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What Is A Canker Sore?

Have you ever had a little sore in your mouth or around your gum that was a little bit painful but, over time, went away? If so, you’ve had a canker sore. These sores are medically known as aphthous ulcers, and while they’re annoying and can make it hard to eat some foods, they aren’t really that bad. However, there are times when really painful or large canker sores can require seeing a doctor or even a dentist. The same is true when you have a canker sore that doesn’t seem to be healing on its own.

What is it?

A canker sore is generally a circular or oval shape that’s yellow or white in the center. It has a red ring around it, and they’re always found inside the mouth. Unlike cold sores, you won’t get them on the outside of your lips. Instead, they can be in the cheeks, the tongue, on the gums, the interior of the lips, or even the soft palate. Sometimes, you’ll feel a burning or tingling in the area before the canker sore appears.


Canker sores can be divided into three different types.

Minor canker sores are fairly common. They’re small, and they generally heal on their own within a couple of weeks. Once healed, there’s no sign that the canker sore was there.

Major canker sores, on the other hand, are often bigger and deeper. Instead of being round, they might be somewhat irregularly shaped. They can be very painful, and they can take as long as six weeks to go away. Even then, it’s possible that they will leave behind scars.

Finally, there are herpetiform canker sores. This type of sore is fairly uncommon, and you’re more likely to see them as you get older. While the name is similar, the herpes virus is not the cause of a herpetiform canker sore. These sores are very small, but they usually appear in groups of anywhere from 10 to 100. That means they look larger, especially since they can merge together. They will have fairly irregular edges, but even though they’re somewhat large, they generally heal up within a couple of weeks and leave no scaring.


No one is certain what causes canker sores, but the list has been narrowed down. Sometimes it seems like different factors affect different people, while others seem to only get canker sores when exposed to a specific combination of these factors:

• Injury to the mouth
• Using mouth rinse or toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate
• Having a sensitivity to specific foods
• Being deficient in zinc, iron, B-12, or folate
• Being allergic to bacteria
• Being stressed

Should you see a Doctor?

You usually don’t need to worry about seeing a doctor for your canker sore. However, if it seems unusually large, if it reoccurs in the same place over and over, or if you have frequent canker sores, you may want to mention it. Also seek medical advice if a sore doesn’t go away for weeks or if the sore does actually move onto your lip. If one is very painful or if you start to have a fever when you get canker sores, be sure to talk to a doctor.

You may also want to start taking an acai berry supplement. Research has shown that a supplement such as the acai berry may be able to provide you with a number of benefits.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.