
However, persistent canker sores would need to be seen by a medical professional. Such major cases of canker sores can be an underlying sign of a more serious health problem.