APR 07, 2017 9:47 AM PDT

What is a Canker Sore and How to Get Rid of it?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

If you're like 20 percent of the population, you've experienced white, painful ulcer/lesions on the inside of your lips and gums before. These ulcerations are called canker sores (medically as aphthous ulcers), and are often mistaken for cold sores. But unlike cold sores, these aren't caused by the herpes virus, and they aren't contagious.

Causes of canker sores are varied and there's no definitive explanation of what triggers the appearance of these painful ulcers. However, researchers have linked several factors, including minor injuries to the mouth area, food allergies, bacterial allergies, hormones, and stress.

Though painful and uncomfortable, canker sores don't typically warrant treatment, as they usually go away in a week or two. Topical pain relievers such as benzocaine and oral antiseptics like hydrogen peroxide may relieve pain and speed up the healing process.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
Do Nebulae Actually Look This Impressive?
Astronomers often turn to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope when they fancy observing any of the plethora of distant nebulae in outer space. Nebulae are...
DEC 30, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 30, 2019
How SpaceX's Crew Dragon Will Operate, From Start to Finish
It’s no mystery by now that SpaceX is working hard to earn the right to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station via NASA’s Commerci...
JAN 06, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 06, 2020
Every River Leap a Proboscis Monkey Makes Could be its Last
Leaves are one of the most essential components of a proboscis monkey’s diet, and in some cases, getting to the tastiest leaves means taking an enorm...
JAN 16, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 16, 2020
High-speed 3D Printer to Revolutionize Manufacturing
Two significant hurdles in front of the fast expansion of three-dimensional (3D) printers are speed and scale.  In a recently published study, a team...
JAN 28, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 28, 2020
An Ambitious New Mission to Explore the Sun's Poles
A plethora of spacecraft have photographed the Sun, but every one of those photographs has been snapped from the rather limited perspective of the Sun&rsqu...
FEB 03, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 03, 2020
Watch a Polar Bear Mom Scare Off a Bully So Her Cubs Can Eat
Polar bears realize that food can be scarce at times, and that’s a problem considering just how much they like to eat. In many cases, they find food ...
Loading Comments...