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Canker sores are painful lesions that develop on the mucous membrane in the mouth. They are typically red with a white coating over them. Canker sores can appear inside the lips, under the tongue, inside the cheeks and on the upper throat. The medical term for canker sores is aphthous stomatitis. These mouth ulcers are sometimes confused with fever blisters or cold sores, which are caused by herpes simplex virus. However, fever blisters commonly appear on the outside of the lips and are transmittable while canker sores are not contagious.

Causes of Canker Sores

Doctors do not exactly know what causes canker sores, but they have identified several factors that may trigger them. One of these risk factors is having a family history of canker sores. Stress or anxiety, mouth injury, poor nutrition and deficiency of iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 can also contribute to outbreak of canker sores. Furthermore, hormonal fluctuations, food allergies, use of toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate, infection with Helicobacter pylori and use of certain drugs can be responsible for development of canker sores. It has been also observed that canker sores may be triggered by the immune system response. Recurrent canker sores are associated with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Cure for Canker SoresThere is no cure for canker sores but there's treatment that aims to relieve the symptoms. Minor canker sores do not require treatment as they typically resolve on their own after a week or two. However, if they appear in large numbers and are very painful, medical care is needed. Most commonly, canker sores are treated with corticosteroid preparations containing Hydrocortisone hemisuccinate or triamcinolone acetonide that provide pain relief. Multiple ulcers can be managed with prescription anti-viral drugs. Tetracycline suspension liquid is usually prescribed to ease the pain and shorten healing time although it has side effects such as permanent discoloration of the teeth. Debacterol is a topical solution designed to treat canker sores by relieving pain and reducing healing time. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is also used for treatment of canker sores in combination with milk of magnesia. The mixture is used as an oral rinse. Apthasol is used as topical paste that is applied to the ulcers for pain relief as well as to speed healing time. In case of severe canker sores, corticosteroids such as Prednisone can be used for treatment although they entail serious side effects.

Home Remedies for Canker SoresHome remedies can also help in treatment of canker sores. You can use solution of, a small amount of salt dissolved in lukewarm water and rinse your mouth several times a day. Baking soda can be applied to the ulcers to relieve the pain. Also, you can prepare a mouthwash by dissolving baking soda and salt in a glass of water. Canker sores pain can be relived with hydrogen peroxide diluted in water and applied on the lesions. Finally, you can apply raw onion, tomato, tea tree oil and papaya leaves on canker sores in order to relieve the discomfort.

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