These are small, shallow round or oval shaped lesions that develop in the mouth. They usually have a red border and can be painful. They are not contagious and typically resolve in 1-2 weeks.
Canker sores are typically seen in more women than men and in persons ages 10-40. If you have a family member with canker sores, you may be more at risk for developing them. Canker sores may be the result of an injury, allergic reaction, dietary deficiency, food sensitivity, emotional stress or hormonal shift during menstruation. They can also be associated with helicobacter pylori, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Behcets disease, HIV/AIDS and the use of oral products containing sodium lauryl sulfate.
Most canker sores will resolve without treatment. It may be helpful to choose healthy foods and to avoid foods that are hard and may cause injury or that are spicy or acidic. To ease discomfort and aid healing you may rinse with milk of magnesia or a paste made of baking soda. Over the counter products that contain numbing agents are also available.
Additional treatment options are available for more severe cases. To help reduce the frequency of canker sores it is important to practice good oral hygiene and protect your mouth. Try not to talk and chew at the same time. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and yogurt may be beneficial.