Canker sores are small lesions that form at the base of the gums or on the soft tissues of the mouth. They can cause pain as well as difficulty eating and speaking. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious.
While the exact cause of canker sores remains unknown, several factors may be associated with their occurrence:
- Oral injury
- Allergic reactions
- Immunity disorders
- Emotional/Physical stress
Most canker sores are oval-shaped, measure less than half an inch in diameter, and heal within two weeks. Medical attention is only necessary for canker sores that are excessively large, recurrent or impede eating and drinking.
Canker sores can be diagnosed by inspecting the affected area, with no additional testing necessary. While most canker sores go away on their own within two weeks. Persistent cases may require treatment. Treatment options for persistent canker sores include oral medications, nutritional supplements and mouth rinses.