Canker Sore – 9 soothing strategies
Overview of canker sore
It may only be the size of a pencil eraser, but a canker sore can be hard to ignore.
You know it’s there and it hurts like crazy, especially whenever you eat or drink something.
Fortunately, a canker sore is usually a fairly short-lived misery, and there are a few things you can do to find temporary relief.
First, however, you need to be able to tell the difference between a canker sore and what is called a cold sore, or fever blister, which is caused by the herpes virus.
A cold sore often begins as several tiny blisters that eventually form one large sore. They appear most often on the lips and face.
In contrast, canker sores usually travel alone. And unlike a sore caused by the herpes virus, a canker sore is not contagious.
A canker sore has a yellow or white-grey center with a well-defined red border.
It generally measures three to five millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).
And is usually located on inside of the lips or cheek or, less commonly, on the tongue.
What causes canker sore?
No one knows for sure what really causes canker sores. But “being run down or tired, or suffering from stress or poor nutrition may contribute.”
You see them in students around finals. They may also occur as a result of a minor injury in the mouth, such as from a slip of the toothbrush or a jab from a taco shell.
Certain foods, such as spicy dishes and citrus fruits, have also taken some of the blame.
About 20 percent of the population seems to get canker sores occasionally, and women are more likely than men to suffer from them.
Some women tend to get canker sore at certain times during their menstrual cycle.
Here’s what you can do for relief. Keep in mind, though, that “a canker sore will last seven days with treatment and around ten days without treatment.”
A canker can take up to two weeks to heal; but if one sticks around longer than that, see your dentist.
1. Get out the styptic pencil
Many barbers have used a styptic pencil to stem bleeding from minor nicks and cuts.
Used on a canker sore, it will numb the nerve ending, temporarily reducing the pain.
2. Make your own remedy
It may sound like a strange combination, but several dentists swear by this homemade remedy.
Apply mixture to the canker sore using a cotton swab. Be careful not to swallow the stuff;
You could end up anesthetizing (numbing) the relax that keeps the windpipe closed when you swallow.
3. Go over-the-counter
If you use something that keeps the sore coated, you’ll help prevent a secondary infection. Products with xylocaine, a local anesthetic, can also dull the pain.
4. Take two aspirin.
You can take aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen to help relieve the pain, especially before meals if the canker sore interferes with eating.
5. Don’t eat hot foods on your canker sore
Stay away from foods that are hot, in terms of temperature and spiciness. They’ll burn and sting tender canker sores.
6. Stop the bad habits
Alcohol and smoking can irritate a canker sore. a little abstinence may prove a lot of relief.
7. Check out your diet
One old wives’ tale blames canker sores on tomatoes. Experts admit some sort of allergic reaction to foods may be to blame.
But others point out that food allergies can cause lesions that resemble canker sore.
If you’re plagued with frequent canker sores, pay attention to your diet and notice whether an outbreak seems to be linked with any particular food.
Likely offender of canker sores are: nut, shellfish, chocolate, and tomatoes.
What do you do if you discover a connection? You guessed it, avoid the offending food.
8. Learn to handle stress
That’s the best advice for prevention canker sores. Try to find some method of relieving or coping with stress.
Examples that you might try include engaging in a hobby, an exercise program, yoga, and also meditation.
When to see your doctor for canker sore
If you are suffering from frequent canker sores, you should talk to your dentist about them.
same goes if you have a canker sore that is an inch in diameter or leaves scars when it heals.
And definitely get to your dentist or physician if you develop a fever; a fever may indicate that the canker sore has become infected (from poor oral hygiene, dirty finger in mouth, or chewing tobacco), in such case you would likely need an antibiotic.
If you’ve got a sore that doesn’t go away or been around indefinitely, see your dentist.
“Don’t think that because it doesn’t hurt, it’s not serious.” While a canker sore hurts and stings, “lesions that are oral cancer rarely cause pain.”
And while a canker sore will usually disappear in seven to ten days, a cancerous lesion will not.
More than 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year.
Other conditions can also cause mouth ulcers that resemble canker sores.