Canker Sores

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border.  Simple canker sores may occur 3 or 4 times a year.  Stress or tissue injury can cause these sores.  However certain foods including citrus or highly acidic fruits and vegetables can also trigger it.  Complex canker sores are usually caused by an underlying medical condition such as a nutritional deficiency of vitamin b-12, iron deficiency, folic acid, or zinc.  An impaired immune system can contribute to these sores.

Often these canker sores are confused with a cold sore.  Cold sores can be a fever blister or herpes simplex type 1.  These are caused by a virus and can be extremely contagious.  Cold sores usually appear outside the mouth, under the nose, around the lips or chin.

The treatment of canker sores is antimicrobial mouth rinse, corticosteroid ointment, over the counter solution to reduce pain .  They can be prevented by avoided highly acidic foods and spicy foods, avoiding gum chewing, brushing with a soft toothbrush, etc.