What is a canker sore?

A canker sore is described as a mouth ulcer that is open and painful and the most common form of mouth ulcer. Some might notice them on the interior of the lip or the cheek. The sores are usually white or yellowish and bordered by reddened, inflamed soft tissue.

A canker sore can be categorized as simple or complex. When it comes to a simple type, it reemerges about 3-4 times every year. This is a common type among individuals between the ages of 10-20 years old. A complex type is not prevalent and develops among those who have it before.

Remember that either type is contagious and both usually heal on their own within 1-3 weeks although the pain typically subsides in 7-10 days. A doctor or dentist must be consulted if the following develop:

  • Large-sized sores
  • Rash
  • Outbreak of sores
  • Intense pain
  • Diarrhea
  • High fever
  • Headache

If the individual could not drink or the sore has not healed within 3 weeks, seek medical care.

Canker sore

Some might notice them on the interior of the lip or the cheek. The sores are usually white or yellowish and bordered by reddened, inflamed soft tissue.

What are the indications of a canker sore?

  • Small-sized, oval ulcer that is yellow or white
  • Sore reddened area in the mouth
  • Tingling sensation in the mouth

In some cases, the following symptoms might also be present such as fever, swollen lymph nodes and feeling sick. If a sore does not heal on its own within 2 weeks, a doctor should be consulted since this might be a symptom of mouth cancer.

Causes and risk factors

The danger for acquiring canker sores rises if an individual has a family history of canker sores. There are numerous causes of canker sores. In some circumstances, the cause could not be determined. The usual causes include the following:

  • Stress
  • Viral infection
  • Food allergies
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Mouth injuries
  • Immune system disorders
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiency


A canker sore eventually heals without treatment. You can hasten the healing process by avoiding spicy foods. It is also vital to brush and floss the teeth regularly to prevent the area from being infected by the bacteria.

The pain can be intense at times. You can reduce the discomfort in various ways such as gargling with salt water or a mouthwash. Even though it will feel uncomfortable initially, it can help minimize the pain. A topical agent can also be used to numb the area.


The recurrence of canker sores can be prevented by avoiding foods that might have triggered a previous outbreak such as acidic, salty or spicy foods. It is also vital to avoid foods that cause the symptoms of an allergy such as swollen tongue, itchy mouth or hives.

If the sores occur due to stress, methods that reduce stress as well as calming techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can help. It is vital to observe good oral health and utilize a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritating the soft tissue and gums.




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