What is a canker sore?

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A canker sore is a very painful sore inside the mouth. It is also known as an aphthous ulcer (or just a plain mouth ulcer in some countries, such as the UK). As anybody who has ever suffered through them can attest, they can be very irritating and painful and depedning on where exactly it is located can make swallowing or eating painful. Canker sores are suffered by over 80% of the population at some point in their life and many people have them recurring often. In fact 10% of the US population has recurring canker sores – many of which find that there family has a history of them. They are most commonly found on the gum – usually just behind either the top lip or the bottom.


For such an annoying, painful and frequent condition it is incredible that so little is actually known about them. We will go into some details of possible causes and treatments soon, but both can vary depending on the person. There is really no known reason that a person might develop ulcers or have them recurring (except for them being hereditary).


If you a regular sufferer of canker sores the first thing to do is try and prevent them from occurring. This is of course is very difficult without knowning the causes of canker sores. The fact the the causes might be different for you than for anybody elese does not help of course, as the way somebody else has elimintated them might not work for you! So how do we go about eliminating canker sores? I have found that most people get canker sores from either a diet related condition or stress/lack of sleep. The best way to find out how you get canker sores is to keep a diary of your day as far as sleep patterns, stressful days and the food you eat goes. Very soon you might find a pattern emerge and it might be that lots of late nights result in a sore appearing either the next day or perhaps even a few days later (which is why it has been so hard to identify your cause!). You might find it is a result of being very busy with your studying or at work.


If it is not a sleep or a diet related condition it might well be related to foods you are eating. I have had a couple of friends who have found that lowering that salt and sugar levels has completely stopped their ulcers appearing. It is very much worth keeping not of what kind of foods you eat – too much fruit might cause them, not enough fruit might cause them. You will really have to do some hard work to determine why you are getting them.


Treatments for canker sores varies and just because one treatment works for somebody, don’t expect it to work for you. However, aesthetics such as paracetamol can at least numb the pain and make the ulcer more bearable. There are specialised anethtics that are meant just for ulcers and you can rub them on to the inflamed area. These are very good and numbing hte pain and allowing you to eat as you otherwise would.


A canker sore usually last around a week to two weeks, but they can last three or four. If you have an ulcer last any longer than four weeks it is time to go see the doctor so that they can make sure it is nothing more serious.

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