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Today in Health & Wellness

Canker Sore

Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult

Common Name/Other Name 

Singaw (Fil.); aphthous ulcer

Canker sores are small, painful ulcers on the inside of the mouth, tongue, lips or throat. It can often make eating and talking uncomfortable and difficult. It is often mistaken as synonymous with cold sores, but unlike cold sores, canker sores appear on soft tissues inside the mouth and are not contagious. Pain often goes away in 7 to 10 days but it can take 1 to 3 weeks for a canker sore to completely heal.

A canker sore can be simple or complex. Simple canker sores appear three or four times a year and can last up to a week. It can appear in people aged 10 to 20. Complex canker sores are less common and develop in people who have had it before.

  • Small or tiny white or yellow oval-shaped ulcer
  • Tingling sensation in the mouth
  • Painful red area in the mouth

Less common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • General discomfort or uneasiness
Risk Factors
  • Oral trauma
  • Hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Heredity
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiency such as iron, folic acid or vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Food allergies
  • Viral infection Helicobacter pylori and AIDS virus have been associated with canker sores
  • Kinds of toothpaste and mouth rinses containing sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Weak immune system
Commonly Prescribed Drugs

Treatment is usually not necessary for minor cancer sores which clear on their own in a week or two but there are treatment options for managing the pain and inflammation:

  • Mouth rinses containing dexamethasone or chlorhexidine reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Topical pain medications with benzocaine, lidocaine, and hydrogen peroxide may help relieve pain and speed healing if applied to canker sores as soon as they appear.
Treatment and Management
  • Rinse your mouth using salt water or baking soda. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 cup of warm water.
  • Avoid acidic and/or spicy, or abrasive foods that can cause further irritation and pain.
  • Apply ice to your canker sores to relieve pain.
  • Eat plain yogurt. The live cultures in the yogurt help restore a healthy balance in the bacteria in your mouth which may contribute to or cause the canker sore.
When to See a Doctor
  • Unusually large canker sores
  • Recurring sores, with new ones developing before old ones heal
  • Canker sores lasting two weeks or more
  • Uncontrollable pain
  • Canker sores accompanied by high fever
Home Remedies
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