Canker sores. What are they? How to treat them?

Canker sores.  What are they? How to treat them?

Canker Sore

Ugh.  Canker sores are the most common ulcerative condition in the mouth.

  • Peak age is in the teen years.  
  • There’s a genetic predisposition to getting canker sores. 
  • It is unknown why some people get them. 

Most ulcers are considered mild with lesions less than 1 cm in diameter.  These lesions are usually present for 1-2 weeks and heal without scarring. 

Ulcers more than 1 cm in diameter represent less than 10% of cases.  They may persist for 6 weeks and heal with mucosal scarring. Major ulcers are associated with HIV infection.

Treatment: Topical corticosteroid gels or rinses are the most common therapy but most heal without any treatment. Major ulcers may require oral steroids.  Peridex rinse may decrease pain and severity, but may stain teeth. Avoidance of toothpaste with sodium lauryn sulfate may decrease recurrences of canker sores.

I hope this helps.


About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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