Canker sores are small ulcers that form in the soft tissues of the mouth or gums. They can be extremely painful, especially when you eat, drink, or move your mouth in certain ways. The following brief guide explores canker sores and how your dentist can help treat them.


There are two types of canker sores. Simple canker sores may develop on and off, typically three or four times a year, lasting up to a week before healing but leaving no scars. They are most common in people between the ages of 10 and 20 years old.

Complex canker sores are usually larger than simple ones, and they develop in people with a history of canker sores. They can last for two weeks or more, and they often leave scars.

What Are the Differences Between Canker Sores & Cold Sores?


Though they are often mistaken for one another, canker sores and cold sores are two different conditions. Canker sores are caused by stress or injury to the mouth or consuming excessively acidic or spicy foods. The pain they generate can be lessened with nonprescription topical ointments, pain-relieving medications, and antimicrobial mouthwashes. If the sores are at risk of infection, your dentist might prescribe antibiotics.

Cold sores are blisters similar in size and appearance to canker sores, but they are caused by a common virus called herpes simplex. There is no cure for herpes infections, so cold sores come and go more frequently than canker sores. Stress, allergies, or fever can trigger them, but your doctor can prescribe an antiviral medication to reduce the severity of herpes infections and cold sore outbreaks.


To avoid canker sores, be mindful of your diet. Don't eat foods that tend to irritate your mouth. This might include citrus fruits, acidic foods like vinegar, onion, garlic, and tomatoes, or overly spicy foods. If you have a canker sore, do not chew gum since the gum and the repeated movements of the mouth can irritate the sore.

Follow good oral care practices. Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day and remember to floss. This will keep your mouth clean and eliminate food particles that can cause a canker sore to develop.

If you're concerned about a sore, visit your dentist. They can recommend over-the-counter products or prescribe medications to treat the issue and restore your comfort.


When you need dental care in the Amherst or Lorain, OH, area, trust Gregory Sy, DDS, & Associates. They provide comprehensive general and cosmetic dentistry services to patients of all ages. From preventive exams and teeth cleanings to crowns, bridges, implants, and root canals, they will keep your smile healthy and bright. Call (440) 282-9550 or visit them online to schedule an appointment.