Dental Health Topics

Banish That Canker Sore!



There’s hardly anything more irritating than a canker sore. Sure, they’re tiny and only last a few days, but wow, when you’ve got one, just about every word spoken and every bite taken hurts like “all get-out.” You know that feeling, right? Now, imagine how they feel in your youngster’s mouth! So, what exactly are those little buggers, and how in the world can you ease the pain fast? We’ll fill you in, and share our “canker-sore-be-gone” grocery list that’ll help save the day.

What Exactly is a Canker Sore?

To know the medically proper name for a canker sore is to understand why it hurts so much. A canker sore is actually an ulcer. An “Aphthous Ulcer” to be exact. These mighty painful ulcers come in two forms, minor and major, and are surprisingly experienced by only about 20% of the U.S. population. Aren’t we lucky?!

Minor cankers (common in people between the ages of 10 and 20), are the smaller of the two, as the name would suggest, and last about 7-10 days. Major cankers can last from two to six weeks, have noticeable depth, and often have irregular borders. This type of sore is more common after the age of 20, and is essentially a recurrent canker, returning to a site previously impacted by a minor canker.

Who Gets Cankers?

While cankers affect both genders, girls tend to get them more often, likely because of hormonal fluctuations. Aside from that, the vast majority of people in general are believed to get cankers due to genetic tendencies – and the condition is triggered by spicy, salty or abrasive foods.
If your kids are among those unlucky people gifted with canker sore genetics, there is hope!

Arrest the pain and speed up the healing process with this short shopping list:

Rinses (use one of the below rinses four times a day)–
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Equal parts peroxide and water
  • Salt and baking soda – Add a half teaspoon of both to 4oz. of water
Numbing Agents
  • Brands like Orajel® and Kank-A® can provide relief
Protective Pastes
  • Milk of Magnesia – dab on a cotton swab and use four times daily after the hydrogen peroxide rinse.
  • Baking Soda and Water Paste
Antimicrobial Mouthwashes

If your children have a sore lasting beyond the two-week mark, make an appointment to see your doctor to evaluate their case. Prescription medications might be necessary to bring them much-needed relief.