Canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are small uclers in the mouth that can cause pain when eating or drinking. Unlike cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus, canker sores do not occur on the surface of your lips and are not contagious. Canker sores typically occur in people ages 10 to 20 and generally last for 7 to 10 days.
What Causes Canker Sores?
The exact cause of canker sores is still unknown but is thought to be a combination of different factors. Some of the most common factors thought to lead to canker sores include:
- Trauma to the tissues of the mouth from biting, overzealous brushing, dental work, or eating
- Acid foods
- Toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate
- Allergies to ingredients in foods or drinks
The continuous development of cold sores can also indicate underlying health issues such as:
- Impaired immune system
- Gastrointestinal disorders such as Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis
- Diet lacking vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid, or iron
How Can Canker Sores Be Treated?
Most canker sores are self-limiting and will clear up on their own in 7 to 10 days. Steroid-containing mouth rinses can sometimes be used to help reduce the frequency or duration of the sores. Also, different topical pastes can be applied to the sores to reduce the pain and discomfort. Less frequently, oral steroids can be used to treat persistent sores as a last resort.
Lasers to Treat Canker Sores
At Gallery Park Dental in Glenview, our dentists use a soft tissue laser to treat canker sores. Recent studies have shown treatment of canker sores using lasers can reduce the pain intensity and decrease overall healing time.
Soft tissue lasers decrease pain intensity by modifying the nerve conduction within the sores. Also, lasers help stimulate cells to enhance wound healing and decrease the duration of the sore.
If you are constantly getting painful canker sores, please see the Glenview dentists at Gallery Park Dental today!