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Canker sores are lesions that develop on the soft tissues inside your mouth. They can range from minorly irritating to very painful. You may wonder what exactly they are and what to do when you get them. That’s why we’ve created this basic guide to canker sores, so you know what is happening in your mouth:

-Cold sores and canker sores are two distinct conditions. Cold sores form on the surface of your lips and can be contagious. Canker sores occur only on the insides of the mouth (under the tongue, on the insides of the cheeks, soft palate, or gums) and are not the result of a communicable disease.

Minor canker sores are the most common type of canker sore. They are typically rather small and oval shaped with a red edge. They usually disappear in one to two weeks.

Major canker sores are fairly unusual, larger and deeper than minor canker sores, and most often perfectly round, but they can also have irregular edges. They are typically quite painful and can take up to six weeks before they are gone, often leaving behind extensive scarring.

Herpetiform canker sores tend to emerge later in life. They are the size of pinpoints and usually happen in clusters of 10 to 100. They can occasionally join together into one large ulcer with irregular borders. Like minor canker sores, they typically heal completely in one to two weeks.

-Canker sores can be a side-effect of oral injuries, overactive brushing, specific types of toothpaste or mouthwash, food sensitivities, a lack of certain kinds of minerals and vitamins, helicobacter pylori bacteria, hormonal shifts during menstruation, stress, or some diseases and conditions involving the digestive or immune system.

-It’s time to see a doctor when: your sores are abnormally big, return frequently, are extremely painful, if symptoms thwart comfortable eating or drinking, or if you also have a high fever.

If you have any queries not addressed in this guide, please feel free to contact Dr. Christopher Burton at Conroe Dental Associates in Conroe, Texas, by calling 936-756-9884.