Canker sores are a common problem many of us face at some point in our lives. These small ulcers can be painful and hard to ignore, but can you pop them to get rid of them once and for all? The answer is no, and popping them can actually cause a host of other problems. This article will explain what canker sores are, why popping canker sores isn’t recommended, and offer tips on how to manage them instead.
What are Canker Sores?
Canker sores are small lesions in the mouth that are usually caused by:
- Physical irritation, such as biting the inside of your cheek, having braces, or accidentally burning your mouth
- Food Sensitivity
- Hormonal changes during menstruation
- Emotional Stress
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies, specifically vitamin B-12, zinc, folate (folic acid) or iron
- Certain conditions or diseases, such as Celiac disease, Chron’s disease, or HIV/AIDS
These lesions can show up anywhere in the soft pink tissue surrounding your mouth and typically look white or grayish in color with redness or swelling around the edges. They can also be accompanied by blisters. However, it’s important to note that they are not herpes or cold sores, and are not viral in nature.
Some people may be more prone to getting canker sores than others, but they can still happen randomly.
Canker sores are typically filled with clear fluid made of dead tissues and white blood cells and can be extremely painful. They typically last for about 10-14 days, but in some cases, may take longer to heal.
Why Can’t You Pop Canker Sores?
Many people are tempted to pop canker sores when they appear, but this is not recommended.
If the canker sore is wrongfully identified and is actually a cold sore, then popping it could cause the release of the virus and spread its potentially harmful effects throughout your mouth.
Even if the canker sore is not a cold sore, it is still not recommended to pop it. This can cause the sore to become more irritated and inflamed, making it even more painful and difficult to heal. It can also make it easier for bacteria to get into the open wound and cause an infection.
Remedies for Canker Sores
Instead of popping your canker sore, there are a number of remedies and treatments you can try to help ease the pain and speed up the healing process. Keep in mind that a canker sore will typically go away on its own, so these may not even be required.
In the case of longer-lasting canker sores and mouth ulcers, dentists may have a few solutions for reducing their duration and intensity. These most often include prescription or over-the-counter medications, such as corticosteroids or antimicrobial mouth rinses.
If you’re at home and want a home remedy, some patients have tried to rinse their mouths with a solution of baking soda and warm water. Saltwater has also often been recommended but may be more irritating. These aren’t as well-researched as other treatments, but they may still provide some relief. It may also be a good idea to avoid acidic foods and drinks, which can further irritate the sore.
Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to take steps to avoid creating a canker sore in the first place. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly, avoid biting or irritating the inside of your mouth with braces or sharp objects and take a multivitamin to maintain nutrient levels. Decrease stress in your life as much as possible, and lastly, talk to a doctor or dentist if you experience chronic canker sores.
All in all, canker sores can be an annoyance, but there are steps you can take to prevent them in the first place and to heal them if they do appear. Don’t pop or poke at your canker sore as they can cause the situation to be worse than it started. Instead, try an over-the-counter treatment or a home remedy like saltwater or baking soda. Be sure to maintain good oral health and reduce stress to help prevent canker sores from occurring. If you have chronic canker sores or if the sores last longer than two weeks, it’s best to consult your physician or dentist. With the right care and attention, canker sores can be effectively managed, allowing you to get back to your normal routine without discomfort.
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No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.