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Canker Sores: They May Be Pesky, But They’re Harmless

Do you have a sore inside of your mouth that’s making eating and drinking uncomfortable? Is your mouth in pain even when it’s relaxed? Is there a slight tingling or burning sensation in your mouth that seems to be the sore saying, “hey, I’m still here!” Naturally, the first thing you do when you feel this sore coming on is check the pesky bugger out in the mirror. What you see is a little alarming: a round, white-ish/grey-ish sore ringed with red. Your first thought: you have an abscess in your mouth.

Don’t worry – it’s not an abscess. What you are experiencing is a little something called a canker sore.

Canker sores are irritating, yes, but they’re not dangerous. The most harm they can cause is maybe a slight fever and swollen lymph nodes. While they seem to last forever, in actuality, they only last for a week or two. And that’s without treatment.

Why Do Canker Sores Happen?

Research hasn’t pinpointed the exact cause of canker sores just yet, but it does indicate a strong correlation between stress, certain foods, such as citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables, and canker sores. Research also suggests that sharp tooth surfaces, dental tools, braces and ill-fitting dentures can trigger them as well.

In cases of complex canker sores – sores that appear more frequently – an underlying health condition might be the cause. This could be a vitamin, iron or folic acid deficiency, gastrointestinal tract disease or an impaired immune system. If you think this is the case, visit your physician right away.

Prevent Canker Sores

There may not be any proven cure for canker sores, but there are a few ways to prevent them.

1.    Avoid foods that irritate your mouth

2.    Don’t chew so much chewing gum

3.    Floss nightly, and only brush with a soft bristled toothbrush

If you notice any of the following, contact your dentist right away!

·     Unusually LARGE sores

·     Sores that are spreading

·     Sores that last longer than 3 weeks

·     Intolerable pain even after eliminating trigger foods and taking medications

·     High fever

·     Difficulty drinking fluids

If you’re worried about your canker sore, or if you just want to get rid of it today, visit http://www.lakeshorefamilydentist.com/library/27/CankerColdSores.html or call us directly at (651) 429-3348.

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