Canker sores can be so painful to the point of distracting you from your daily activities! If you’re dealing with canker sores at the moment, here are seven important facts you should learn while you’re on the mend.
1. How common are canker sores?
You may be surprised to learn that 20% of the population actually gets canker sores, according to the International association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. These ulcerated legions or sores are quite painful, and can make it difficult to speak or chew your food.
2. What do canker sores look like?
You’ll most frequently find these sores on the inner surfaces of your cheeks and lips, as well as your tongue, gums, and even the roof of your mouth. There are three different types of canker sores—minor, major, and herpetiform. The most common type of canker sore is the minor type, which is small and round with a white or yellow center and red outline. Major canker sores, on the other hand, are larger and deeper. They also have irregular edges. Finally, the herpetiform canker sores are irregularly shaped and small. They also occur in clusters—sometimes up to 100 of them!
3. What causes a canker sore?
There are a multitude of potential causes for your canker sores. For example, you could have injured the tissue when brushing your teeth, playing sports, or even accidentally biting your cheek. Hormonal changes (like during menstruation) can also cause these painful sores. Sensitivities to certain foods (like spicy or acidic foods) or a lack of nutrients can lead to these sores, as well as a deficiency in your immune system.
4. Are they contagious?
No, canker sores are not contagious. Despite the common misconception, canker sores are not spurred on by the herpes virus—which is at least one less thing to worry about!
5. How long will it take to heal?
Canker sores can be quite painful within the first few days. Thankfully, the pain lessens during the healing process, which can take about two weeks for the minor or herpiteform types. Major canker sores, however, can last several weeks or even several months—often leading to scarring.
6. How can I facilitate the healing process?
To help your canker sore heal, be sure to avoid foods or beverages that can cause irritation, such as spicy or acidic foods and alcohol. You should also make sure to maintain your dental hygiene routine and keep your mouth clean throughout the healing process.
7. When should I visit the dentist?
Has your canker sore lasted longer than two weeks? Do you keep getting new sores before the old ones have healed? Do you have large recurring canker sores? If so, it is important to visit your dentist for a diagnosis. These are not always canker sores and could be indicative of a more serious issue.
If you’ve been dealing with your canker sore for a very long time, it could be time to visit the dentist. Call Caputo Dental in Naperville today to schedule an appointment.