While there is no cure to prevent canker sores, in the case of complex canker sores that are persistent or do no heal on their own, a dentist can prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash, corticosteroid ointment or prescription solution to ease pain, according to WebMD. In the case of simple canker sores, or those appearing three to four times a year and lasting up to one week, treatment is rarely needed.
There is no cure for canker sores. However, making some dietary and lifestyle changes can reduce the frequency with which they occur, according to WebMD. Foods that irritate the mouth, such as spicy foods, acidic vegetables and citric fruits, should be avoided. Gum chewing, which also irritates the mouth, should also be minimized. Dental hygiene is also key, making brush the teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing after meals important to remove any foods from the mouth that may trigger a canker sore to develop.
Canker sores are shallow ulcers in the mouth that cause discomfort. Simple canker sores can appear around four times a year and last up to a week. Typically, they occur in people between the ages of 10 and 20, claims WebMD. Complex sores are less common and occur most often in people who have had them previously. The exact cause is unknown, but stress and tissue injury are thought to be contributing factors. Certain cases of complex sores are caused by an underlying health condition such as an impaired immune system, nutritional problems, iron deficiencies or gastrointestinal tract diseases. In addition to the painful sores, severe attacks may cause fever, physical fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.
According to WebMD, if a canker sore is extremely large or painful, is spreading, lasts longer that three weeks, creates difficulty with eating or drinking or is accompanied by a fever and swollen lymph nodes, it is important to contact a doctor or dentist for treatment.