Because of the devastating statistics associated with oral cancer, any sore or unusual spot in the mouth should be monitored carefully. However, some sores that occur inside the mouth may be canker sores. (A sore outside the mouth, such as bordering the lips, is typically a ‘cold sore’).
A canker sore is a painful spot that can appear on the tongue, inside of the cheek or on the soft palate (the back portion of the roof of the mouth). Canker sores are white or gray circles outlined in red. You may have a tingling or burning sensation before the sore appears.
Stress or an injury to oral tissue is often suspected to be the reason canker sores emerge, however, their exact cause is unknown. Tissue can be damaged from wearing braces, biting the inside of the cheek or a tooth that cuts into tender oral tissue, for example. Citrus or acidic foods can also be a possible trigger for canker sores. A compromised immune system, B vitamin or iron deficiency, or diseases such as Crohn’s disease can be causes.
Typically, a canker sore doesn’t last long with discomfort subsiding in just a few days. They generally heal completely in less than two weeks. To speed healing, a prescription mouth rinse or ointment can be provided. Discomfort can also be eased by some over-the-counter medications.
When canker sores are reoccurring, citrus, spicy or acidic foods should be avoided. Using a soft-bristled tooth brush is also advised to avoid worsening any existing tissue damage. A dentist should be contacted when canker sores seem unusually large, are multiplying or last longer than two weeks. Also, see a dentist when canker sore pain becomes extreme or is accompanied by a high fever. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles promptly.