That small painful ulcer inside the mouth. It may be white or gray with red edges. Canker sores usually develop on the soft parts of the mouth, such as the tongue, the insides of the cheeks, and just inside the lips. They can appear alone or in a cluster.


In most cases, a person can determine the cause of their mouth sore themselves. For example, a person who has had a canker sore before will recognize another one if it appears.

A person who bites their cheek will know that the sore came from this incident. People with diagnosed conditions, such as herpes of the mouth, may recognize their symptoms and have a plan of action to address the flare.

If a person has recurrent or unexplained mouth sores, a doctor may be able to identify the cause of the sores by carrying out a visual check. They may also perform some tests, such as swabs and blood tests.’

What Causes Canker Sores?

There are many potential causes of mouth sores. When these sores appear, they are often painful and can make everyday activities, such as brushing the teeth or eating hot food, more difficult.

Most mouth sores occur as a result of irritation. Many things can irritate the mouth and lead to sores, including:

  • Sharp or broken teeth
  • Braces or other devices, such as retainers
  • Burning the mouth on hot food or beverages
  • Tobacco Products
  • Highly acidic foods
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Vitamin and folate deficiencies

How Do I Speed Up The Healing Process?

The good news is Canker sores are not contagious and usually heal without treatment in 7–10 days.

While their sores are healing, people can try:

  • Gargling with salt water
  • Applying baking soda and water to the sore
  • Excluding hot or spicy foods from their diet
  • Abstaining from using tobacco products
  • Avoiding eating citrus fruits or salty foods, as they may cause sores to sting using mouthwash
  • Taking oral pain relievers
  • Avoiding alcohol

If home remedies are not enough or the sore does not heal on its own, a person may wish to talk with their doctor about further treatment options.

A doctor can prescribe stronger anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medications and ointments. If an underlying condition is causing the mouth sores, a doctor will develop a treatment plan for this too.

Is It Possible To Prevent Them?

Some steps that a person can take to help prevent mouth sores include:

  • Avoiding hot foods and beverages
  • Using lip balms with SPF to avoid sun damage
  • Avoiding smoking and other tobacco use
  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption
  • Chewing carefully and slowly
  • Practicing good dental hygiene
  • Decreasing stress
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Speaking to a dentist if a dental device is causing irritation

Canker sores can be bothersome and painful. But in many cases, mouth sores will heal on their own with little need for treatment. In other cases, a person may need to take medication to treat the underlying cause of the sores.

If a person has frequent or long-lasting mouth sores or the pain is severe, it is best to speak to a doctor.

Have more questions about Canker sores? Don’t be afraid to give us a call at  (780) 750-3030