canker sores

How to Identify Mouth Cancer vs. Canker Sore

February 4th, 2016

How to Identify Mouth Cancer vs. Canker SoreFinding a strange change in your mouth can be scary. You might not know why a mark has appeared, how long it will be there, or what it is. Since it could be a variety of different things, ranging from harmless to more serious, it’s important to visit a dentist or doctor when you find an unfamiliar sore or spot in your mouth.
In the meantime, you might want to get a better idea of two common but very different types of oral issues that often get confused: mouth cancer and canker sores. Today, our dentists are going to break down the difference between mouth cancer and canker sores so that you can better identify what’s going on in your mouth.

What Mouth Cancer Looks Like

Surprising to many, mouth cancer can grow in your mouth just like it can anywhere else in your body. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), those who use tobacco and/or drink are more likely to develop mouth cancer, as are people over the age of 44 and, more specifically, men. HPV is also the leading cause of cancer at the very back of the mouth and throat (technically known as oropharyngeal cancer).
Mouth cancer typically affects your cheeks, lips, tongue, or throat. It usually shows up as flat, white patches on any of those areas. These patches are made up of cells that can lead to cancer. Mixed red and white patches and bright red patches are also signs of trouble.
Mouth cancer patches can be rough and hard to scrape off. These areas can also be benign, but it’s always important to have a dentist check to make sure. also notes that painless ulcers, or canker sores, that don’t heal can be a form of mouth cancer.  The ADA suggests getting your mouth checked out if signs and symptoms of mouth cancer persist after two weeks.
Finally, cancer in the throat may cause symptoms such as difficult or painful swallowing, a swollen but painless tonsil, an ongoing sore throat or hoarse voice, a painless lump on the outside of your neck that has been there for at least two weeks, and constant coughing, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

What Canker Sores Look Like

Unlike mouth cancer, minor canker sores are virtually harmless, except for the annoying discomfort they can cause your mouth. They may be caused by several things, including stress, hormonal shifts, food sensitivities, and toothpaste, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The defining difference between canker sores and mouth cancer is pain. Canker sores can be extremely painful. Thankfully, the pain tends to lessen over a few days, and the sore usually heals up by itself within two weeks.
Canker sores also look different than patchy mouth cancer. A canker sore looks like an ulcer or sore. They are typically round with a depressed center and may appear to be white, grey or yellow. The outer rim of the canker sore is typically red.
If you have a canker sore that doesn’t heal within three weeks, you should see a dentist, according to Mouth cancer can appear in the form of an ulcer.
Do you have a sore you would like us to take a look at in Chicago? Contact Water Tower Dental Care! We’re experts on identifying mouth cancer vs. canker sores.

What's a Canker Sore? How to Get Relief

April 10th, 2014

what is a canker sore reliefPainful and intrusive, the canker sore is a annoyance that no person ever wants. Between the ages of 10 and 20, you have a high probability you’ll get a few canker sores a year that will last up to a week at a time. For adults, complex canker sores are always a possibility, though more rare. So what are canker sores, why do we get them, how do we find ourselves some relief?

Also known as apthous ulcers, cankers sores will appear on the inside of the mouth either on the tongue, soft palate, or inside your cheeks. Canker sores look like a shallow white and red bump which, after a day or two, can break and leave a white wound, similar to a blister. Though it can be an irritating situation, generally, a person with a canker sore will not receive any other symptoms.

How Do Canker Sores Happen?

There are several reasons scientists believe we get canker sores. Vitamin and nutritional deficiency is believed to be linked to canker sores. Reason being most trouble with the outermost layers of the skin in the human body is caused by vitamin deficiency. It is recommended that anyone who gets canker sores often should try to take more vitamins, especially B-12 which can help reduce soreness.
Stress and injury can also cause painful canker sores. If you may have eaten something that could burn or scrape against the lining of your mouth, or perhaps had an intense visit to the dentist, a canker sore can appear after the fact. Brushing too hard or using harsh mouthwashes can also cause stress in the mouth, which can lead to canker sores.
Though it’s good to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, sometimes a citric, highly acidic, fruit like a lemon or grapefruit can cause irritation that leads to a canker sore. Though fruits are not the actual cause of a sore, they can easily irritate and worsen an area, which can then cause the stress that leads to canker sores.
Last, a poor immune system can drastically affect the amount of time you have a canker sore. With a weak immune system, your body cannot repair the area of canker sore quickly. The more time the canker sore is an open wound, the more chance of irritating and elongating the sore.

Is There Any Relief?

Canker sores generally will last about a week with two of the days the most irritable then lessen for a few more days. Most canker sores will be gone within a week.
If a canker sore does not diminish and continues to irritate you, a dentist can prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse or ointment that can help reduce the pain. It’s also recommended to avoid acidic foods, consume more B-12 vitamins, and brush your teeth gently to keep pain to a minimum.
A natural remedy that often offers pain relief from sores is to apply a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water to the canker sore with a Q-tip. Then, use a small amount of milk of magnesia and cover the sore. This will soothe the painful area and help speed the healing process.
For the most part, canker sores are an inconvenient waiting game, and there is little to do about them. Much like a 24-hour flu, the best medicine is time.
If you have any more questions about canker sores, do not hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental. We are more than happy to assist our patients with any of their questions.