A canker sore is an often painful, small round to oval shaped open sore found inside the oral cavity. These sores appear as a white or yellow ulcer in the base of the gums, inside the cheek, under the tongue, soft palate or in the back of the throat. A canker sore usually makes eating, and at times talking, difficult for an individual. The non-contagious canker sore should not be confused with the highly contagious cold sore. A cold sore is generally appears outside the mouth and is caused by the herpes simplex virus.
A canker sore is either simple or complex. When it is a simple canker sore, it lasts for only a week and it may occur a few times a year. They are more common in young individuals between the age of 10 and 20. These kinds of sores last only for 10 to 14 days even in the absence of treatment. In contrast, a complex canker sore is less common and recurs in individuals who have experienced it in the past.
Causes of Canker Sore
A canker sore occurs more frequently in women than men. There are several factors that are considered to be affecting when a canker sore will appear. However, there are also times when the sore is from an unidentified caused. Consider the following:
- Hormonal changes, particularly part of the menstrual cycle
- Injury to the tissue – constant friction between a tooth surface and dental equipment
- Toothpaste and mouth washes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate
- Food allergy
- Citrus of acidic foods
- Lack of vitamins in the diet, such as B12
- Lack of minerals in the diet, such as iron and zinc
- Weakened immune system, particularly those caused by viral infections
- Gastrointestinal diseases
- Peptic ulcer causing bacteria: Helicobacter pylori
Symptoms of Canker Sore
The first symptom of a canker sore is pain in the mouth. Upon checking, an ulcer can be found inside the mouth. The following are the symptom of canker sore:
- White or yellow round open sore with a red outer ring that can exist on its own or in multiples
- A tingling or burning sensation before the open sore appears
- In uncommon severe cases: open sores that are irregularly shaped and vary in size, fever, swelling of lymph nodes, and takes time to heal (more than 6 weeks)
First Aid Management for Canker Sore
A canker core can be treated at home with proper application of first aid. Enroll in First Aid Courses to learn how to apply basic first aid on common home accidents or illnesses. The following first aid tips can help relieve symptoms and lead to faster healing of the canker sore:
- Gargle salt in warm water. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in 240mL of water.
- Daub a thin paste of baking soda in water to the sore.
- Smear a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water to the sore using a cotton swab.
- Avoid very hot food and beverages, spicy and salty foods and citrus foods and drinks to avoid worsening the sore.
- Eat popsicles to relieve of burning in the mouth.
A canker sore is a painful and non-contagious round ulcer found inside the oral cavity.