According to The Cleveland
Clinic, "Some cases of complex canker sores are caused
by an underlying health condition, such as an impaired immune
system; nutritional problems, such as a deficiency in
vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron; and gastrointestinal
tract disease, such as the inflammatory bowel diseases celiac
disease and Crohn's disease." (1)
Canker sores can also be caused by hormonal changes
(women report increased canker sore activity during their menstrual
cycle), food allergies, biting the lip or mouth, and or emotional
Symptoms: Canker sores usually
begin as burning or tingling sensation before developing into
a full ulcer. Ranging in size from 1-2 mm to 1 cm, most canker
sores have a bright red, round circular border with a white, or
white-gray center. In severe cases, you may also experience fever,
physically dull, and swollen lymp nodes.
Treatment: In most cases, canker
sores go away by themselves and treatment is not necessary. However,
in severe cases where mouth ulcers are larger than 1 centimeter
or last longer than 3 weeks, a doctor may administer tetracycline
and instruct the patient to hold it in their mouth for 2-5 minutes.
[Tetracycline is only available as a treatment option for those
who have lost all their baby teeth].
Besides tetracycline, severe cases may be treated
by a doctor with corticosteroids, antibiotics and lidocaine.
Other over the counter and home remedy treatment
options which act as pain relievers, antiseptics and oral wound
cleaning agents include: (3)
Anbesol - oral anesthetic gel.
Orabase B - an anesthetic commonly used to treat
Amosan - an oral wound cleaning solution sold
under the Oral-B brand name.
Hydrogen Peroxide - either administered directly
on the ulcer with a Q-tip or as part of a homemade or store
bought mouth wash.
Listerine - an antiseptic mouthwash for bad
Salt Water - 1 tablespoon of salt added to 1/2
cup of warm water.
When using the above OTC and home remedies, it's
important not to eat or drink for 30 minutes afterwards in order
to allow time for the treatments to work.
While canker sores or mouth ulcers can't always
be prevented, keeping the mouth clean through regular brushing
(with a soft toothbrush) and use of antiseptic mouth wash can
go a long way in the prevention, treatment of the severity of