Managing Canker Sores

We have a new way of managing those pesky canker sores that seem to plague our patients.

Based on new literature, here are some factors that can provoke an outbreak:

  • Cinnamon oil
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Estrogen shifts
  • Mild oral trauma
  • Toothpaste containing Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and or tarter control formulations

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a foaming agent. Some toothpastes without SLS include Tom’s of Maine Peppermint Clean and Gentle, Sensodyne Original, Biotene toothpaste and gel. They have other foaming agents in place of SLS so check the label if you want to know the agent in use. Some tooth pastes reportedly without tarter control or foaming agent are TheraBreath, Oxyfresh and CloSys. If you are prone to canker sores then avoiding foods such as chips or crunchy items that can abrade your tissue or highly acidic treats such as sour candies is suggested.

Treatment: We can prescribe a topical steroid to place directly on the sore. There is an oral rinse with a steroid component but we prefer the gel. It is best to place it early on and can decrease the intensity and duration of the ulcer.

Things not recommended:

  • Lasers
  • Cautery Agents (silver nitrate etc.)
  • Antibiotics

The good news: Canker sores are not contagious and are self limiting. Our recommendations can decrease the duration and severity of an outbreak. If you are not sure if a sore area is a canker sore, then do not hesitate to call for an evaluation appointment so we can determine the exact nature of the ulcer.