Vital and Helpful Information about Canker Sores

Canker sores, also referred to as aphthous, are shallow and small lesions that develops on gums or soft tissues inside the mouth but not on the surface of the lips. They are yellow or white and are surrounded by red area. They are neither contagious nor cancerous but, can make talking, drinking and eating pretty difficult. Body immune system is able to clear most of them in a week but, it’s advisable to seek medical attention should the sores worsen. Canker sores are of two types:

Simple Canker Sores
These appear approximately three or four times a year and lasts for a week. Mostly, they affect people of between ages ten to twenty years.

Complex Canker Sores
Aren’t common and affect people who have been previously affected by Canker sores.

Causes
Their exact cause isn’t known, though medical experts points to a combination of factors including;
· Tissue injury in the mouth caused by; acidic or spicy foods, accidental cheek bite, rough brushing or certain form of dental treatment like ill-fitting denture
· Mouth rinses and tooth paste with sodium lauryl sulfate
· Meals without Vitamin B-12, folic acid, iron and zinc
· Menstrual hormonal shifts
· Stress
· Allergic response to some mouth bacteria
· Celiac disease, which is an intestinal disorder caused by being sensitive to gluten
· Inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
· Diseases which suppresses the immune system like HIV/AIDS
· Behcet’s disease which is a rare medical condition resulting to the swelling of the entire body including the mouth

Symptoms
These include;
· Shallow, small lesions, inside the mouth or under the tongue, with red borders and a white or yellow center
· Burning sensation some days before the sore appears which might worsen or disappear with time
· Fever which doesn’t go away
· Swollen lymph nodes
· Difficulty in talking, eating and breathing
· Extreme pain that can’t be controlled by normal pain killers and self care measures
· Ever recurring and sores that won’t heal
· Sores lasting more than three weeks and keeps worsening
· Severe tiredness even after extended period of rest

Preventative measures
Prevention is said to be better than cure. Canker sores do reoccur and thus one should resort to reduce their frequency by;
· Not eating foods that irritate the mouth and that might trigger the re-occurrence of the sores like; acidic vegetables, spicy foods, citrus and others
· Brushing the teeth and mouth gently
· Taking meals rich in folic acid, Vitamin B-12, iron and zinc
· Reducing emotional stress especially if one falls under the category which is prone to the disorder.
· Avoiding the tooth paste that can trigger the condition

Treatment
The sores usually clear in few weeks without treatment. But should the symptoms persists, the patient needs to seek medical practitioner’s advice and help. Otherwise, the following prescription may be of help;
· An over the counter prescription to reduce or eliminate the pain
· Corticosteroid ointment
· Antimicrobial mouth wash

Risk Factors
Anybody is at the risk of developing canker sores but, the following factors may increase ones chances of developing it;
· Family history, a good percentage of people susceptible to canker sore have a family history of it. This may be due to sharing some environmental factors like certain foods or due to hereditary factors.
· Females are more likely to contract the disorder than men. Menstruating females are at times affected because of menstrual hormonal shifts which they don’t have control over.