What are Canker Sores?
Canker sores, also called aphthous stomatitis are small "ulcers" or lesions that occur in the soft tissue of the mouth. These small sores are white, yellow or grayish in color with a red border, and they tend to be most common on the inner surface of the cheeks, lips, tongue, soft palate, and the base of the gums.
Diagnosing Canker Sores
Although similar in appearance, canker sores are not the same as cold sores and are not caused by the Herpes simplex virus.
On the whole canker sores are usually harmless and they tend to disappear without treatment within 14 days. However, they can be quite pain and they tend to make eating somewhat uncomfortable or difficult.
Make sure that you seek a medical opinion should canker sores cause significant problems with eating, or if they become too large, or infected.
What causes Canker Sores?
In fact, canker sores are not at all contagious but are rather said to be caused by a problem with the immune system.
Canker sores can also be triggered by a number of factors such as emotional pain or stress, fatigue, physical injury to the mouth (often by biting the cheek, or from dental work), and dietary deficiencies (most commonly a lack of vitamin B12, iron and folic acid).
It is also fairly common to develop canker sores during hormonal changes such as menstruation and pregnancy and to have them co-occur with another viral or bacterial infection. While most people just develop the mouth ulcers, others may experience additional symptoms such as fatigue, swollen glands, and in rarer cases, a fever might be present.
Help for Canker Sores
Canker sores are vulnerable to infection by bacteria in the mouth so be sure to keep your mouth clean and fresh by gargling regularly with an antibacterial mouth wash or salt water.
Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice daily as this will reduce the chances of developing an infection. However, be sure to brush gently so that you do not further aggravate the canker sores.
Be sure to avoid hot and spicy foods as these will more than likely sting the affected areas.
Try sucking on ice chips or applying ice directly to affected areas for fast pain relief.
Add a dose of vitamin B12 to your daily supplements and make sure you are getting enough iron and folic acid.
More Information on Canker Sores
There are many effective natural ingredients which help to boost immune system functioning and provide relief from bothersome re-occurring canker sores.
One ingredient highly recommended for canker sores is Mercurius Solubilis which works effectively to support and promote the health of the mouth and throat. Other ingredients more specific to immune system functioning include Hypoxis Rooperi (extract of African Potato), Buchu and Astralagus.
These natural herbal ingredients have been used for centuries due to their tonic effect on promoting immune system health, and can used either as a preventative measure to avoid getting canker sores, or to help speed convalescence and healing.