Just about everyone has had one at some time or another: canker sores. They seem to appear for no reason in random places of the mouth and are extremely sensitive. These lesions, more properly known as “aphthous ulcers,” occur frequently in some patients but once in a blue moon for others. Regardless of their frequency, they are certainly not pleasant. What exactly are these sores and how can you deal with them? Learn more below from your dentist in Walnut Creek.
There are different triggers and causes for aphthous ulcers. Some people experience them during times of high stress. Others only get them if some sort of accidental trauma occurs, like biting the inside of the cheek. Sometimes people will report a burning or tingling feeling in the area just before an ulcer forms. This is a symptom similar to those who experience cold sores. Canker sores appear as a round, yellowish lesion with a stereotypical thin red border or “halo.” They most commonly occur on the inside surfaces of the cheeks and sometimes on the tongue as well.
There is no “cure” for a canker sore; unfortunately, it has to run its course and will heal with time. But there are things that can be done in the meantime to help reduce the pain and discomfort of aphthous ulcers.
A time-tested and easy method for reducing pain is swishing or gargling with warm salt water. This can help desiccate (dry out) the ulcer and make it less irritating. There are also a number of over the counter agents for treating the symptoms of canker sores, some of which can even numb the area for a brief time. It’s also wise to avoid hot and spicy foods during this time, as they can greatly irritate the sore and make it worse. The same goes for foods with tomato sauce and sour, citrus fruits.
If you canker sore is particularly bad, you may want to visit your dentist in Walnut Creek. There are some ways he or she can manage the discomfort, such as applying topical steroids or injecting the area with medication. Some dental offices may have the capability to remove the sore altogether with a laser.
Regardless, just remember that canker sores are temporary and are usually not a sign of a serious problem. By learning to manage the discomfort, you can make living with aphthous ulcers a little bit easier.