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Canker Sores

Also called: Aphthous ulcers

Summary

Canker sores are small, round sores in your mouth. They can be on the inside of your cheek, under your tongue, or in the back of your throat. They usually have a red edge and a gray center. They can be quite painful. They are not the same as cold sores, which are caused by herpes simplex.

Canker sores aren't contagious. They may happen if you have a viral infection. They may also be triggered by stress, food allergies, lack of vitamins and minerals, hormonal changes or menstrual periods. In some cases the cause is unknown.

In most cases, the sores go away by themselves. Some ointments, creams or rinses may help with the pain. Avoiding hot, spicy food while you have a canker sore also helps.

Learn More

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Logical Images)
  • (American Academy of Oral Medicine) Also in
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation)
  • (American Academy of Oral Medicine) Also in

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Patient Handouts

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