Canker sores (recurrent aphthous stomatitis) are small painful sores inside your mouth that occur frequently. They are not contagious. Although a sore will usually go away on its own, what if it doesn’t? And what can you do to treat it at home if you can’t afford a dentist?
What Causes a Canker Sore?
Although the exact cause of a canker sore is unknown, a variety of factors can trigger it, including:
- Irritation in the mouth by things such as aggressive brushing or dental work
- Oral injury
- Sensitivities to food or sodium lauryl sulfate
- Stress and hormonal changes
- Certain diseases, including celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome
What Are the Symptoms and Signs?
If a canker sore is developing, you will feel oral pain or
burning. In a day or two, the sore will appear. The sore is a slight bump that
is round or oval. The center is usually yellowish gray, and the border is
How Long Will It Last?
A sore usually lasts four to seven days. If your sore lingers, or if it gets worse, you might need to see a dentist.
What Can You Do About It?
What if you can’t afford a dentist? You can try over-the-counter pastes such as Anbesol that contain benzocaine, which will help speed the healing process and make the sore less painful.
What If Home Treatment Doesn’t Work?
If your efforts to treat the sore don’t help—or if it’s getting worse—schedule an appointment with a dentist for an examination. You may need a prescription for oral or topical medication or mouth rinse. It is possible that the sore is not a canker sore, but your dentist can make that determination. If your budget is limited and you don’t have dental insurance, ask the office representative what can be done to make treatment affordable for you. This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Miranda Lacy, DDS.