Canker Sores – What Are They?

Sometimes mixed up with cold sores, canker sores (also known as aphthous ulcers) manifest only on the inside of the mouth and are not contagious.

Canker sores are believed to have affected nearly twenty percent (one in five) of people. 

One can recognize these sores by their oval shape with a red border, and usually a white, gray or yellow center. Canker sores can be painful, but most will disappear by themselves in a few days to a couple of weeks.

Possible causes:

The actual causes of canker sores is unclear, though heredity is a part of it. Canker sores typically afflict people ages 10 to 20 years old and affect women about 2X as much as men. They often show up at the location of mouth injuries, and connections have been discovered between stress and canker sores. Links have been discovered between canker sores and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a chemical found in some types of toothpaste, as well. Finally, canker sores might be an indication of problems of the immune system.

Canker sores come in three types. While the majority of occurrences are minor canker sores, the other types are major and herpetiform canker sores. The Mayo Clinic has more to read about these other types on their website.

Treatment options

No form of treatment is usually needed if you are suffering with a minor canker sore. However, there are a few options to reduce further pain.

  • Refrain from eating spicy foods as well as those that could be scratchy or hard, as these will irritate the wound.
  • Consider using a toothpaste without SLS and don’t brush the sore with a toothbrush.

Ways to avoid getting a canker sore

  • Watch out for types of foods which irritate your mouth.
  • Be sure to get proper nutrition and are avoiding vitamin deficiency
  • For those of you with braces, orthodontic wax can protect your mouth from injury.
  • Reduce stress.

Check with Dr. Aerni or your doctor if you have a canker sore that is unusually large or especially painful, or one that doesn’t seem to heal.

Study Examines Reasons Dental Fillings Might Fail

A paper published in Frontiers in Medicine looked into composite and amalgam fillings along with a few of the factors which could lead them to fail.

Among the factors examined were sex, age, smoking, drinking alcohol, diabetes, periodontal health, and genes. The records of 4,856 patients from 5 years were included for the research project.

Below are a few of their findings.

Both filling types performed similarly, with composite fillings showing slightly more durability

Amalgam fillings are the traditional silver tooth fillings that have been used for more than one hundred and fifty years, while composite fillings are the modern, tooth-colored fillings. In the duration of their look into dental fillings, the researchers found that the rate of failure for composite and amalgam filings were about the same, with composite fillings performing just a little better. 

Fillings have a greater chance of failing for people who drink alcohol and men who smoke 

Drinking and smoking showed the most prominent link with the failing of dental fillings of the lifestyle choices looked at. After having dental fillings for 2 years, the failure rate was greatest in patients who were regular drinkers and in men who were smokers.

A person’s genetics may play a role in failed fillings

The study examined a gene for an enzyme that is found in teeth named MMP2 (matrix metalloproteinase). Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2) can impair the bond between a filling and tooth, according to them. An individual’s genetic makeup may, in the future, play a larger role in dentistry, they suggested. One of the researchers, Alexandre Vieira, said: “…genetic information may be used to personalize dental treatments and enhance treatment outcomes.”

The outcome of the study further enforces the idea that composite fillings should be seen as a good change from the older amalgam fillings. Dental patients might like to consider the correlation between lifestyle and dental filling failure, too.

If you haven’t had your dental fillings looked at recently, consider booking your next appointment with Dr. Aerni now.