How to Treat and Prevent Canker Sores

canker sore treatment

How to Treat and Prevent Canker Sores

Besides causing pain and discomfort, canker sores can also affect normal daily activities like eating and talking. At Hicks Dental Group we know how important it is for you to feel your best and keep your mouth healthy. We’ve gathered some of the best ways to treat and heal canker sores so you can get back to eating, drinking, and talking without pain.

What are canker sores?

Canker sores are small ulcers inside the mouth that can be painful and interfere with normal functions like eating and talking. They typically appear as white or light colored spots with a red border. They vary in size, but are usually quite small. They can happen anywhere inside the mouth, including on your tongue, in your throat or on the inside of your cheeks and lips. 

Canker sores often get confused with cold sores, but they aren’t the same. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and typically appear around the outside of the mouth and lips. Cold sores are contagious and while there is no cure for the virus, there are ways to manage it.  

Canker sores, on the other hand, are not contagious and are not caused by any viruses. They only occur inside the mouth, and usually heal naturally within one or two weeks. Canker sores are a very common complaint, but fortunately there are many remedies and prevention methods available for treating canker sores. 

What Causes Canker Sores?

The primary cause of canker sores is a minor mouth injury, like a nick from your teeth or aggressive brushing. Certain foods and ingredients can also cause canker sores. Acidic foods, especially the ones that cause tooth sensitivity, often cause canker sores. 

Stress can also play a huge role in causing canker sores, although many people overlook the havoc stress can wreak on our bodies. Certain vitamin deficiencies and hormonal imbalances can also cause canker sores. If you suffer from chronic canker sores, you should speak to your doctor to find out if they’re a symptom of something else going on in your body. 

Canker Sore Treatment

While canker sores usually heal on their own, you can treat them to encourage faster healing and to relieve any associated pain. One of the first steps you can take is to avoid hot liquids and any foods that might irritate the sore, like acidic, spicy, sour, or very salty foods. Sometimes more abrasive foods like chips can also irritate canker sores, so it is best to avoid those foods until the sore has healed.

Swishing with salt water or a baking soda solution is a common canker sore remedy that actually works! Saline rinses and medicated rinses are another great way to tackle the discomfort and speed up the healing process. Your dentist can also prescribe a medicated mouthwash to help with larger, more persistent canker sores.

If the pain of the canker sore is difficult to deal with, there are several over-the-counter topical oral pain medication options available. Supplementing with immune-boosting vitamins like vitamin C and Zinc can help your body heal the sore faster.

Preventing Canker Sores

When it comes to preventing canker sores, good oral hygiene reigns supreme. A good dental care routine prevents the growth of bad bacteria in your mouth and lessens your chances of getting canker sores. 

Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, rinsing, and staying hydrated are all important aspects of your dental hygiene routine. If you have a healthy mouth you’ll be less likely to get canker sores, and if you do get one, the healing time will be shorter.

Managing stress is another key method for preventing canker sores. Because stress can cause canker sores, reducing stress will help prevent them. Everything from yoga and meditation, to lightening a busy schedule can help with stress reduction.

Keeping your body healthy overall will help prevent canker sores. Since canker sores are sometimes caused by vitamin deficiencies, ensuring that you are eating a balanced diet and taking supplements as necessary will lower your risk. 

Do you have questions about canker sore treatments?

If canker sores are a common issue for you, or if you have questions about oral hygiene, the staff at Hicks Dental Group is here for you. To schedule an appointment, contact us by calling 928-445-6030 or texting 928-487-4583 today.


Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash