Canker sores are sensitive ulcers that form inside the mouth. They are also called aphthous ulcers or aphthous stomatitis. They are also known to appear on the inside linings of the cheeks, lips, throat, and tongue. They typically have a white, gray, or yellow backdrop with a red edging.
Canker sores are one of the most frequent forms of oral lesions and affect approximately twenty percent of the population. Women get canker sores more often than males. Canker sore susceptibility can sometimes be passed down through families, and the disorder itself can be hereditary.
What is the White Stuff in a Canker Sore?
The white stuff in your canker sore or mouth ulcer is made up of dead tissue and bacteria remnants. The scientific term for this whitish stuff is slough. It is composed of dead cells that have accumulated in the wound and adheres to the wound bed.
White residue from dead tissue and germs is commonly found in canker sores and mouth ulcers. In science, this whitish material is known as slough. It adheres to the wound bed and is composed of dead cells that accumulate in the wound.
What causes canker sore?
Most canker sores are not well understood, and they can be caused by a variety of reasons. The following are some of the possible causes of canker sores:
- viral infection
- hormonal fluctuation
- food allergy
- menstrual cycle
- vitamin or mineral deficiency
- immune system problem
- mouth injury
A lack of certain vitamins, such as B3 (niacin), B9 (folic acid), or B12 (cobalamin), can increase your risk to canker sores. Canker sores can also be triggered or worsened by a lack of zinc, iron, or calcium.
There are several instances in which the cause behind a canker sore cannot be identified.
What are symptoms and signs of canker sores?
Canker sores are painful sores that develop inside the mouth. They can appear on the tongue, the cheek lining, the gums, the inside of the lips, or the soft palate on the roof of your mouth. The following are common canker sore symptoms:
- A burning, tingling, or prickling sensation, up to 24 hours before the sore appears
- Crater-like ulcers that are white, gray, or yellow in color, with a red border
- Sores are usually painful
- Difficulty speaking, eating or swallowing
A more serious underlying infection may also be indicated by symptoms that are less common, such as the following:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
- Thrush infection in your mouth or throat
Consult a physician or dentist if your canker sores are:
- Larger than usual
- Lasting more than three weeks
- Causing severe pain even after taking over-the-counter pain medication
- Causing difficulty drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated
- Accompanied by fever
How to Treat Canker Sore?
Canker sores typically heal on their own. To cure canker sores, you can adopt a number of beneficial lifestyle alterations.
Bacteria thrive in the environment of the canker sore and the “white stuff” that is there. To speed the healing of the canker sore, it is essential to inhibit bacterial growth. For optimal results, use a peroxide-containing mouthwash or a saltwater rinse. It is crucial to keep the breakout site clear of microorganisms in order to promote healing.
For example, avoiding hot meals helps speed the healing process, and consistently brushing and flossing your teeth will prevent a bacterial infection.
Typically, this white stuff will clear up on its own. However, research indicates that the white substance in a canker sore hinders the healing process by reinfecting the sore.
Frequently, a debridement agent can prevent this and speed the healing process. One of the most effective debridement solutions on the market contains alum and lysine, among other substances, to cauterize the canker sore before quickening the healing process.
How can canker sores be prevented?
You can avoid the return of canker sores by avoiding meals that may have caused an outbreak in the past. These typically consist of foods that are hot, salty, or acidic. Also, stay away from foods that trigger your allergy symptoms, such as hives, itchy lips and tongue, and swelling of the tongue.
If a canker sore occurs as a result of stress, consider stress reduction and relaxing strategies like deep breathing and meditation.
Maintaining proper dental hygiene and using a toothbrush with a gentle bristle will help you prevent irritating your gums and other soft tissues.
Have a discussion with your primary care physician to find out whether or not you are deficient in any particular vitamins or minerals. They can be able to help build a food plan that is appropriate for you and prescribe individual supplements if they feel that you require them.
Contact your doctor or dentist if you develop:
- large sores
- an outbreak of sores
- excruciating pain
- a high fever
- a rash
- a headache
If you are unable to eat or drink, or if your canker sore has not healed within three weeks, seek medical attention.