Canker sores, also known as Apthous ulcers, are painful little ulcers with a red border that can form anywhere inside the mouth. These are shallow lesions that can appear singly or in small groups and are formed because of soft tissue injury or stres
Canker sores, also known as Apthous ulcers, are painful little ulcers with a red border that can form anywhere inside the mouth. These are shallow lesions that can appear singly or in small groups and are formed because of soft tissue injury or stress. They are usually white or yellow in color and are often very tender. Canker sores can affect anyone at any age. In most cases, home treatment for canker sores helps reduce the pain and the sore generally heals within several weeks.
Who gets them?
Canker sores are one of the most common oral conditions. Anyone can get a canker sore but they are more common in women, teenagers, and those in their twenties. If your parents have canker sores you are more likely to suffer from them. Similarly, female sex hormones apparently play a role in causing canker sores. Many women only have bouts of canker sores during certain phases of their menstrual cycles. The majority of women, in addition, experience improvement or remission of their canker sores during pregnancy.
Where do they form?
Canker sores can appear on the inside of the cheeks, on the inside of the lips, at the base of the gums, on the soft palate, or under the tongue.
What are the different types?
They have been broken down into 3 types: minor, major, and herpetiform.
1- Minor: These account for about 80% of canker sores. These are the sores that are commonly referred to as "cankers". They are 3-10 mm in diameter and heal without scaring in 7 to 14 days.
2- Major: These account for about 10%. This condition is also referred as Sutton's disease. They are 10-30 mm in diameter. They generally take 2 to 6 weeks to heal and at times may last for several months. These can heal with scaring. Major aphthous ulcers often begin at the onset of puberty.
3- Herpetiform: These account for the remaining 10%. These usually present as small pinhead ulcerations numbering from 10 to 150. These small ulcerations can coalesce into larger irregular ulcerations. These ulcerations last from 7 to 14 days. They are more common in women and are more commonly located in the posterior region of the mouth. They are commonly confused with the oral herpes virus lesions.
What causes them?
Though it's not known exactly what causes them, they are thought to be triggered by stress, mouth injury, nutritional deficiencies, menstruation and genetic factors. In addition, dehydration, and viruses are also the culprits behind the breakouts. For most people, however, it seems to be caused by an irritation of some sort from something overly acidic, salty or minty (such as toothpaste).
Similarly, eating hard or crunchy food also increases the risk. Food allergies, allergies in general, dental work needing repair, end of menstrual cycle, taking antibiotics or too much acidity in your body, all are considered among the common risk factors associated with this particular tongue ailment.
According to some studies, lack of vitamin B12, zinc, magnesium, and folic acid also might lead to canker sores in the mouth. A recent study suggests that a nightly dose of vitamin B12 could help prevent these painful oral sores.
How would you know if you have canker sores? (Signs & symptoms)
- Burning and tingling sensation in the mouth
- Painful, craterlike red sores in the mouth or tongue
- These mouth sores often affect the sufferers face in many annoying ways such as making the face swell and distorting the appearance.
- In some cases, they can also cause loss of appetite.