Saturday, September 4, 2010

I hate canker sores

Why do I hate canker sores?  First they are painful and mouth pain cannot be ignored.  Second, they are difficult to prevent and you just have to cope with them until they go away. And 3rd, we have no idea what causes them.  For a doctor, the 3rd reason is the most difficult to accept.  What the hell are canker sores?

The medical term is apthous ulcers and they are  round or oval painful ulcers that appear on the tongue, inner lips, side cheeks or palate of the mouth.  Up to 40% of people have experienced canker sores.  So why have the remaining 60% never had them?  We don't know.

They are more common in young people and occur more frequently in white people, non smokers and people with high socioeconomic status.  Why?  We don't know.

What we do know is that they are not contagious and they are not caused by the herpes virus.

Once a person has had a canker sore they are easy to self-diagnose going forward.  Some diseases cause canker sores to coalesce and form larger ulcerations.  People with AIDS, Bechets disease and even ulcerative colitis can experience large canker sores that can respond to immune suppressive drugs.

But the average person who has canker sores is advised to take pain medication and wait until it goes away.  That can take a week to 10 days.  Obviously any mouth sore that does not heal within 2-3 weeks needs to be evaluated by a physician. (See my last post on Michael Douglas's oropharyngeal cancer.)

Full disclosure for this article...I have a canker sore on the hard palate (roof of mouth) right now and I truly hate canker sores.

23 comments:

Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

Cyanoacrylate adhesives make a *great* barrier that keeps the surface from getting irritated. Colgate may or may not still market one as "Colgate Orabase Soothe and Seal" (which is not the Orabase like Kenalog comes in) - it's just Dermabond with a clever little applicator. I just dry the lesion off with a swab, then apply a couple of drops of water-viscosity Loctite with a polyester-type swab, then blow air over it until the glue dries.

Does it speed healing? Meh. Maybe. But it totally works to reduce the pain factor and further irritation of the lesion.

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Hey Eric, thanks for the great tip and it makes sense.

tracy said...

Well, they are better than cold sores...at least they don't show. Ick! i get them waaaaay too often and they are UGLY!

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Dr Ang C.D. said...

Yes, aphthous ulcers can be very troubling. There's quite a lot of stuff out there which can help, such as oracort, kenalog etc, but I find the quickest relief (though very painful when applied) is a single application with albothyl concentrate.

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George Quirk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
baby eczema said...

It is helpful to learn about the triggers that are possibly associated with your canker sore outbreaks to possibly help reduce the frequency of your canker sore occurrences.

Jesse said...

Canker sores are small sores that happen inside the mouth. It can be anywhere inside the lips, gums, tongue, and even throat. It can happen inside the family, but it is not contagious. Learning these from dentists (Myrtle Beach) that handled my kid is a plus. A short talk with them every visit is a very good thing that I can give you simple facts I first mentioned. I am talking about this because my kid had the same condition when we were still living in Myrtle Beach. (Dental clinics there are the best anyways so I did not have to worry about their capability of taking care of my son.)

Smile. =)

how to get rid of a cold sore said...

It is much better that sores will appear inside the mouth because they are hidden. Rather than cold sores, I think they are worst. Last week I have a canker sore and I am glad it was gone fully now.

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How To Get Rid Of Cold Sore said...

Cyanoacrylate adhesives make a *great* barrier that keeps the surface from getting irritated. Colgate may or may not still market one as "Colgate Orabase Soothe and Seal" (which is not the Orabase like Kenalog comes in) - it's just Dermabond with a clever little applicator. I just dry the lesion off with a swab, then apply a couple of drops of water-viscosity Loctite with a polyester-type swab, then blow air over it until the glue dries.

Does it speed healing? Meh. Maybe. But it totally works to reduce the pain factor and further irritation of the lesion.

www.muebles-en-la-rioja.com said...

Quite worthwhile information, thanks so much for the post.

Visit Antarctica said...

Canker sores also known as aphthous ulcers. Canker sores are small ulcer craters in the lining of the mouth. Canker sores are a form of herpes infection.

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