Canker sores are tiny little ulcers that form inside the oral cavity. They are generally white, gray or yellow. This condition is medically known as recurrent aphtous stomatitis. These oral lesions typically affect people between the age of 10 and 20. Once canker sores occur they tend to reoccur as well. The condition affects women more than men. These oral lesions most commonly occur during menstrual cycle.
What are Causes of Canker Sores?
The exact cause of canker sores has not been fully understood yet. Some research point to potential connection between canker sores and a localized autoimmune disorder. Apart from a localized autoimmune disorder there are several more factors which contribute to the conditions. They include certain ingredients in toothpaste, some food products, trauma to the mucous membrane of the oral cavity, fatigue and stress. Even genetics plays a role in occurrence of canker sores. In some people canker sores develop as a consequence of iron or vitamin B12 deficiency. And finally, these oral lesions may occur due to allergy to certain food items such as chocolate, peanut butter, sea food, wheat products, nuts and milk.
Are Canker Sores Contagious?
Since canker sores do not develop due to infection of any kind (bacterial, viral or fungal) they are not contagious. Fortunately, canker sores are neither precancerous. This means they may not develop into a cancer of the oral cavity. In spite of the previously mentioned doctors are prone to advise patients suffering from canker sores not to kiss until the lesions completely heal. This restriction is necessary because bacteria from other people's mouth can cause infection of the already damaged mucous membrane.
Treatment for Canker Sores
The oral lesions linger for 7-10 days. Canker sores heal spontaneously. Since they can be very painful the goal of the treatment is to alleviate the pain and some additional symptoms of the disease.
Pain caused by canker sores can be successfully relieved with pain killers. In people who are suffering from vitamin B12, iron or folic acid deficiency intake of supplements may accelerate healing of the lesions and reduction of all the symptoms. Only in case a patient develops secondary infection of oral lesions he/ she is prescribed antibiotics.
The person suffering from canker sores is due to abstain from certain food products which can cause additional irritation of the already damaged mucous membrane. These foods include spicy food, hot food, acidic food and carbonated beverages. There are several more home remedies for canker sores but prior taking any of them one is due to consult a doctor.