Canker Sores

What Are Canker Sores?

Minor Canker Sore

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are non contagious, shallow ulcers that appear inside areas of the mouth. They are often accompanied by pain and can cause discomfort when chewing or talking. Canker sores look like small, yellow or white ulcers surrounded by red tissue that are typically found on the tongue, gums, or on the inside of lips. Oral sores are a common dental problem that typically heal within 1-2 weeks, but persistent sores that last longer than a couple of weeks may be the early stages of oral cancer.

If you’re looking for experienced help in treating canker sores, give us a call today at Carson & Carson (805) 983-0717 or contact us online using the button below.

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Types of Canker Sores

Canker sores are seen in two major types which are categorized as:

  • Minor canker sores – Are small and typically heal in 1-2 weeks without treatment or scarring, can be accompanied by pain, and account for nearly 80% of all canker sores.
  • Major canker sores – Are larger and can take up to 6 weeks to fully heal. This type of canker score can leave hefty scarring, can be excruciatingly painful, and are far less common.
  • Herpetiform canker sores – Are super small in size, appear in patches with up to 100 sores, and heal in 1-2 weeks similarly to minor canker sores.

Canker Sores vs. Cold Sores

Canker & Cold Sores

Although these two types of canker soars are often confused, they are quite different. Unlike cold sores, canker sores only appear inside the mouth, are not contagious, and are not caused by the herpes virus. On the other hand, Cold sores , also known as fever blisters, appear outside areas of the lips or mouth and are highly contagious through touch.

Causes of Canker Sores

The specific cause of canker sores is not completely understood, but some of the possible causes are from:

  • Minor injury to oral tissues from things like: brushing teeth to hard, biting your cheek, braces or dentures, dental work, or a sports injury.
  • Foods that are high in acidity or spices can trigger or worsen a canker sore outbreak.
  • Food allergies or sensitivities can cause a canker sore outbreak.
  • Genetics. Canker sores may be hereditary or simply occur in people that live in the same environments, eat the same food, or have the same allergies.
  • Improper balance of nutrition intake that is lacking vitamin B-12, iron, zinc, or folate which is folic acid. These particular nutrients help you prevent the occurrence of canker sores.
  • Using dental hygiene products that contain sodium laurfyl sulfate has shown to increase the likelihood of developing canker sores.
  • Presence of certain bacteria in the mouth can trigger an allergic response that can cause canker sores.
  • Stress & smoking are both known to weaken your immune system response and can lead to an increased risk a canker sore outbreak.
  • Hormonal fluctuations can cause canker sores, as seen in women who are menstruating or during puberty.
  • Drugs including: Aspirin, NSAID’s, nicotine, certain antibiotics, immunosuppressants, antihypertensives, vasodilators, and protease inhibitors can cause canker sores.
  • Diseases including: Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, Behcet’s disease, and HIV/AIDS are all associated with a higher risk of canker sore outbreak.

Canker sores can develop in any individual, but are more likely to occur and during the teen years and early adulthood. Canker sores are also more likely to develop in females than in males.

Symptoms of Canker Sores

Large Canker Sore

A number of symptoms may be present when you have a canker sore including:

  • Oval or circle-shaped white or yellow ulcers that appear in the mouth
  • Pain around the areas affected by the canker sore(s)
  • Red tissue surrounding the canker sores that may be sensitive or painful
  • Some individuals also experience a burning or tingling sensation in the area where a canker sore forms up to 24 hours before the sore appears.

There are a number of less common symptoms which may indicate a more serious infection or underlying cause and include:

  • Fever which typically indicates infection
  • Swollen lymph nodes which typically indicate infection
  • Physical sluggishness or feeling under the weather

Individuals who have a canker sore outbreak that is accompanied by any of the less common symptoms should see a doctor to ensure there is not a more serious infection or issue.

Treatments for Canker Sores

Most canker sores will heal in 1-2 weeks time without requiring treatment. There are some home remedies that you can use to try to relieve the pain or discomfort caused by canker sores which include:

  • Brushing your teeth with care as to avoid aggravation of canker sores from contact with toothbrush bristles.
  • Avoiding the use of toothpaste or mouthwash that has lauryl sulfate.
  • Drinking cold fluids or dissolving ice in your mouth. The coldness can numb the canker sore and ease pain, but in some cases, the cold fluid touching the sore can cause sharp pain.
  • Rinsing your mouth with a salt + water mix can help relieve pain from canker sores.
  • Rinsing your mouth with a mixture of milk of magnesia and Benadryl can help with canker sores. Dabbing milk of magnesia directly on the sore with a cotton swap can also be effective.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as NSAID’s like asirin or ibuprofen. DO NOT take aspirin if you are under the age of 20 or are already bleeding.
  • Applying topical medications directly to the canker sore such as benzocaine or lidocaine can help relieve the pain or discomfort.

Prevention of Canker Sores

Since canker sores have many potential causes, it can be hard to understand what to avoid to prevent them from happening in the future. Reduce your risk of encountering canker sores by:

  • Relaxation helps avoid bruxism.Avoid foods and actions that irritate the inside of your mouth or have triggered an outbreak in the past. This can include avoiding eating acidic or spicy foods, using a soft bristled toothbrush to avoid irritation while brushing, and avoiding habits such as smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol.
  • Ensure that your diet has a proper balance of: B-12, iron, zinc, and folic acid. These nutrients provide support for your body that can help prevent future canker sores.
  • Reduce your stress levels. Stress negatively impacts the function of your immune system, and avoiding or reducing it can help prevent canker sores from developing.

Seek medical help with your canker sores if you experience:

  • Canker sores that do not heal within 3 weeks
  • Uncommonly larger canker sores
  • Persistent, severe pain that is not responding to pain relievers
  • Canker sore that are spreading or popping up faster than they are disappearing
  • Fever or any other signs of infection
  • Difficulty in eating or drinking

Find Affordable Treatment for Canker Sores at Carson & Carson, DDS

Get high-quality dental care from the Oxnard dentist with over 45 years of experience at Carson & Carson, DDS today. Call us at (805) 983-0717 for more information or to speak to dental professional about our treatment options for canker sores. Find affordable dental services from an experienced dentist you can trust at Carson & Carson, DDS in Oxnard, California.

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Lamont Yvon
Lamont Yvon
22:50 15 Mar 18
I have had a lot of procedures including 8 implants. There is no better dentist office than Carson and Carson. Dr. Derek Carson (the son of Dr. Leroy Carson) is FANTASTIC! He has learned well from his father (who still works there). Papa is the MAN!, and has been for years. Insane amount of knowledge. The Doctors are THE BEST! The support staff is fun and professional always. I will never go anywhere else.
Casandra Sorenson
Casandra Sorenson
23:05 08 May 18
A dentist that truly understands how much the whole dental trip petrifies me - and helps me overcome it. For the first time, and certainly not the last, he used nitros oxide and I can honestly say I can look at future visits without abject terror. No more waiting until the tooth needs pulled! I may even get my teeth cleaned.
Laura Lassiter
Laura Lassiter
18:32 15 Mar 18
The BEST dental office in Ventura County!! Super friendly staff, easy to schedule appts, no issues with insurance processing, and Dr. Carson makes sure you are always comfortable and pain-free when getting any work done. I've been a patient for over 7 years now and I couldn't be happier! I highly recommend!
Ivon valdez
Ivon valdez
18:13 18 Mar 18
Great office...great dentist ....great staff...very kind and helpful .....
Angel Garcia
Angel Garcia
15:26 27 Jan 18
Fun, friendly staff, that makes you feel comfortable immediately and accommodating...excellent work, i highly recommend'em.
Max Patrick
Max Patrick
19:31 19 Feb 19
This dental office is beyond professional. A landmark of our city, to say the least. Dr. Carson has been serving our community for quite some time, with true care and concern for his patients. If you want a true dental experience, then I would highly advise you to make an appointment with them 🙂
Lucia Vieira
Lucia Vieira
15:18 16 Mar 17
Dr. Derek, you have a hand and a heart of gold. That spirit of help that you have is praiseworthy. I'm amazed at all the treatment you've done and I feel no pain after, not even the pain of the anesthesia sting, I say with propriety because I am very sensitive to pain. Congratulations on your work that loves what you do so you have been successful, not counting on your last generation machine that I do not know how to explain. Much gratitude, you're the best.
Keila Carson
Keila Carson
04:44 24 Apr 19
Today I had a procedure wisdoms teeth extracted with Dr Derek Carson. All staff it was the kindest people ever they stayed room and for the all time asking how I was feeling. The Dr was absolutely amazing! I had several shots and no leave one I feel it and about the extraction when I was thinking he will start it he ready did the extraction out me feeling any pain absolutely any discomfort. I had rest of my day as a normal day and not swallowing.I really want to thank you Dr Derek Carson to be an amazing Dentist so gentle and very professional with absolutely confidentiality.I highly recommended this office if you need to visit just for your regular cleaning or any procedure. Thank you very much!
Yazmine Givens
Yazmine Givens
23:15 14 May 19
All of the ladies that work here are extremely nice, and they show that they care. The orthodontist is amazing, and helped along the way of my road w/ braces.
Hermenegildo Gutierrez
Hermenegildo Gutierrez
06:25 04 Jun 19
Both doctors, father and son (Dr. Leroy and Dr. Derek), are the best of the best. I have been to different dentists due to change on my insurance coverage, but i keep coming back to Carson and Carson (even if it means paying out of pocket) because they take care of the issues others can not or are not willing to. Furthermore, the staff is truly amazing, friendly, knowledgeable, professional. I am in good hands, my family's hands.
Hermenegildo Gutierrez
Hermenegildo Gutierrez
06:57 04 Jun 19
Both doctors, father and son (Dr. Leroy and Dr. Derek), are the best of the best. I have been to different dentists due to change on my insurance coverage, but i keep coming back to Carson and Carson (even if it means paying out of pocket,) because they take care of the issues others can not or are not willing to. To be honest, their fees are actually low and their work far superior compared to other dentists. Furthermore, the staff is truly amazing, friendly, knowledgeable, professional. I am in good hands, my family's hands.
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