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What do you do when you start to get a tingling or burning in your mouth, and two or three days later your mouth has small, painful sores that hurt when you eat or drink? You may be experiencing “aphthous ulcers”, commonly known as canker sores. Canker sores are generally pale and surrounded by a red outer ring. They might show up as a single sore or a group on the inside of the mouth (near the lips, cheeks, tongue, gums and palate). They usually disappear within a few days or weeks and are not contagious.

While there really isn’t anything you can do to prevent canker sores, you can find relief for their symptoms:

–Stick with plain, bland, non-spicy foods.
–Rinse your mouth with warm water often.
–For severe symptoms, use a prescribed mouth rinse with steroid dexamethasone.
–Use over-the-counter creams or ointments on the sores.
–Large sores can be treated with steroid creams prescribed by your doctor.

While canker sores can run in families and are more prevalent in women than in men, it is thought that multiple factors contribute to their outbreak. Once they form, they can cause discomfort for 3-10 days, but normally go away on their own after a couple of weeks. While no one knows exactly why they show up, researchers think it is combination of factors, even in the same person:

–A vitamin or mineral deficiency (folate, iron, vitamin B-12, zinc).
–Minor injury to your mouth (dental work, brushing too hard, biting the cheek).
–A compromised immune system (cold or flu, HIV/AIDS).
–Using toothpastes or mouthwashes with sodium lauryl sulfate.
–Food sensitivities (eggs, nuts, cheese, chocolate, coffee, strawberries, spicy or acidic foods).
–Emotional stress and hormonal changes.
–Allergic reaction to certain bacteria in the mouth.

While you can find relief on your own for canker sore eruptions, you should see your dentist if you are getting more sores than you have before, or having them more often. Also, if your canker sores are large, and if you are experiencing symptoms like rashes, fever, diarrhea or joint pain along with their outbreak, see your dentist. If you have a vitamin and mineral deficiency, you may be prescribed vitamin B-6, B-12, folate, iron, or zinc to help boost immunity.

Please give our team at Tatum & Cox a call if you have any questions or concerns at 334-745-6393 today!