The Truth About Canker Sores

Oh no – not a canker sore! If you haven’t been practicing preventative dental care and wake up with a painful blister on the inside of your cheek, gums or roof of your mouth, you know the coming week may be extremely uncomfortable, especially while eating or drinking. A canker sore is a blister that is gray or white and surrounded by a red, inflamed area inside your mouth.

It is important to note the difference between a canker sore and a cold sore. Cold sores typically form outside of the mouth and are caused by the HPV virus. Unlike cold sores, a canker sore is not contagious. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t beg for relief if you get one. Since canker sores take up to 10 days to completely heal, here are some ways to cope and speed the recovery:

    • Take your vitamins! Start taking a Vitamin B12 supplement daily; this can reduce the frequency and duration of canker sores.
    • Orajel is your friend! Use topical analgesic products such as Orajel for immediate relief.
    • Make a rinse! Apply a baking soda and water paste to your sore and rinse it with salt water.
    • Say no to spice! Avoid spicy foods and toothpastes with an SLS ingredient, these can both irritate or inflame an existing canker sore.

After your cold sore dissipates, you are encouraged to stay on guard for future cold sores. You can prevent a cold sore by knowing the common triggers or causes. Cankers sores can develop from irritations, such as braces or hard brushing, inside your mouth. However, lifestyle factors such as stress and a poor diet might be the trigger to your cold sore. Bacterial infections and food allergies may also be the source. Women are actually twice as likely to suffer from a cold sore than men, and most cold sores first appear between the ages of 10 and 20 years old.

When do you need to see a dentist? If you are unsure if your mouth sore is in fact a canker sore, a dentist can help diagnose you. Also, your dentist can recommend specific treatment methods to keep an infection away. If you have a mouth sore that is lingering for more than 10 days or becomes unbearable, consult your dentist right away as this might indicate a more serious health condition.

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