What Causes Canker Sores And The 6 Ways to Manage It


If you eat your food and you notice that something hurts in your mouth, then chances are you might have a canker sore. Canker sores are very unpleasant and can really ruin your day. The pain can differ from severe to mild but most sores have a very severe feeling especially when it expands. Canker sores usually start out small but once it enlarges, it can cause pain.

What Is A Canker Sore?

A canker sore is a type of mouth ulcer which presents itself as an open sore in your mouth or on your upper throat. Some canker sores can produce blood and is characterized by a type of break in the mucous membrane.

What Causes Canker Sores?

The exact cause of the canker sores is unknown but some of the more common contributing factors are physical trauma, lack of sleep, autoimmune disease, vitamin deficiencies, allergies and sudden weight loss.

Canker sores are usually small, ulcers or lesions that may appear inside your mouth, lips, or tongue. The sores are painful when it contacts with salty foods and is often the cause of discomfort among sufferer on eating and even talking.

In the medical field, there are actually 2 kinds or types of canker sore. It is the Simple and complex canker sores. The difference between these two is that the former can occur only three to four times in a year and they are often seen on ages ten and twenty while the latter occurs less common and to people who had them previously.

Having a canker sore is really a very inconvenient feeling; the stingy pain that you feel is so annoying thankfully, by knowing what causes canker sores, there are remedies which you can do at home. The causes of this debilitating condition is actually unknown and has baffled medical experts over the years but some suggests that stress could is one factor for a person to have the sore. Others also thought that it could be the result of tissue injury from the mouth and diet on acidic foods.

Getting Rid of Canker Sores

What causes canker sores in mouth is a very popular question and there are a lot of people who are always looking for ways to get rid of their canker sores. Usually the sores go away without treatment after two to three weeks but during this time, they can cause an unpleasant pain that can affect your eating.

What causes canker sores in mouth: Tips to Get Rid of ‘Em

  1. Oral gel and mouthwash can reduce the pain that is caused by canker sores but cannot help with the healing. For pain relief, you can apply oral gel to the affected area or you can gargle with mouthwash.
  2. Some people like to use salt water so that they can get rid of that nasty pain that is being caused by the sores. Gargle salt water at least 5 times a day and make sure that you do not swallow the salt water. Salt water can help you get rid of the pain but does not usually promote healing. Most doctors would advise you to use saltwater solution to get rid of canker sores and this type of treatment has been used for a lot of years now. Although this may sound contrary to healing and soothing you from the pain because salt can aggravate the pain but a salt with warm water actually helps reduce the pain caused by swelling of mucous membrane cells and keeps the area clean. This is a great solution for a really puffed up canker sore as it can produce osmosis or it can draw out the excess water that is causing the puffiness of the sore thus relieving you from the pain that is caused by the excess water inside the sore.
  3. Applying tea bags on the sores can also be an efficient remedy. Tea has a natural tannic acid which can aid in pain relief. You can eliminate the pain that comes from canker sores by making use of tea bags and placing them directly on the lesion.
  4. Essential oil from peppermint and eucalyptus. Oil from these herbal agents has an anti-inflammatory effect and anti-microbial properties that will clean and reduce the inflammation of the sore. The agents also have a cooling effect that helps numb the surroundings of the sore thus it can sooth you from the pain.
  5. Plum juice is also a good alternative. Add at least 2 tablespoons of plum juice to you a glass of water and use it as a mouth wash and swish it around your mouth. You can also use cotton buds. Put some of the plum juice on the cotton bud and apply it directly on the lesion.
  6. Practice oral hygiene. There are also other natural home remedies like chamomile tea bag, coconut oil, clove oil, cayenne cream etc. but those two are among the most effective and fastest ways to relieve you from the pain of canker sore. This condition actually heals on its own in a few days but when it is being untreated and with low oral hygiene practice, it could get infected which can lead to some complications.

Relieving yourself from the pain and making sure that your mouth is free from invasive bacteria that could infect the sores are your best remedies. Now that you have some idea on what causes canker sores on tongue, you may also want to share this information to someone that you know who are frequently visited by this painful condition. However, if you think that it is more than a canker sore, you must consult your doctor immediately because some cancerous and contagious lesions could be mistaken for canker sores which may pose a life threatening condition.

If some of the remedies do not work out for you and the canker sore is still present then it might be a sign of oral cancer or another condition. Make sure to talk to a health professional on what causes canker sores on tongue if your canker sore is not healing or is getting worse every day in order to get proper treatment.

Distinguishing Canker Sore from a Cold Sore

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Canker sore and cold sores are hard to distinguish unless you are a medical practitioner but according to health experts, there is an easy way for you to determine the difference. Cold sore is caused by a virus called herpes simplex virus which is unlike the canker sore, has an unknown origin and not categorized to be contagious.

On appearance, cold sores looks clear at first and then becomes cloudy while a canker sore appears to be a white or grey sores with inflammation around it and the sore that is cause by the herpes simplex virus may appear outside the mouth like on the lips, cheeks and at extreme case on the eyes. Although cold sore is caused by a virus, it is a very common condition in the U.K it is said that seven out of ten persons have the virus. Once you caught it, it will remain in your system until reactivated although some people may have the virus and not show the symptoms which are the blisters.

This condition is very contagious and there is two types of herpes simplex virus (HSV) and numbered in roman numerals I and II. The HSV I occurs above the waist while the HSV II is below the waist but both have the same blisters or lesions. There is no known cure for this disease but there is something you can do to get rid of cold sores faster than by letting it go away by itself.

Since the condition is caused by a virus, it is important for you to consult your doctor for some medications. Treatment to get rid of cold sores is very easy as there is over-the-counter medicine that you can buy at different pharmacies and is usually in the form of gel or ointments. There is also liquid form where you can use as a gargle to relieve you from the stingy pain and uncomfortable feeling when eating or drinking.

Symptoms of Cold sores

Aside from the apparent blisters in your mouth, lips or genital area, other symptoms of this condition includes fever, sore throat, swelling of lymph nodes in the neck and drooling. You will also feel uncomfortable and may develop difficulty sleeping because of the pain and inconvenience that it causes. Fortunately, even if it is caused by a virus, it is not life threatening. It also heals naturally on its own within a week or two so there is nothing to worry about unless infection may occur or if the blisters won’t go away in a week or two; in this case, you have to see your doctor as he may prescribed you some anti-viral medicines or undergo further examination.

It is simply easy but the inconvenience that it can bring to a person is really unimaginable. You may have also heard of severe sold sore that the whole mouth is full of blistered rendering the patient unable to eat for a week or two. Some experts suggest that to avoid the onset of HSV symptoms, you have to avoid getting stress and have adequate amount of rest and sleep. Avoid also those foods that can cause you allergies as it may trigger the symptoms.


Cold sores are recurrent and may cause pain heavily around the mouth area. It produces discomfort and may actually cause other symptoms such as fever, sore throat, sores in and around the mouth, as well as headaches. Because it is quite obvious in young children, adults may actually harbor the virus and remain dormant and have recurring events of cold sore outbreaks which can last within a week with or without treatment. For cold sores, the treatment may actually be over the counter or homemade remedies which can be used when the outbreak starts.

What to do when the outbreak starts?

The basic sensation which signals the start of the outbreak is the tingling sensation on the affected area. If that happens, oftentimes, the treatment is to use a topical antiviral creams. These creams come in variety (such as acyclovir and penciclovir) but the symptoms can be easily managed. Oftentimes, using cold sore creams can be helpful during the initial stages, but for spreading sores, antiviral creams can be handy. An application of five to six times can immediately reduce the pain and the sensation.

Can I use OTC medicine?

In as much as you want, an OTC anti-viral medicine can prove helpful. Most doctors are aware that taken in medicine proves reliable and works well, so some cold sore treatments such as valacyclovir is used and taken in like a pill. It is digested and is absorbed by the body better. The only difference is that these pills are prescribed for more severe cases. It would pay to have a visit to your doctor to know your chances of getting a prescription or have an OTC antiviral medicine. For frequent bouts, a combination of topical application and medicine can prove to help heal the scar and relieve the symptom at the same time.

Can I use a non-antiviral treatment?

There are treatments which can be used to ease the sore, but not take down the root cause of the virus. This cannot be said as the best cold sore treatment, but it could help alleviate the symptoms. For most people, cold sores gives them nausea, headache and vomiting. The intake of pain killers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol is proven useful. For children, it is better to ask a doctor before taking in any of the non-antiviral rather than trying. Cold creams can also help cool down wounds.

For complications, a doctor’s assistance gives you the best treatment. They can give you alternatives on what to do and make you feel comfortable the best way possible.

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By James

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