Canker Sores - Topic Overview
What is a canker sore?
A canker sore is a shallow sore shaped like a crater (ulcer) on your tongue or on the inside of your lip or cheek. Canker sores have a red border and a white or yellow center. They may be painful and can make it hard to talk and eat. You may have one or more than one canker sore at a time. Unlike cold sores, you cannot spread canker sores to other people. See a picture of canker sores .
Anyone can get a canker sore, but women, teens, and young adults have them more often. Most people have canker sores at some time in their lives, and some people have them regularly.
What causes a canker sore?
The cause of canker sores is unknown, but they tend to run in families. Canker sores are not contagious.
Canker sores may also develop when you:
- Are stressed or tired.
- Have your menstrual cycle, if you are a woman.
- Hurt your mouth, such as biting your lip.
- Have braces on your teeth.
- Have food allergies. Eating foods that you are allergic to may cause you to get a canker sore.
- Eat or drink food or juice that has a lot of acid, such as orange juice.
- Do not get enough vitamins or minerals in your diet, such as iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid..
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom of a canker sore is getting a shallow ulcer on your tongue or on the inside of your lip or cheek. The sore may be large or small, and it will have a red border and a white or yellow center. You might have more than one canker sore at a time.
Canker sores usually begin with a burning or tingling feeling. They may be swollen and painful. Having a canker sore can make it hard to talk or eat.
Canker sores may hurt for 7 to 10 days. Minor canker sores heal completely in 1 to 3 weeks, but major canker sores can take up to 6 weeks to heal. Some people get another canker sore after the first sore has healed. Most canker sores heal without a scar.