Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Oh, NOW what? Canker sores



According to Wendy Stern, MD, an ear-nose-and-throat doc at the South Coast Hospital Group (WSJ, Jan 28, 2014), 80% of adults, more women than men, get canker sores at least once.

These are irritating mouth ulcers. They occur in the soft tissue--if there is bone underneath, it's not a canker sore. The are shaped like a shallow crater.

They go away on their own in five to 10 days.

Some people are prone, some are not. Canker sores do not mean an underlying health issue. Usually they are caused by nicking the tissue, say with crunchy nuts, or irritating it with citrus.

(Cold sores are mostly on the lips and are caused by a version of the herpes virus. These should be treated with an antiviral cream and you should wash your hands after touching them.)

If you have a lot of canker sores and they hurt, you can mix some baking soda and salt into water and "swish."

Or you can mix liquid antacid and liquid Benadryl with water.

Avoid over-the-counter mouthwashes--these can irritate the already irritated.

Do you need a doc? Nah--unless the thing lingers more than two weeks. Then--you decide.

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