What are Canker Sores? 

what are canker sores

A Canker sore is a small shallow wound that creates on the delicate tissues in your mouth. The medical term of canker sore is aphthous ulcers. So, what are canker sores actually? It looks like a white or yellowish sore which is covered by redness. They are very painful and make eating or talking awkward. Usually, they are tiny, like less than 1mm. But canker sore can expand to 1 inch in diameter.

Most canker sores disappear all alone in a week or two. If you have a huge and painful sore that doesn’t heal in two weeks, you should go to the doctor. There are different canker sores like minor canker sores, complex canker sores, Herpetiform canker sores, etc. 

What are Canker Sores Minors?

These may appear 3-4 times a year. Usually, it happens in individuals matured 10-20 years old. And last up to a week. This type of sore is generally small. However, it heals without scarring in one to two weeks. 

Complex canker sores 

These are more uncommon and frequently happens in individuals who have recently had them. It is more extensive and more in-depth. And it can be extremely painful. These may last for one month and leave a blemish. However, complex Canker sores occur for a compromised immune system, vitamin insufficiency, Crohn’s disease, etc.

Herpetiform canker sores 

This type of sores are unusual and grow up later in the lifespan. These are very small in size. Therefore, it occurs 10 to 100 sores in a row. But later, it may be united into a big ulcer. However, it heals without scarring in two weeks. 


What are Canker Sores Causes?

It’s still unknown that what are the leading causes of canker sores. However, the scientist doubts that a sequence of factors contributes to outbreaks, even in the same individual. Although, some factors are known to be involved. 


Possible causes for canker sores include


  • Food sensibility, especially to chocolate, coffee, eggs, nuts, spicy or acidic foods, cheese, etc. 
  • A significant wound to your mouth from an accident or excessive brushing, dental work, etc. 
  • A diet shortage of Vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron. 
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen
  • An allergic response to something in your food or your toothpaste or mouthwash.
  • Emotional Stress
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal change

Canker Sores may also happen due to specific conditions and diseases. For example: 

  • Behcet’s disease, a rare disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation throughout your body, including the mouth. 
  • Celiac disease is an immune disorder in which you can’t eat gluten because it will damage your small intestine. 
  • A defective immune system attacks solid cells in your mouth rather than pathogens, for example, viruses and bacteria. 
  • AIDS/HIV, which compress the immune system. 

What are Canker Sores Symptoms?

Canker sore is usually painful inside the mouth. It can develop on the tongue, gums, the inside of the lips, the lining of the cheeks, or the soft palate on the back of the roof of your mouth. If you have the following symptoms, then you may have a canker sore.

  • The wounds in your mouth that are round, white, or gray, with a red edge or border 
  • Difficulty while speaking, eating, or swallowing will show up. 
  • You will explore a tingling or burning sensation before the sore appears.
  • Extreme pain will be there when a sore is growing up. 
  • The sore will grow up inside your mouth: on your tongue, the back portion of the roof of your mouth, or inside your cheeks. 

Canker Sore may also cause:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • You will get a fever after a canker sore is developed.
  • The energy level of your body will decrease.
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue. You will feel tiredness or sleepiness without doing anything.
  • Thrush disease in your mouth or throat

What are Canker Sores Preventions?

In most cases, a canker sore heals automatically. And there is nothing specific you should do to prevent this because it heals on its own. However, home remedies can help you to relieve the pain and burning of a canker sore. Infection frequently repeat, yet you might have the option to lessen their recurrence by following these tips: 

  • Put some ice cubes on the sore from dissolving slowly in your mouth for relieving pain. Ice will slowly compress the pain, and it will give you adequate relief. 
  • Do some topical medications and apply directly to the sore. You can do some hubble bubble with mouthwash. The alcohol contains in the mouthwash can dissolve the sore. And oral medications can relieve pain or burning. 
  • If you have vitamin insufficiency, then first go to the doctor. If you already did, then take the supplementation as prescribed. But don’t do anything on your own that is not specified. 
  • You have to avoid acidic foods. For example, lemons, limes, grapefruit, orange, and tomato-based food. Also, you have to avoid spicy foods that may aggravate the store. 
  • Use a brush which bristle is soft. And brush the teeth gently. Also, do not give an extreme pressure. It can damage your teeth gum. 
  • Avoid toothpaste or mouthwash, which contains sodium lauryl sulfate. Always buy toothpaste or mouthwash that doesn’t have any lauryl sulfate. It will create a chemical reaction on the canker sore. 

There are some homemade and natural cures you can give it a try:

  • You can use a homemade mouth rinse. All you have to do is mix milk of magnesia with Benadryl liquid, and it’s ready to go. You can also wipe the area of the canker sore with milk of magnesia. 
  • You can increase the speed of healing with the herb echinacea. 
  • Topical products like medicated gels, creams, pastes, and liquids rush on the sore.
  • Carrot, celery, and cantaloupe juices will also be helpful to you. 
  • Zinc lozenges can be helpful to provide relief and speeding the time of healing. 
  •  You can make mouth rinses. Mix salt or baking soda in warm water, and swish it around your mouth.
  • Other homemade remedies include goldenseal mouth rinse. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice gargled in warm water and saltwater rinse. 

What is Canker Sores Diagnosis?

A canker sore is not a thing to panic about. To diagnose a canker sore, tests are not needed. Your health specialist or dentist can easily recognize them with a visual exam. However, in some cases, you may have to test if you have other health problems, mainly if your canker sores are extreme and progressing. 

However, visit your dentist if you have:

  • Sores that last longer than three weeks. 
  • Uncommonly large canker sores
  • Sores that are spreading
  • Unbearable pain despite avoiding spicy and citric foods and taking over the counter pain medication. 
  • Trouble drinking water
  • Getting fever with canker sores.

Your dentist or doctor can make a diagnosis based on a physical exam and your medical history. However, they can test your blood to see whether a vitamin insufficiency or another health condition is causing the sores. 

What are Canker Sores Treatments?

Pain from a canker sore should get better in a few days. And without treatment, the sore will heal in about a week or two. Treatment usually isn’t necessary for minor canker sores. Because it will clear on their own in two weeks. But large, persistent, or unusually painful sores often need medical care. Several treatment options exist. There are some treatments for large, long-lasting, or unusual painful sores. For example:

  • Oral Medication. The ulcer drug sucralfate (Carafate) and the gout drug colchicine (Mitigare) can also cure canker sores. Or your dentist can give you steroid pills.
  • Mouthwash. Your dentist or doctor can prescribe you medicine that has steroids or a painkiller. 
  • Nutritional Supplements. If your canker sore is causing the nutrient deficiency, you might need these. 
  • Cautery. Dental lasers can help you feel better immediately. Your dentist or doctor can also treat sores with chemicals like silver nitrate.


How Can You Get Rid of a Canker Sore Overnight?

Different types of home remedies can speed up the healing process of the sore. There can be some methods which don’t suit your body. So, it would be better if you consult with your doctor before beginning. 

  1. Saltwater Rinse: Rinsing the mouth with salt water is a traditional way to prevent a sore. If you rinse the mouth, it will dry out the canker sore. 

First of all, mix one teaspoon of salt with ½ cup of warm water. Then hubble bubble this water in your mouth for about 15 to 30 seconds. Then throw away. Repeat for 3-5 times. 

  1. Alum Powder: Potassium aluminum sulfate contains in the alum powder is often used to preserve foods. Alum has astringent properties that may help shrink tissues and dry out canker sores. 

Firstly make a paste with a small amount of alum powder with a drop of water. Now coat the paste on your sore. Leave on for at least one minute. Now wash your mouth. Repeat the process until the sore is gone. 

  1. Baking Soda Rinse: Baking soda restores the pH balance and reduces inflammation. Which should also heal the canker sour. 

Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with ½ cup of water. Now goggle this mixture in your mouth for about 15-30 seconds. Then spit it out. Repeat this every few hours. 

Although shallowing baking soda won’t harm you, but it’s safer to avoid it. 

  1. Sage tea: Sage tea has been used from ancient times to cure the mouth of inflammation. Sage mouthwash works as a standard mouth rinse for several oral problems. It contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent properties. So, It should also help relieve pain. To make your sage rinse:  


Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh sage leaves with boiling water.

Leave it for at least 5 minutes. 

Now squeeze the leaves and let the solution cool. 

Whisper the rinse around your mouth for a couple of minutes. 

Then you can swallow the rinse or spit it out. It won’t affect your body.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Can you pop a Canker Sore?

No, you can’t pop a canker sore. They are note pimples or blisters. They are skin-deep wound. Canker sores cannot be poped as there is nothing to squeeze out. If you try to pop it out, it would be extremely painful. 

Are Canker Sore Contagious? 

No, canker sores are not contagious. It will not spread if you share your food, utensils, drinks with someone. Even though canker sores and cold sores can have the same triggers, canker sores are not contagious. Unlike a cold sore, there is no person-to-person spread.

Do Canker Sores Burst?

Yes. Canker sores burst. But unlike pimples, it pops differently. When canker sores grow up in your mouth, they may tingle before they emerge. Subsequently, the wound will be surrounded with red edges or borders. After that, the sore will burst. 

How long do canker sores last?


Canker sores are enlarged and painful. Having a canker sore can make it hard to talk or eat. Canker sores can hurt you for 7 to 10 days. Minor canker sores heal completely in 1 to 3 weeks. But major canker sores can last up to 6 weeks to heal.


What If You Get Recurrent or Chronic Canker Sores? 


If you suffer from constant canker sores, then there can be another medical reason for that. Visit a healthcare professional or dentist if you face repeated canker sores. 

However, if you have diseases that affect the immune system like HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Lupus, etc., it may cause frequent canker sores. Doctors can give you some tests to identify any medical reason for your frequent canker sores. However, we hope that we are able to teach you that what are canker sores. 


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