how to treat canker sores

What Causes Canker Sores?

Canker sores are painful soft tissue lesions that can form on the insides of your lips and cheeks, as well as on your tongue or gums. They usually clear up after one or two weeks, but while they heal, you’ll need to keep your mouth clean. If you’re wondering how to treat canker sores, Sunrise Dental has a few tips. Read on to learn more about the causes of canker sores and how to treat them.

What Causes Canker Sores?

Minor Injuries

Most canker sores develop after a minor injury. An accidental cheek bite or a scratch from abrasive food can easily become infected and form a canker sore. Because canker sores are caused by a bacterial infection, a weakened immune system or autoimmune disorder could put you at higher risk. Loose or damaged fillings can also injure your mouth. If your cheeks or lips are getting scratched by dental work, contact Sunrise Dental right away! 

Allergies and Food Sensitivities

Persistent canker sores often stem from an allergic reaction or food sensitivity—this can make them seem hereditary if family members suffer from the same food allergies. Complications can also arise from inflammatory conditions like celiac disease and IBS. Don’t forget to check the ingredients on your toothpaste. Many people have an adverse reaction to sodium lauryl sulfate, a common ingredient in oral care products. 

Hormonal Changes

Because they are often triggered by hormonal changes, canker sores are most common in teens and young adults. Women are generally more susceptible to canker sores due to hormonal shifts during menstruation or pregnancy. People taking hormone-based medications might also suffer from frequent canker sores.

Emotional Stress

Whether you’re rushing through your oral care routine or grinding your teeth, stress and anxiety have a serious impact on your oral health. There is a proven correlation between stress and canker sores, no one yet knows exactly why stress can be a trigger. Canker sores usually arise from a combination of factors, and stress causes complications by weakening your immune system and disrupting your daily habits.

How to Treat Canker Sores

Over the counter medicines can help, but severe cases should always be treated by a medical professional. Talk to a doctor if your canker sores last more than 3 weeks, or if you have canker sores along with other symptoms such as fever, rashes, and fatigue. For mild cases, making a few adjustments to your daily routine can help.

Tips for Treating Canker Sores

  • Use a soft toothbrush to gently clean your teeth and gums.
  • Drink lots of water to keep your mouth clean!
  • Avoid abrasive, spicy, and acidic foods that irritate canker sores.
  • Use an ice cube to numb any pain—just make sure to melt it a little bit first so it won’t sting.

Contact Us

The friendly dentists at Sunrise Dental in Peoria are committed to providing the highest level of dental care. We specialize in keeping dental care as stress-free as possible. You can ask us more about how to treat canker sores at your next visit. Call 623-487-4870 or visit our website to request an appointment today.


Photo by Mason Kimbarovsky on Unsplash