Stress, acidic foods and certain drugs are thought to cause a canker sore to flare up. Mouth irritations, such as biting the inside of your cheek or wearing dental braces, may cause you to experience more frequent outbursts as well. In some cases, a vitamin deficiency, problems with the immune system or gastrointestinal tract, or even hormonal changes can launch a canker sore into action!
The good news is that unlike cold sores, canker sores are not caused by a virus and therefore are not contagious. While cold sores appear as blisters on the lips and surrounding areas of the face, canker sores only appear inside the mouth and aren’t noticeable.
There’s no real cure for canker sores, and they often heal on their own. But if you’re experiencing discomfort during an outbreak, there are several over-the-counter and prescription remedies you can use to ease the discomfort and speed up healing. Certain mouthwashes and ointments may assist in decreasing the pain, but they only provide limited relief. Your best bet for battling canker sores is to avoid the possible causes, including limiting acidic foods and practicing excellent oral hygiene.
If you experience extreme pain, large mouth ulcers or several canker sores at once, you may want to get your condition checked out. Oral lesions that continuously reoccur or last more than three weeks should be checked by a professional. A dentist can prescribe medications to control the pain and help you determine the possible causes. In extreme cases, a dentist may also test the area to rule out other diseases, such as oral cancer.