Canker sores

Canker sores

What are ulcers?

Canker sores are painful little mouth sores. The number can vary from a few to many ulcers at the same time. There are different types of ulcers.

Canker sores: Signs of symptoms

The most common ulcers are around 2-5 mm. They are gray-white (sometimes yellow) in color and have a red spot around them. 

The second form are 1-3 mm large ulcers that look like craters. And the third form looks like spots with a yellow batter; they are the size of a pin button.

Touching the ulcers is painful. They usually sit on the mucous membrane of the cheek or on the mucous membrane in the space between the teeth and the cheek, on the (inside of) lips or under the tongue. There are usually no other symptoms such as fever and people also feel great about it. In women, ulcers often occur just before menstruation.

How are ulcers created?

Exactly how and why ulcers arise is unclear. There are different theories. There may be a connection with the immune system, infections, poor oral hygiene or allergies.

Is it serious and what can you expect?

At the mouth ulcers, it is almost always a harmless condition. The most common form of ulcers heals automatically within approximately two weeks and occurs several times a year in approximately 15-50% of the Dutch population.

When to the doctor?

Normal ulcers go away by themselves after a few days to weeks. However, if the ulcers are very painful, a painkiller (lidocaine) can be obtained from the doctor with which the ulcers can be treated
If the ulcers are accompanied by other symptoms, it is advisable to visit the doctor. It can then concern:
  • fever
  • general feeling unwell, feeling sick
  • swelling of the glands in the neck and / or mouth floor
  • even if the ulcers persist for longer than about two weeks, it is advisable to visit the doctor (practice)

What can you do about it yourself?

Sometimes there may be a hypersensitivity to certain foods. One can (sometimes) find out by keeping a record of what you eat and do and when the ulcers occur. That way one can trace the relationship between the cause and the development of ulcers.

General advice and precautions

In itself there is no reason to worry about mouth ulcers. It is annoying and (often) painful. But usually it goes away by itself after a few days to weeks. If that is not the case or there are other and / or more general complaints, it is advisable to visit your doctor (and practice).

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