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Tooth Talk With Dr. T: Canker Sores

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 7:42 AM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Tooth Talk With Dr. T: Canker Sores

Good morning I’m Dr. Kris Tumilowicz at Dental Dimensions at Edgebrook Center, home of farmers market. Today is national apple day. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Maybe you can get some apples at farmers market. We’re talking about aggravating condition known as canker sores. They aren’t contagious, but they are annoying. Canker sores, also called recurrent aphthous ulcers, are small round sores that form inside the mouth.

They most often appear on the loose tissues of the mouth, like the inside of the lips or cheeks, the underside of the tongue, the floor of the mouth, and sometimes near the tonsils. They usually begin as a tingling sensation, followed by a white or yellow sore surrounded by a bright red area. Pain usually decreases in about a week, and the sores heal in 7 to 14 days. No one knows what causes canker sores, but some experts say that the tendency to get them is inherited. Another theory is that they may be a result of actions by the body’s immune system. Certain triggers seem to set off an outbreak of canker sores, such as an injury in the mouth, like a bite or cut, toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, emotional stress, hormonal changes, food allergies, and dietary deficiencies, especially of Vitamin B, zinc, folic acid, iron, and selenium. If you’ve had canker sores before, you’re likely to get them again. Fortunately, canker sores are not contagious. There is no cure for canker sores, but you can ease the pain and perhaps reduce how often you get them.

Common remedies include using toothpastes and mouthwashes that do not contain lauryl sulfate, applying over-the-counter remedies that contain numbing agents, like benzocaine or phenol, rinsing with salt water or antimicrobial mouthwash, avoiding spicy or acidic foods during an outbreak, Working with a healthcare provider to identify and treat any food allergies, and taking a daily multi-vitamin. If this is the first time you’ve had canker sores, let us know so we can distinguish them from other kinds of mouth sores. Also tell us if you get canker sores more than three times a year, since this may be a sign of a more serious illness. If the sores are large, very painful, or persistent, we may recommend medication. Fortunately, most canker sores aren’t serious, and will soon go away on their own. Nobody likes to get canker sores, but they’re not harmful. They aren’t contagious, but they are rather annoying and aggravating. So talk to your dentist or dental hygenist to perhaps get some medication to provide some relief.

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