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Canker Sores

What are canker sores?

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are painful sores that occur in the mouth for various reasons. Aphthous ulcers can erupt on the inner cheeks, gums, under or on the tongue, and on the roof of the mouth. They appear as white ulcerations surrounded by redness. They can occur as a single sore or multiples.

What causes canker sores?

Mechanical irritation from certain foods, hot beverages, biting your lip or cheek, or from certain toothpaste ingredients can contribute. Viruses have been blamed, as well as stress, allergies, or fatigue. Some people are more prone to canker sores for unknown reasons.

What can I do if I have a canker sore?

Over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used for pain. A half and half mixture of magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) liquid may be helpful; take 1 tsp every 4-6 hours, gargle and swallow. Other over-the-counter remedies that may help include:

  • Orabase
  • Zilactin - B
  • Zinc gluconate lozenges
  • Anbesol or Orajel

If home management is not adequately controlling the pain, make an appointment to be seen, as there are prescription remedies that may offer added benefit.