Canker Sores 101

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You may have experienced or currently have an irritating canker sore, which are small white or gray sores with a red border inside your mouth. These often make talking and eating uncomfortable. St. Marys Dental Center wants to give you a better understanding of the mystery surrounding this annoying, small ulcer, and ways to prevent and treat them.

There are two types of canker sores: simple and complex. Simple canker sores may appear three or four times a year and last around a week, typically occurring between 10 and 20 years old. Complex canker sores are much less common, occurring more in people who previously had them.

The cause of most canker sores is unknown, but stress or injury to the tissue is thought to be a factor in simple canker sores. Another factor may be bacteria, viruses or immune system problems. Citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables may trigger a canker sore or possibly make it worse. A dental appliance or sharp tooth surface (braces or dentures) might also trigger sores.

Avoid foods that irritate your mouth (including spicy or acidic), stop chewing gum if irritation occurs, and brush after meals and floss daily. This will help free your mouth of foods that may activate a sore. Over-the-counter anesthetics and antimicrobial mouthwashes may provide temporary relief. Talk to your dentist about what option is best for you.

Call St. Marys Dental Center at 785-437-2771 if you have unusually large sores, sores lasting more than three weeks, spreading sores, difficulty swallowing, a high fever, or elevated pain. We will be happy to ease your discomfort and attend to your dental needs here in St. Marys, Kansas.