After visiting the doctor, your fear is confirmed: you have canker sores. Right now, you are probably wondering what they are, if they are contagious and how you can make them clear up as soon as possible. Fortunately, despite their painful nature, canker sores aren’t that serious and are not contagious. They are simply a small ulceration in your mouth. In most cases, they will heal on their own, however, there are ways to reduce the pain you experience and to speed up the healing process.
Canker Sores – What Are They?
Canker sores, also referred to as alphthous ulcers, are open sores inside of your mouth. They most commonly form on the inside of your cheek, on your tongue, on your soft palette and at the base of your gums. A white or yellow sore sits in the center of a red and swollen mound. Women develop canker sores more often than men, most likely because they experience more hormonal fluctuations than men.
Canker Sores – Common Treatments
In most cases, your doctor is not going to offer you any type of treatment for your canker sores. They will generally clear up within a week or two on their own. However, when the canker sores are severe, treatments are available. Canker sores that are larger than a centimeter in size are generally treated with tetracycline, which is an antibiotic. Children that don’t have all of their permanent teeth will not be given this treatment as it can have a negative effect on their developing tooth buds. For canker sore outbreaks that involve numerous canker sores, an anti-viral medication is usually prescribed such as acyclovir.
Cankers Sores – What Not to Do
Pain prevention is the goal you need to strive for after you have been diagnosed with canker sores. You won’t want to eat spicy foods when you have a canker sore. You also don’t want to traumatize the ulcer any further; avoid smoking, eating sharp or hard foods and brushing the area roughly.
Canker Sores – What to Do
Pain management and keeping your canker sores clean are two things you will want to learn about after you have been diagnosed with canker sores. Pain management can be accomplished by using over-the-counter NSAIDS and oral pain relievers. To keep your canker sores clean and to speed up their healing, you will want to swab the area with a hydrogen peroxide solution or a saline solution several times a day. To help relieve irritation and pain, you can also dab the area with a little milk of magnesia several times a day.