Canker sore is also known as aphthous stomatitis. These are the most common type of oral ulcers. The cause of canker sore is not known. It is not contagious. It is recurrent and sometimes may last for few months. Shallow, discreet and painful ulcers are seen on the mucous membrane of the mouth.
There are various types of canker sores. These are as follows:-
- Recurrent aphthous ulcer minor–These ulcers are small, less than one centimetre in diameter. They are discreet and painful. Usually they heal within a week without scarring.
- Recurrent aphthous ulcer major–These are oval ulcers.
- Herpetiform recurrent aphthous ulcer-These ulcers are small in size of about 1 to 3 mm. Many small ulcers coalesce together to form a lesion. Usually they heal within one month and do not leave scars.
What Causes Canker Sores?
Exact cause is not known but certain factors can trigger canker sores. These factors are:
- Vitamin B complex deficiency
- Iron and folic acid deficiency also can cause aphthous ulcers.
- Deficiency of Zinc
- After trauma to oral mucosa due to abrasion or extraction of tooth or irritation due to ill fitting denture or dental braces.
- Immune disorder
- Intake of citrus fruits
- Celiac disease
- Chemical irritants or injury to mucous membrane due to hot food or drink may result in canker sore.
Symptoms Of Canker Sores
One can see small, discreet, shallow ulcers in oral cavity. Ulcer may be single or multiple. It has a regular red border and the center part of ulcer may appear gray. Gray part is due to formation of fibrin. Lesion is painful so patient will have discomfort while eating and talking.
Generally no tests are required. For recurrent and chronic ulcers, blood test is carried out to look for iron, folate and vitamin B6 and B12 level.
Home Remedies For Canker Sores
- Local application of analgesic cream is advisable.
- Take a balanced diet. Take vitamin and mineral supplements after consulting your doctor.
- Patients with celiac disease should have gluten free diet.
- If you are allergic to any food item avoid it to prevent oral irritation.
- Get yourself checked regularly by a dentist to detect any changes in lesion.
- Do not wear ill fitting dentures for a long time. Go to a dentist who will correct the fitting of the denture.
- Avoid spicy food till complete healing occurs. Eat bland food and avoid hot drinks.
- Avoid citrus fruits.
- Include yogurt in your diet which may improve oral healthy bacterial flora.
- Practice good oral hygiene.
- Use soft tooth brush to prevent abrasion to oral mucosa.
- Use a mouthwash. Mouthwash helps to reduce canker sores.
- Avoid toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulphate.
- Use stress management techniques.