Approximately twenty percent of the population have had canker sores.

Showing up on the inside of the mouth only, unlike cold sores, canker sores (also known as aphthous ulcers) are not contagious.

Canker sores can often be recognized by their oval shape with a red border, and usually a white, gray or yellow center. Canker sores can be painful, but most will disappear on their own (without treatment) in a few days to a couple of weeks.

What causes canker sores

Though doctors aren’t completely sure what causes canker sores to appear, one factor that is suspected is heredity. Canker sores typically afflict individuals who are 10 to 20 years old and affect women about two times as much as men. Links have been identified between canker sores and stress, and they often occur at the location of mouth injuries. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical found in toothpaste, has been found to have links to canker sores as well. Lastly, canker sores may be a sign of an immune system problem.

Canker sores come in three types. While most canker sores are minor ones, there are also major and herpetiform canker sores. The Mayo Clinic has more to read about these types on their page on canker sores.


No treatment is typically needed if you are suffering with a minor canker sore. There are a few things you can do to avoid additional pain, however.
– Don’t eat foods that could be scratchy or hard, as well as spicy foods. These will irritate the wound.
– Don’t use your toothbrush on the sore, and use a toothpaste that does not contain SLS.

To avoid canker sores

– Avoid types of foods which can irritate your mouth.
– Make sure to have good nutrition—avoid vitamin deficiency
– For those with braces, orthodontic wax can protect your mouth from injury.
– Reduce or eliminate your stress.

If you have a canker sore which is painful or unusually large, call your doctor or schedule with us at Milford Dental Excellence.