What are Canker Sores?
Definition of Canker sores: Small ulcers or lesions, usually shallow, on the base of the gums or soft tissue inside the mouth. Canker sores can affect anyone, though they are most common among those age 10 to 40, and women are afflicted more frequently. Below is a brief overview of the causes, symptoms and treatments, plus links to more information.
What Causes Canker Sores? Unclear, but scientists think food sensitivities may sometimes play a role, especially acidic foods. Could also be allergic response to bacteria, which are frequently found in canker sores. Can also be due to minor injury from tooth brushing, or stress. Some diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and AIDS, can cause them. Also lack of vitamins, including B-12 of folic acid, may contribute, as well as menstrual periods and hormone changes.
Are Canker Sores Contagious? No.
Medical Term: Aphthous ulcers.
Signs & Symptoms: Stinging or burning from round or oval sores, typically white or yellow with red around the edges.
Treatment & Remedies: Typically heal within two weeks and no treatment is necessary. Over-the-counter medicines designed to apply directly to the sore can ease the pain. Avoiding spicy foods may help.
- Canker sores are not related to cold sores.
- Canker sores do not cause cancer.
- They may run in the family.
- If large or persistent or accompanied by fever, see a doctor.
Sources and More Information:
Encylopedia of Medicine (American Medical Association)
This information is not meant to provide specific medical advice. It is for educational purposes only. We recommend you consult a qualified health care professional for diagnoses and treatment advice, and call 9-1-1 in emergencies.
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