Have you ever had a sore on your inner lip or cheek that was very painful every time your teeth rubbed against it? It’s possible that it was a canker sore. Here’s the lowdown on what canker sores are, how you get them, and what you can do about them.
What Is a Canker Sore?
A canker sore is a type of ulcer in the mouth. Although anyone can get a canker sore, they’re most common in older children, teenagers, and young adults. A canker sore often starts out as an irritated, pink section in the gums, but it quickly turns into a white or yellow circular sore with a ring of red or dark pink around it. They can be extremely painful.
Most of the time, a canker sore will go away on its own within a week or so. Once you have gotten one, you might get one a few times per year. Occasionally, people who are prone to canker sores might develop a complex canker sore, which is larger and lasts for approximately a month. This type might cause a scar.
How Do You Get a Canker Sore?
Any type of irritation or trauma can cause a canker sore. Getting braces or dentures can irritate the cheek tissues enough to cause sores. Biting your lip or inner cheek while eating is another common cause.
Sometimes, canker sores are caused by stress. Some foods, particularly tomatoes and citrus fruits, can cause the sores when eaten in excess. Some people are even sensitive to certain toothpaste ingredients or brands.
What Can You Do About the Pain?
Most of the time, these sores will go away on their own and need no special treatment. With that being said, sometimes they’re in a location that makes it nearly impossible to avoid irritating it further. There are mouthwashes available that reduce pain and encourage quicker healing. You can also buy canker sore medication at the pharmacy; this is a non-prescription gel that creates a coating on top of the sore to speed healing and reduce further irritation.
If you are plagued by canker sores, talk to your dentist about ways to minimize them and reduce pain. Also, if a sore does not clear up within two weeks, make an appointment to have it evaluated in case it is something more serious.