Recurrent Canker Sores (Apthous Ulcers)

Canker Sore FAQ

How common are canker sores?

It is estimated that approximately 80% of Americans suffer from Recurrent Apthous Ulcers also known as “canker sores.” Outbreaks of these oral ulcerations can range from mildly annoying to extremely painful and life-altering.

Are canker sores the same as cold sores?

Contrary to popular belief, canker sores are not caused by the same virus as cold sores, nor are they contagious.

What causes canker sores?:

Initially, it is vital to rule out systemic disease or immunosuppresion as the cause. This can be done by informing your dentist and/or physician of any other medical conditions, problems or symptoms so a thorough medical history and work up can be evaluated. Once systemic causes are eliminated, other possible causes can be reviewed:

How can you treat canker sores?

There is no known cure for canker sores, however there are measures that can decrease the frequency and severity of outbreaks. Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) is found in many types of toothpaste and is thought to increase incidence of canker sores. Using toothpaste without SLS can be very helpful in preventing outbreaks. There are also many products available without prescriptions that are known to have dramatic results.

  • Laser therapy: Low level laser therapy requires no anesthetic, has no discomfort, often provides immediate relief, and has shown to dramatically decrease duration, severity and pain during breakouts.
  • Over-the-Counter (OTC): Non-SLS Toothepaste: Clo SYS II, Tom’s of Maine, Oxyfresh, Rembrant Extra Whitening, Thera Breath Products, Squigle Enamel Saver Mouth Friendly Toothpaste; Barrier Protection: Soothe-N-Seal, Zilactin, ORA5 Liquid phthsol, Kanka Cankermelts and Canker Covers; Numbing Agents: Orabase-B Gel and Paste, Orajel Protective Discs; Antibacterials: Copper Sulfate, Iodine; Cleansers: Peroxyl Oral Rinse, Glyoxide
  • Prescriptions/Topical Corticosteroids: Hydrocortisone 1% and Orabase B: Mixed equal parts promotes adhesion; Kenalog (Triamcinolone Acetonide): Apply ointment as needed; Decadron Elixir (Dexamethasone): .5mg/5ml 100 ml, rise with 1 tsp, four times daily for 2 minutes; Debacterol: Stops pain and seals tissue
  • Household Remedies: Combine Children’s Benadryl Allergy with one of the following: Kaeopectate, Maalox or Milk of Magnesia, in equal portions. Rinse with 1 teaspoon of concoction for at least two minutes every two hours and before each meal.

Remember it is extremely important to consult your dentist and/or physician before trying any of the OTC products.

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