If the information you seek is not below – check out Dr. Griffin’s later Ulcer Video here:


Canker sore got you Cranky?

Those nagging sometimes very painful mouth ulcers also called canker sores, we’ve all had them but how do we get them to go away and prevent them? There are two types of ulcers: traumatic and recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Traumatic ulcers are normally caused by biting the cheek or tongue, sharp teeth, brushing too hard, or poorly fitting dentures. Traumatic ulcers are usually singular and go away on their own. Minor ulcers are the most common and appear on the inside cheeks, lips, tongue and gums about the size of a pencil eraser.  Aphthous ulcers are usually larger and reoccurring and can be severe, even occurring on the tonsils. Also unlike the traumatic ulcers, which are normally singular, aphthous ulcers usually appear in multiples.




            Although there is no known cause of ulcers there have been studies done that show several things that exacerbate the occurrence of ulcers:


  • changes in hormone levels
  • stopping smoking
  • lack of iron and certain vitamins such as B12 and folic acid
  • food allergies (rare)
  • stress and anxiety
  • some medications (Nicorandil, oral nicotine replacement, Alendronate, dissolvable tablets, anti-inflammatory)


It was also found that ulcers were more prominent in people with certain diseases such as: Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease, HIV, and Behcet’s disease.  These ulcers are not considered aphthous.




            Pain?  You can’t eat. You can’t drink.  You can’t even brush your teeth without pain….  So how do you get your ulcer to go away and get back to eating and drinking the things you love? There are several methods of treatment for ulcers although some may need no treatment and simply heal on their own. Some general remedies are to avoid spicy foods, acidic drinks, salty foods; drink with a straw, use a soft bristle tooth brush, and use a salt mouthwash. In addition to these general remedies, there are also some over the counter medications that will help with the healing process.


  • Chlorhexidine mouthwash: this mouthwash helps to heal the ulcer more quickly. Overuse could cause a brown coloration in teeth and some toothpaste could inactivate the mouthwash.
  • Steroid lozenges: work best with early, new ulcers. (Corlan® pellets)
  • Soothing protective pastes: (Orabase®) helps to cover the ulcer temporarily to protect it.
  • Painkilling oral rinse, gel, spray: Short-lived pain relief.


If none of these treatment options alleviate the pain or the ulcer shows no signs of healing, you should see your dentist and you can get prescribed treatment. Some of these treatments include painkillers, steroid inhalers (beclometasone), and steroid tablets or antibiotics (doxycycline).  If your ulcer hasn’t healed within 3 weeks you should go see your restorative dentist, as this could be a sign of an underlying illness or disease including cancer of the mouth that sometimes starts as an unusual mouth ulcer that doesn’t heal.  If you can get control of the pain with the OTC medicaments, then it is about 10-14 days – and it will resolve on its own.