Canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are annoying sores in the mouth that plague some people often and never seem to happen to others. Just another unjust reality, I know. They arrive on the inside of your cheeks, inside of your lips or at the base of your gums. Sometimes they have definite causes, but they can pop up without any good reason at all.
An aphthous ulcer starts as a red, tender bump that opens into a open sore with a yellow or white base. Some of the most common causes of canker sores are trauma (biting your cheek, burning your mouth), recent illness, and for some women, menstrual cycles. Stress can also lead to one of these buggers. Stress lowers your immune system defense, allowing a sore to pop up in your mouth. Food sensitivities can be a trigger. Cinnamon gum, citrus fruits or other acidic foods like tomatoes are a few culprits I’ve seen. They are also known to run in some families, so you might ask your siblings or parents if they get them too.
The ulcer will heal over in one to three weeks, but they aren’t pleasant so treatment is often desired. There is no cure, but certain things may speed up the healing process or make it less uncomfortable. A numbing gel like Orabase can be applied throughout the day. Colgate makes a mouth cleanser called Peroxyl which may speed up healing while keeping the area clean. If they are problematic, you might need to see your doctor for a prescription steroid gel.
Not every sore in the mouth is a canker sore. If the sore is partly on your lips or skin around your mouth it could be oral herpes. Other irritations in the mouth can be due to infection or even cancer, so do not ignore any persistent spot or sore in your mouth.