Canker Sores Facts You Didn’t Know

Ever had to deal with excruciating pain from small, open, shallow lesions in your mouth? Seemingly harmless until you take a gulp of your favorite orange juice, and you wish that time would stop? These small white sores are known as canker sores, commonly confused with cold sores. Unlike their counterpart, however, canker sores only develop inside the mouth.

Here are 9 interesting facts about canker sores that you didn’t know:

Canker Sore vs Cold Sore

1. They go by a different scientific name

They’re commonly known as canker sores to laymen. Still, scientifically, they go by the name aphthous ulcers or recurrent aphthous stomatitis.

2. They can also appear on the tongue

Most people get them on the inner part of their lips, base of their gums, and cheeks. However, they can develop on any area of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the tongue. They also do not occur on the lip surface and are not contagious.

3. They will go away on their own

Within a week or two after they appear, canker sores usually disappear on their own. They may take up to 3 weeks in children, so delayed recovery is not a cause for concern. Nevertheless, if a canker sore seems to be taking too long to heal or is very painful, a doctor’s prescription can hasten recovery. Note, however, that canker sores come in 2 categories, simple and complex.

Simple canker sores can appear 2 or 3 times in a year and clear on the own. They are typically about a millimeter in diameter. On the other hand, complex canker sores are less common and can last up to a month. They usually need medical attention since they signify an underlying health issue.

4. Most are less than 1mm in diameter, but they can be bigger

If you’ve experienced the pain of a canker sore that is less than an mm in diameter, you’ll be appalled to know that they can be as big as an inch in diameter! How disturbing!

5. They announce their arrival

Even before you spot a white or yellowish ulcer in your mouth, you’ll have known it’s on its way. Canker sores first cause a tingling or burning sensation before they appear. Following this, a small red bump or spot appears, then it can turn white. If you feel a tingling sensation in any of the moving parts of your mouth, a canker sore could be on its way. Moreover, canker sores could pop up alone or show up in clusters.

6. Painful as they may be, they’re pretty harmless

Luckily, canker sores come and go quite easily. They may be painful, making it hard to eat, drink, and sometimes talk. Still, they clear quite quickly, usually without the need for medication. They’re also not contagious, and unless you have a canker sore that lasts longer than 3 weeks, you have nothing to be worried about.

NOTE: If you experience complex canker sores along with a fever, physical sluggishness, and swollen lymph nodes, contact a physician immediately.

7. They’re more common in teens and women

Anyone can get canker sores, but they are more prevalent in people between 10 and 20 years. They occur more often in teens and young adults, particularly those of the female gender. People with a history of canker sores disorders are also more likely to get recurrent canker sores.

Canker Sore Image

8. They come in different colors

Canker sores can either be white, yellowish, or gray in color, with a red edge or border.

9. Their actual cause remains a mystery

To date, the exact cause of simple canker sores is still unknown. Highly acidic foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, have been known to trigger canker sores, as well as stress and tissue injury. However, the truth of the matter is that the rationale behind canker sores is yet to be explained entirely. Some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also thought to cause canker sores. On the other hand, complex canker sores can result from immune systems disorders such as AIDS, lupus ad Crohns disease.

Wind Up

Canker sores usually are not a cause for alarm, but when they seem to be causing too much discomfort, especially in kids, treatments should be found. There you have it! 9 interesting facts about canker sores that you probably didn’t know but now know!