Most people think of their dentist as the person to see when they’re suffering from a toothache. But did you know that a dental professional can also help you to enjoy relief from canker sores? Make an appointment today if you need help dealing with this nagging ailment.
What Is a Canker Sore?
Canker sores are a form of ulcerated tissue. They affect up to 20% of the US population and come in two types: minor and major. A minor canker sore can last up to 10 days and is relatively small.
Major canker sores are relatively large, embed themselves into the surrounding skin, and can last up to six weeks. Both males and females may suffer from canker sores. However, the condition is more common among women and girls, due to hormonal factors.
Tips for Self-Care
Most cases of canker sore can be treated effectively at home. Here are some tips for enjoying a speedy recovery:
- Minimize the discomfort with over-the-counter analgesic creams designed especially for canker sore sufferers. You’ll find these at your local pharmacy.
- Apply either hydrogen peroxide diluted with water at 50% or a half teaspoon of salt and baking soda added to about four ounces of water. Apply this to the affected area four times a day.
- Use a paste made from baking soda and water to soothe canker sore discomfort while you’re healing.
- You should avoid using any medications that are not specifically formulated for canker sore treatment. However, an over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin may help to address general discomfort.
When to Seek Professional Help
If home remedies don’t resolve the situation, or if the canker sore lasts for an extended period of time, then the sufferer should see a dentist or other health professional right away. In some cases, ulcerated sores can be a sign of a serious condition.
Medical help for canker sores focuses on relieving the symptoms, removing the underlying cause, and preventing recurrence through nutritional supplements or other means.
- Symptom relief involves minimizing the pain through prescription creams, pastes or gels.
- Correcting the cause usually takes the form of prescription medications such as special mouthwashes, oral steroids, or, in some cases, cauterizing agents. Occasionally, the doctor may perform minor surgery to remove the sore.
- Preventing recurrence often putting involves nutritional supplement therapy to correct low levels of folate, niacin, or other B vitamins.
Here are some tips for getting the most benefit from the office visit:
- Make a list of any prescription medications you take and give these to the attending dentist or physician.
- Write down any questions you have about the condition so you can ask them during the appointment.
- Tell your healthcare provider about any symptoms you may be having, even if you don’t think they’re related to the canker sore.
- Tell the dentist or physician about any recent changes to your lifestyle, such as alterations to your diet.
Canker sores are an uncomfortable part of life for millions of Americans. But the tips in this post can help you to enjoy relief and prevent recurrence of the problem.
About the Author
Dr. Melanie White earned her DDS degree from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. She has practiced dentistry in Evansville since 2006. You can reach her office online or by calling (608) 882-4860.