It's Time for "Canker Sores 101"

Published Online: Saturday, May 1, 2004
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Whereas the cause of canker sores remains a mystery, they affect ~20% of Americans at some point in their life. The signs and symptoms of canker sores include painful sores in the mouth?on the tongue, on the soft palate, and inside the cheeks; a tingling or burning sensation before the appearance of sores; and a round, whitish appearance to sores, with a red edge or halo.

To treat canker sores, physicians and dentists may recommend a prescription mouthwash to relieve the pain and irritation. If the sores are large, painful, or persistent, OTC topical ointments may provide pain relief and speed up healing. To prevent a canker sore outbreak, dentists and physicians should recommend that patients do the following:

  • Brush the teeth after every meal, and floss once a day to keep the mouth clean and free of foods that may trigger a sore
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to help avoid irritation of mouth sores


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