Canker Sores - Experience

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What are canker sores?

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers or aphthous stomatitis) are small, painful ulcers inside the mouth. They may occur on the tongue and on the inside linings of the cheeks, lips, and throat. They usually appear white, gray, or yellow in color, with a red border.

Canker sores are the most common type of oral lesion, affecting about 20% of people. Women get canker sores more often than men. Canker sore susceptibility may be inherited, and the condition can run in families.

Canker sores are not the same as cold sores (fever blisters), which are an infection caused by the herpes virus and are contagious. Canker sores are not contagious and are categorized into three types:

  1. Minor sores measure from 3 to 10 millimeters (mm) and are the most common type of canker sore. Lesions last 10 to 14 days and heal without scarring.
  2. Major sores are larger and deeper than minor sores, have an irregular border and a diameter of greater than 10 mm. Major canker sores may take weeks to months to heal and can leave a scar after healing.
  3. Herpetiform sores are characterized by large groups of multiple sores. These are small ulcers (2-3 mm) but there may be as many as 100 ulcers present at the same time. They tend to heal without scarring.
Picture of a canker sore (aphthous ulcer)
Picture of a canker sore (aphthous ulcer)
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See what others are saying

Comment from: Rashid, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: January 14

I've recently found a solution for aphthous ulcer (canker sores). At least it works for me. I mixed salt in drinking water (it should be very salty) and then gargle with it. You have to do it at the very early stage of the ulcer, or it might not be helpful later. And try to gargle in the night just before you go to sleep and don't eat or drink anything after the gargle till the morning. So the salty taste remains. That's why I choose to do it just before go to sleep. Do this for 2 to 3 days in a row. I've tried it every time when the ulcer attacks, and it's working so far. I'll be happy if this could help anyone to lessen the pain of aphthous ulcer.

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Comment from: katy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

I started getting canker sores when I started a new medication. My dentist said my pH changed in my mouth after taking the new medicines. He told me to rinse my mouth twice daily with baking soda and water; about a teaspoon per half cup of warm water. I have not had one since. I do it every morning after I brush my teeth and every evening after I brush my teeth.

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