Conquering Canker Sores

By : Abby Ruiz

If you’ve ever had a canker sore, you would understand how irritating these little spots in your mouth can get. Here at Credit River Dental Centre, we often have patients ask us what they can do to prevent and treat their canker sores. As your Mississauga family dentist, we’ve put together some basic information and tips in order to help you overcome the discomfort that canker sores cause.

What exactly are canker sores?

Canker sores are small ulcers that develop inside the tissues of your mouth. Canker sores are typically white or gray and oval-shaped ulcers, with a red-edged border. They are commonly located on the soft tissues and at the base of the gums. Although canker sores are benign and are not contagious, they can be quite painful and awfully annoying. These ulcers can be quite sensitive and can make it difficult to do daily tasks such as eating, drinking and talking.

What causes canker sores?

  1. Injury/Stress
    • One of the most common causes of canker sores is injury. Brushing too hard, biting your gums, harsh mouthwashes or eating something hard are some things that may cause these tiny ulcerations to appear. Certain people are also more sensitive with toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which can also lead to the development of these sores.
  2. Acidic Foods
    • Highly acidic foods, such as fruit, can irritate the tissues or worsen the condition of canker sores.
  3. Vitamin Deficiency
    • Children are more susceptible to getting canker sores because their bodies are consistently growing and demand for more vitamins. Doctors suspect that a vitamin B-12 deficiency can contribute to the cause of canker sores.
  4. Weak Immune System/Chronic Illness
    • Individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to getting canker sores. A weaker immune system cannot repair ulcers as quickly as a healthy immune system. Individuals with Celiac disease or Crohn’s disease are also more prone to getting canker sores.

How to get rid of them

Thankfully, canker sores do go away on their own within one or two weeks. The best thing you can do is to keep your mouth healthy. This means keeping up with your oral care regime, including brushing twice and flossing daily. It may be tempting to avoid brushing in the area due to discomfort, however it is important to remove the plaque, bacteria, and food debris in order to aid healing. You should also avoid eating highly acidic and/or spicy foods, as they can cause irritate the tissues.

Over the counter mouthwashes and ointments are also available in order to soothe the area. Gingigel by Oral Science is a product that we highly recommend for those with canker sores or gum inflammation. It relieves pain and contains hyaluronic acid – a natural substance found in the connective tissues of the body. Hyaluronic acid helps to stimulate the production of new healthy tissue and promote tissue regeneration, allowing the sore to heal at a faster rate.

If you are noticing large sores, have sores that do not go away after three weeks, or are experiencing severe pain associated with your mouth, we encourage you to visit us at Credit River Dental Centre to have us examine the lesion to ensure that it is indeed a canker sore.