A Guide to Canker Sores

Although canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are common occurrences they can also be annoying and painful. Read on to learn more about them and how to treat them.

What are Canker Sores?

Canker sores are small, round, painful ulcers that can occur on their own or in groups usually on the inside of your lip or cheek. These sores never appear on the outside of your mouth. They are white or yellow with a bright red surrounding area. Before an episode occurs, a tingling or burning sensation will be felt followed by a bump that will open into a sore. This sore will usually last for 7-14 days. The cause may be associated with stress, injury, low B12 levels, though their cause is still unknown.

When it comes to canker sores, there are three types: minor, major, and herpetiform ulcers.

Minor ulcers: Are the most common form, and are small round or oval ulcers. Each minor sore usually lasts about seven-10 days and does not leave a scar.

Major ulcers: These ulcers are rare, and tend to last from two weeks to several months, and often leave a scar. They can be very painful and eating may become uncomfortable.

Herpetiform ulcers: These ulcers are very rare, and often form in clusters. Each sore lasts about one week to two months. Despite the name, these ulcers are not connected to herpes in any way.


Do not consume acidic or spicy foods that will cause the sore to burn more. You could also try an at-home formula, rinsing with a 1:1 mixture of Maalox and Children’s Benadryl (the adult one contains alcohol, which can sting or dry your mouth). This will help coat the sore and provide pain relief. Applying Anbesol (which can be purchased from your local pharmacy) on the sore can slightly numb it. You can also try a product that canker sore sufferers swear by, which is called Eco-Dent Oral Wound Cleanser. This product is an alcohol-free blend of 12 Essential Oils with CoQ-10, Echinacea, Goldenseal, and Baking Soda. Not only will it help soothe your sores but it’s great for your gums and breath!

For more information on canker sore treatment or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Plotnick at her Williamsburg office, contact us today at 718-942-9942