These are also known as aphthous ulcers characterized by small lesions developing on the soft tissues of the mouth, on the gums and base of tongue. They are not contagious and doesn’t occur on the outer surface of lips.
The sores are seen as white centered surrounded by red margins lesions. Three types of canker sores are there namely:
- Minor canker sores most common, small and oval in shape with red boundary. Heals within 1 to 2 weeks without scarring.
- Major canker sores being less common are large and deeper lesions. They are rounded and borders are defined and extremely painful. Healing occur up to 6 week with less extensive scarring.
- Herpetiform canker sores are uncommon. They are usually pinhead size occurring in cluster of 10 to 100sores but can be present singly. Irregular edges are present. Healing occur within 1 to 2 weeks without scarring.
Following are some major causes;
- Minor injury
- Food sensitivities
- Bacterial infection
- Lack of vitamin B12, zinc, folate and iron.
- Helicobactor pylori infection
- Celiac disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Autoimmune diseases
Diagnosis is done just by visual examination by your doctor. Sometimes tests can be done to rule out underlying causes of long going ulcers.
- Treatment is not required for minor sores with are self healing in a week or two.
- Major sores can be treated with medications like sucralfate or topical application of drugs like Benzocaine (Anbesol, Kank-A, Orabase, Zilactin-B),Fluocinonide (Lidex, Vanos), or mouth rinses for dexamethasone is prescribed for ongoing inflammation.
- Cautery of sore can be considered.
- Nutritional supplements are also prescribed.
- Mouth rinsing with salt water or baking soda
- Apply milk of magnesia in small amount on sores
- Avoid eating spicy foods
- Icing on sores can be relieving
- Brush gently.