Canker sores can be very painful especially when you drink or eat something. About one in every five persons have recurring canker sores also known as mouth ulcer. The first question which arises are canker sores contagious or not. Many people assume that it can spread if you share food or kiss another person. But as a matter of fact it is not at all contagious. It is not caused by any virus as in case of cold sores.
Canker sores are round shaped with a white or yellow center and a red boundary which generally appear inside the cheeks or lips, at the base of gums or under the tongue. These sores mostly last for a week or two and during this period eating food can be really painful. Major canker sores may take up to six weeks to disappear and may leave scars.
Combination of several factors can lead to canker sores. Major causes of canker sores are
- Injury in the mouth due to cheek bite, dental work and even improper brushing especially if you are using toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Change in hormonal levels can also lead to canker sores especially during menstruation.
- One of the most common cause of canker sores is malnutrition. If your diet is lacking folic acid, iron, zinc or vitamin then you have higher chances of having canker sores.
- Certain bacterias like helicobacter pylori and immune system reactions can cause lead to canker sores.
- Another major cause of canker sore is emotional stress. Lack of sleep and tension can contribute to the development of canker sores.
- Allergy to certain foods like milk, chocolates, coffee, eggs, nuts and acidic foods like orange or pineapple.
In most cases mouth ulcers usually heal within 1 week without any treatment but if the sore is not healing even after 2 weeks then you can try several treatment options which are listed below.
- Applying topical pastes containing anbesol, lidex and amlexanox on the sores can help relieve from the pain and speeds up the healing process.
- Put a small amount of milk of magnesia on the canker sore regularly after every few hours.
- Taking nutritional supplements such as vitamin B6, folic acid and zinc can help in healing the sores and reducing the chances of recurrence of canker sores.
- You can also apply silver nitrate to reduce the pain but it does not reduce the healing period.
- If you have several canker sores then you can use mouth wash containing steroid dexamethasone to reduce the inflammation.
Since the question of are canker sores contagious is answered you can relax. It is not a matter of major concern but still can be very painful to the extent that you can’t eat or drink. It is better to avoid spicy foods when you are having canker sores to avoid the pain. If you are having recurrent canker sores then you can take several preventive measures to avoid it like maintain a good oral hygiene, use a soft brush to prevent irritation. Avoid foods like nuts, spices and foods which are highly acidic. If the sores are caused due to stress then try to reduce it by meditation.