We have good news. Canker sores are not contagious—the contagious ones are known as cold sores. Also, canker sores only grow inside the mouth while cold sores usually appear on your lips. Unfortunately, we also have bad news. Canker sores are annoying and painful, and can make simple activities like eating and talking unpleasant. Generally, these sores don’t require dental treatment, and should fade on their own after a week or two. However, we strongly recommend visiting a dentist if you have a particularly persistent or painful sore. While no one is exactly sure what causes canker sores, some of the potential triggers include:
- An injury to your mouth. This can come from dental work, brushing too hard, or even accidentally biting your cheek
- Toothpastes and mouthwashes containing sodium lauryl sulfate
- Some foods you may be sensitive to, such as coffee, strawberries, eggs, cheese, or chocolate
- A diet that is missing important vitamins or minerals. Your dentist may recommend nutritional supplements that can decrease your pain and help you prevent future sores.
- Allergies to specific bacteria in your mouth
- Excessive emotional stress
- Certain health conditions
Sadly, even if you avoid these triggers, a canker sore could still appear. Luckily, there are many things you can do to alleviate your discomfort. For example, if your canker sore is extremely painful—painful enough that you need to visit your dentist—you may be given a prescription for a mouthwash with a steroid that can reduce pain and inflammation. There are also over-the-counter medications that you can apply to your sores. Over-the-counter painkillers can also be useful.
Do you have any other questions about what you can do to alleviate canker sores? Do you need to schedule an appointment with our team? If so, please don’t hesitate to contact us soon. We are excited to hear from you.