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What are canker sores? What are some solutions to remedy them?

Canker Sores

By Dr. Gregg M. Festa, DDS

Canker sores, also known as Aphthous Ulcers, are the most common mouth ulcer and are seen in my dentist office frequently.

The cause of canker sores is unknown yet there are many factors related to why we get them:

  1. Trauma of the mouth or stress can cause canker sores. For example, if you are eating something and it scrapes the inside of your mouth, this has the potential to turn into a canker sore.
  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a common ingredient in toothpaste and it’s actually what causes your toothpaste to foam. Some people that use toothpaste that includes Sodium Lauryl Sulfate are more likely to get canker sores than if they use a toothpaste that doesn’t include this ingredient.
  3. Dietary reasons can also impact your likelihood of getting canker sores. If you eat a lot of chocolate or nuts, you have a higher chance of getting sores.

Solutions to remedy canker sores at home include:

  1. Swish and rinse your mouth 2-3 times a day with a mix of half hydrogen peroxide and half water.
  2. Swish and rinse your mouth 2-3 times a day with warm salt water.
  3. Swish and rinse your mouth 2-3 times a day with liquid Benadryl and Maalox.

These options can help with reducing the pain that comes with having canker sores and offer healing solutions as well.  

Solutions to heal canker sores at the dentist office:

If a patient comes into my dentist office with canker sores, the I can prescribe them a topical steroid. The patient will dab the infected area with this oral paste for a week until their canker sores go away.

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