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(480) 899-52402470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

Daniel G. Kline DDS - Chandler Dentist

(480) 899-5240

2470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

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Canker Sores Making You Cranky?

Posted by Editor in on December 12, 2017

Canker sores are the epitome of “it looks (and feels) worse than it is.” These little ulcers are shallow and can make talking, eating and drinking mildly painful. The vast majority of the time, canker sores are harmless. However, there are two types: Simple and complex. Simple canker sores are what you’ve likely experienced, and can happen up to four times per year and they go away on their own within a week. Most people who get canker sores are adolescents and teenagers.

Complex canker sores are much rarer. If you’ve had a complex canker sore before, you’re more likely to get them again. They can last longer, be bigger, and cause more severe side effects including fever.

The Root of the Problem

Canker sores remain somewhat of a mystery. Nobody knows exactly what causes them, but it’s thought that tissue injury and/or stress can bring on simple canker sores. There are also certain foods, usually citruses, which can either trigger canker sores or exacerbate them. Tissue injuries from overzealous flossing, dental appliances like braces, or oral piercings can also be a precursor to canker sores.

Complex canker sores are sometimes caused by another health issue, such as nutritional deficiencies or an impaired immune system. A deficiency in folic acid, iron or zinc has been linked to complex canker sores. Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease have also been tied to them.

Myth Busting

Canker sores and cold sores are often terms that are used interchangeably—but they’re completely different. Cold sores are also called herpes simplex type 1 or “fever blisters.” These blisters are filled with fluid (canker sores aren’t), are caused by a virus (again, canker sores aren’t), and are highly contagious (you can’t “catch” a canker sore). Canker sores only occur inside the mouth, but cold sores might be in the mouth, on the lips, under the nose or on the chin.

Symptoms of simple canker sores include a painful sore inside the mouth. It might be on the gums, tongue, palate or inside of the cheeks. Some people report a tingle or burning feeling before the sores appear. They look round and are white or gray colored with a red border. With severe canker sores, you might also feel sluggish, have swollen lymph nodes or a fever.

Canker sores usually disappear on their own. However, severe or complex canker sores may be treated with dental lasers, which usually completely alleviate the pain. If you’re unsure whether you have a simple canker sore or something else, always check with your dentist.