Canker sores can be really annoying for the 20% of Americans that get them (some even living in Hendricks County)! If you’ve never experienced a canker sore, it’s a small, shallow aphthous ulcer found inside your mouth. Canker sores can make eating and talking really uncomfortable.
No one really knows what causes canker sores – not even doctors or dentists like Dr. Jon Erickson at Danville Family Dentistry in Hendricks County. But it’s speculated that canker sores are caused by:

  • Stress
  • Irritation from brushing your teeth too roughly, braces, ill-fitting dentures or biting the inside of your mouth
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Impaired immune system
  • Acidic fruits and vegetables like oranges, pineapples and tomatoes
  • Food allergies
  • Nutritional and/or vitamin deficiencies
  • Hormonal changes
  • Gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn’s Disease and Celiac Disease

There are two types of canker sores:

  1. Simple canker sores last 7 to 10 days, can occur 3 to 4 times a year and typically develop in people between the ages of 10 and 20.
  2. Complex canker sores are rare, but people who have had simple canker sores are more prone to developing them.

Canker sores are often round, white, yellow or gray in color, and surrounded by a bright red border. They can develop on your tongue, cheeks or back portion of the roof of your mouth.
Generally, canker sores become less painful after a few days and go away on their own. But there are few things you can do to reduce their pain and prevent you from getting them in the first place.

  • Rinse your mouth with baking soda or salt water.
  • Apply a half-and-half mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water directly to the sore with a cotton swab. Dab a small amount of Milk of Magnesia on the canker sore immediately afterward. Repeat these steps 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Apply over-the-counter ointments for toothaches to the sore.
  • Regularly use an antiseptic mouth rinse.
  • Take vitamin B12 daily to reduce canker sore frequency and duration.
  • Find ways to reduce your stress such as exercise and meditation.
  • Avoid acidic, hot or spicy foods that can trigger a canker sore or irritate an existing one.

Contact Danville Family Dentistry in Hendricks County if:

  • Your canker sore doesn’t go away after 2 weeks
  • You develop a fever or have difficulty swallowing
  • You have canker sores more than 3 times a year

Dr. Erickson may prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse or a corticosteroid ointment to help relieve your pain and speed healing.