Dental Tips Blog


Canker Sores – Why They Happen and How to Treat Them

Posted in Laser Dentistry

You usually don’t notice it until you take a refreshing swig of icy lemonade. Or it may be right as you chomp into Nana’s famous spaghetti and meatballs. Whatever the occasion, the pain is recognizable beyond a doubt: the acid zing of an angry canker sore.

Why oh why do these small little lesions cause so much pain?

Causes of Canker Sores

When it comes down to it, no one really knows exactly what causes these sores. People may experience them for different reasons such as:

  • Exposure to spicy or acidic foods
  • Stress
  • Hormones
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Injury
  • Irritation from a sharp dental appliance
  • Underlying medical conditions

When to Seek Help for a Canker Sore

Recognizable as a crater-like ulcer with a pale center and red border, a canker sore usually resolves on its own within a week.

You can often dull the pain and speed up recovery by:

  • Avoiding spicy and acidic foods
  • Taking a pain killer
  • Rinsing your mouth with water after eating
  • Applying a topical benzocaine gel like Orajel
  • Cutting out toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate (some people are allergic)

But what if your sore gets bigger or more show up?

If your sore starts to spread, it’s time to see your dentist. Some canker sores, while not serious, can be extremely painful and make it impossible to eat or talk normally. Your dentist may be able to treat the spot with laser therapy.

You should especially plan a visit to your doctor if a sore is accompanied by a fever or results in dehydration. It could indicate that you have something more serious going on.

Contact your general dentist for more tips on getting relief from these painful ulcers.

Posted on behalf of :
Prime Dental Care
417 Wall St
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 651-8618


Why am I Getting Canker Sores?

Canker sores are no fun! They can be quite painful and they come in all shapes and sizes. They are considered a small ulcer in your mouth that hurt when eating, drinking, or even talking.

Are you aware that one in five people will have a canker sore flare up? It’s true – 20 percent of the population suffers with canker sores. So if you are one of them you are not alone! Most people wonder, “Why do I get canker sores?” And to be quite honest, most doctors are not sure exactly why.

What dentists will tell you is that they know of triggers for canker sores. Some of the most common triggers include, but are not limited to:

  • Stress – high stress environments, situations, etc.
  • An injury – either from accidently biting, braces or being hit
  • Eating acidic foods or drinks – oranges, coffee, tomato, etc.
  • A weakened immune system – either because you are sick or you have poor nutrition habits
  • Gastrointestinal diseases – heartburn, acid reflux, etc.

What can you do? Well, here’s the best news – most canker sores will heal themselves in 7-10 days. If your canker sore has not healed or it is causing you a lot of pain, then schedule an appointment to see your Alpharetta dentist. There isn’t a cure for canker sores but you can reduce their occurrence. You can do that by always brushing, flossing, and having good nutrition. Also, make sure you keep routine dental appointments; your dentist can always keep an eye out for problem areas!

Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental



Common Causes of Canker Sores

Posted in Laser Dentistry

Ulcers and canker sores are usually very uncomfortable, and can take several days for them to heal themselves. Although some people only get them from time to time, other people get them on a more regular basis. It’s important to understand risk factors and causes that may result in a higher rate of canker sores for some people.

Increased sun exposure, stressful conditions, or recent illness can weaken the immune system and cause people to be more susceptible to developing ulcers, cold sores, and canker sores. Obviously stress isn’t always avoidable, but if it’s a chronic problem then some lifestyle changes may be needed.

Foods that are acidic, such as tomatoes make some people’s oral tissues irritated and develop sores. If you currently deal with heartburn, you may need to be seeing a doctor to alleviate the additional acid that is making its way up to your mouth.

Braces and orthodontic appliances are often known for causing irritation from rubbing the inside of the lips and cheeks. Using orthodontic wax or having minor adjustments made can protect the tissues that repeatedly become irritated in specific areas.

Believe it or not, many dentists are now providing a fast, effective laser dentistry treatment for tissue irritations like ulcers, canker sores, and cold sores with soft tissue laser therapy. These lasers halt the ulcer formation instantly, and in just a few seconds result in alleviated pain. The sore then heals extremely quickly, and the patient’s discomfort is completely reversed. The treatment just takes a few seconds, and can be integrated into any visit that is already scheduled at the office. Or, just feel free to call your dentist to see if you can be worked in for a quick 5-minute visit!

Posted on behalf of Dr. Joyce Ma, Prime Dental Care



What Causes Canker Sores?

Posted in Oral Cancer

All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, you feel a bump on the inside of your cheek or on your tongue. It stings and hurts even more when you eat or drink something. It’s a canker sore and there is nothing you can do about it until it just goes away on its own.

Or is there?

Canker sores, also called mouth ulcers, are yellow or white spots encircled in red. They usually last for about a week and then disappear, sometimes reappearing two or three times a year. They most often occur in pre-teens and adolescents, but sometimes adults get them, too.

No one knows specifically what causes canker sores, but they appear to be related to:

  • An injury to the mouth or bite
  • Eating acidic or highly salty food
  • Stress
  • Vitamin deficiency, such as insufficient B-12 or folic acid

Treatments can include rinsing the mouth with salt water or a mouth rinse prescribed by your dentist. In more severe cases, even stronger medication may be prescribed.

It’s important to note that in certain situations, you should contact your dentist. These include multiple sores or persistent sores lasting more than three weeks, a fever, excessive pain or extraordinarily large sores. It is quite possible that what you think is a canker sore might be something entirely different, such as oral cancer,  herpes or a drug allergy.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Mitul Patel 



What is a Canker Sore?

Posted in Laser Dentistry

There are many different types of mouth sores, and many of us have had a mouth sore at one point in our life.  This article will talk about canker sores, and common ways to treat a canker sore.

A canker sore is a small ulcer in your mouth.  Canker sores almost always have white or pearl colored center, and are red around the edges.  Canker sores appear inside the mouth, and are almost always found on the inside of the lips and on the linings of the cheek.  Occasionally, you may get a canker sore on your tongue.

Canker sores are not contagious, but you may find that you are susceptible to canker sores. This means you end up with canker sores over and over again.  This happens frequently during times of stress or illness.  Canker sores can appear alone, or there may be several sores in your mouth at once.

Canker sores can be incredibly painful.  If you have a canker sore, over the counter anesthetics may be used.  These topical anesthetics should be applied directly to the sore and surrounding area.  Follow the package directions carefully.  During the time that you have the canker sore, try to avoid foods that may irritate the sore.  Foods that commonly cause irritation include foods that are extremely hot or spicy, and foods that are very acidic (like fruit juices or tomato sauces).  Some people state that eating cool or cold foods helps decrease the pain.

It is possible to develop a secondary infection from the canker sore.  If you find that your sores are not healing, see your dentist.  Antibiotics may be prescribed to help any infections that may have developed.  Canker sores can also be treated with laser therapy.  If you find that your canker sores are interfering with your ability to eat or swallow, you should see your dentist or health care provider as soon as possible.

Posted on behalf of Prime Dental Care




Ulcers are frequently called canker sores or aphthous ulcers and they usually show up inside the lips, cheeks, on the sides of the tongue or in the floor of the mouth. Ulcers in the mouth are not uncommon, but for most people they usually do not occur on a very frequent basis.

Most of the time, ulcers are caused by irritation, stress, diet sensitivities, or existing medical conditions such as Celiac disease, leukemia or nutritional deficiencies. Food allergies to gluten or wheat, as well as IBS are frequently linked with ulcers. Sometimes ulcers seem to have no cause at all. Approximately only 10% of people that get ulcers have them occur on a frequent basis. If this is the case you should ask your dentist or medical provider about underlying systemic causes that may be to blame. Orthodontic patients may need to use wax on area of their braces that rub their cheeks or lips to prevent traumatic ulcers from occurring. Most of the time the skin will toughen up over time, eliminating the need for wax.

Home treatments are usually adequate for addressing discomfort from ulcers, and most ulcers heal within about 2 weeks. The use of aloe vera gel or applying essential oils to the area can speed up the healing process as well as reduce symptoms. Be sure to address any nutritional deficiencies as well, such as iron or vitamin B, and avoid trigger foods that may increase ulcers, like acidic fruit or wheat.

Aphthous ulcers are not related to cold sores, which are caused by a virus. They are not contagious and are typically much smaller than a cold sore.

Posted on behalf of North Point Periodontics



Mouth Sores

Mouth sores can be caused from many different things.  Often, these sores are a result of inadvertently biting your cheek or tongue or having a minor infection that will resolve on its own.

Other times, though, mouth sores are not quite as simple. Mouth sores can be caused from infections, viruses, or irritation. Only a comprehensive exam and diagnosis by your dentist can determine the cause of your mouth sores.

The two most common causes of mouth sores include canker and cold sores. The exact cause of canker sores is unknown, while cold sores are a virus that is part of the herpes simplex family.  Canker sores usually resolve on their own within one to two weeks, but can become so severe that it is difficult to eat or drink.  If you develop a canker sore that is accompanied by a fever, or if you have problems swallowing, you should be immediately seen by your dentist.

Cold sores are blisters that form in the mouth as a result of exposure from the herpes simplex virus. These blisters (sometimes called fever blisters or fever sores) respond well to medication.  Almost all adults have had at least one cold sore in their lifetime. Your dentist can prescribe medications to help prevent and speed the healing process of cold sores.

While waiting for your appointment, you should limit irritating foods. Many people find that acidic foods are very irritating when you have a mouth sore. You can also rinse with a mild antiseptic solution to help relieve pain.

Mouth sores that last more than a week should be evaluated by your dentist.  If you have a mouth sore that has been lingering, you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.

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