Canker sores are painful sores that appear anywhere on inside the mouth such as the inside of the cheeks, the tongue and the soft palate. Also known as aphthous stomatitis, canker sores may appear as small ulcerations measuring 2 to 4 millimeters in diameter to as large as 1 centimeter in diameter. Although the exact cause of canker sores is not known, the MedlinePlus website of the National Institute of health says that it may be caused by stress, B vitamin deficiencies, hormonal changes and a weakened immune system response.
It is important to note that there are more serious medical conditions that cause mouth sores such as cold sores, which are highly contagious, and oral cancer. Autoimmune disorders such as lupus and a compromised immune system response may also cause ulcerations to appear in the mouth. The National Institute of Health MedlinePlus website also cites several drugs that may cause mouth ulceration. These include beta-blockers, phenytoin, sulfa drugs, chemotherapy medicines, penicillamine and aspirin.
Most mouth sores resolve even without active treatment. However, people suffering from mouth sores can make the pain more bearable by doing any or all of the following:
- Washing the mouth by gargling salt water.
- Avoiding hot, spicy and acidic foods.
- Taking pain medications.
- Eating ice pops.