Archive for the ‘Canker Sores’ Category

Canker sores in children can be a pain

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Child brushing teethGetting canker sores is a real pain in the butt! And for little kids, they can be painful – making drinking, eating and even brushing teeth a difficult task. One in five people get these uncomfortable mouth ulcers, which can occur inside the mouth, cheeks, lips, throat or even on the tongue. Although these can often be confused with cold sores, they aren’t contagious and usually go away overtime. Here are some ways to avoid these uncomfortable sores or prevent them from coming back.

If you have canker sores, chances are your child will too – they have a 90 percent chance! While luckily they aren’t harmful, no one is really sure where they come from. However, one’s diet is likely to exacerbate the occurrence of them. Children are often very difficult eaters, so getting them to eat food that will prevent canker sores can pose a challenge. These often show up because our diets lack enough vitamin B12, folic acid and iron, and if your child has food allergies, they are even more likely to pop up.

Canker sores can also be caused by minor trauma in the mouth such as a cut in the mouth. So if a child accidentally bites the side of their mouth, it could turn into a canker sore later.

What is a canker sore?

Canker sores come in three different varieties, although the most common is minor. If you notice a small, red spot that can reach up to an inch in diameter – but is commonly much smaller – this is a canker sore! It will feel tingly or burn a little, and over time it will swell up, burst and leave a “open” wound. This can get really sensitive especially when eating citrus or hot foods. Often times it takes about two weeks for a canker sore to heal completely, but it usually will only be bothersome for the first three to four days.

Prevention

If your child is prone to canker sores, you may want to switch their toothpaste to something without sodium laurel sulfate. This is the detergent in toothpaste that makes it foam up, but it actually isn’t good for us. It tends to cause dry mouth, so eliminating this detergent from your child’s regular routine could help with problems later in life. Dry mouth may seem minor, but it can lead to bad breath and other oral health issues later in life.

It is important to make sure your child is practicing good oral hygiene everyday. Some children loathe the time they have to spend in the bathroom brushing and flossing, but getting them used to the habit at a young age will help them greatly later in life. Parents can brush their teeth at the same time as children so they are brushing and flossing for the correct amount of time, and they’ll have a good influence to look up to.

When your child has a canker sore, using a cotton swab with peroxide on it can help kill bacteria and encourage a faster healing process. You can also try a rinse mixture by combining 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide and 2 ounces of water, or 4 ounces of water with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda. If your child doesn’t like the taste – who could blame them – you can also use a wet black tea bag. Tea contains tannins that will relieve the pain in the sore.

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Canker Sores are more likely to cause Halitosis than Stomach Ulcers

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The science of halitosis is constantly evolving. Things that were once considered the main causes of bad breath have often fallen by the wayside, as research has proven them to have little or no connection to oral odor. Consider this situation: You have two kinds of ulcers – aphthous ulcers (also known as canker sores) and a stomach ulcer. Which one is causing your bad breath?

It’s tempting to immediately choose the stomach ulcer, and for many years, oral health experts did just that. They knew that most halitosis comes from odor-causing bacteria (which is true), so they assumed that bad breath came from the stomach and digestive tract.

Today, though, we know that this simply isn’t true. In fact, a new study published in the Journal of Breath Research confirms as much.

Stomach ulcers hurt (but don’t stink)

Scientists from three different health centers in the Netherlands set out to see whether the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers – a nasty little beast called Heliobacter pylori – can also emit enough volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) to make breath smell bad.

It can’t.

As the Dutch team noted, “the concentrations of the VSCs in stomach air were in nearly all cases below the thresholds of objectionability of the various VSCs, indicating that halitosis does not originate in the stomach.” Hence, stomach ulcers can’t cause oral odor.

“Halitosis,” the authors added, “nearly always originates within the oral cavity and seldom or never within the stomach.”

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Today’s Canker Sore Treatments Beat the old ones

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

If you get a canker sore, you’ve got a wealth of modern treatment options at your fingertips. You can gargle a specialty alcohol-free mouthwash to neutralize the odor or, for a deeper clean, rinse with a periotherapy product. In a pinch, you can even gargle salt water! But it wasn’t always this easy. In the 1800s, canker sore treatments were a little more, shall we say, unpleasant.

One of the weirder and more instructive reads you’ll find on the matter is Samuel North’s The Family Physician and Guide to Health (Waterloo, NY: 1830).

Pages 109-110 are all about canker sores, and the discomfort and bad breath they cause. If you were to follow Mr. North’s advice on canker sores, these are some of the many odd remedies you might try:

– Wash them with soapsuds.

– Rinse with strong tea.

– Apply a pinch of cayenne pepper (yowch!), followed by a poultice of white bread and ginger soaked with tea.

– Hold on a piece of eggshell until it sticks, then let it naturally fall off after several weeks.

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A Look at Canker Sores

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Few things evoke a wincing quite like the mention of a canker sore.  Not to be used confused with cold sores (although those are equally disliked) canker sores are those annoying and painful sores that develop in your mouth, making it hard to eat, drink and even talk when they are at their prime. Canker sores are fairly common and short-lived (although it doesn’t seem like it while you have one). Here are some articles that discuss these pesky sores and how you can avoid them.

Having a canker sore is hard to ignore. A canker sore is an erosion of the inner membranes of the mouth and along with pain; they can also cause bad breath. What causes a canker sore? They occur because of bacterial infections but sometimes a small cut or other vexation is the culprit for inviting this microbial growth. What is the best way to try to avoid canker sores? Stay away from mouthwashes and toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or alcohol. These ingredients can irritate and dry out your tongue, checks and gums which can lead to inflammation of the delicate tissue in your mouth where canker sores occur.  These inflammations may attract bacteria, leading to a canker sore. Avoiding products with these ingredients can reduce your risk of getting an aphthous ulcer (which is what a canker sore is). If you do get canker sores frequently, you aren’t alone. An article in the British Medical Journal stated that canker sores are the most common condition of the mouth’s membranes in developed countries. Also, don’t worry about spreading the sores to your friends – they aren’t contagious.

Looking for another way to possible eliminate getting canker sores? David Zabriskie, a 32 year old road bicycle racer that participated in his sixth Tour de France this year told the UK Daily Mail what he plans to do to stop canker sores. He’s gone vegan! Not only has eliminating eggs, dairy products and meat from his diet and replacing them with protein-rich seeds and rice stopped his canker sores and saddle rash, but he also stated that this change in diet has actually boosted his performance. Is this just a rare occurrence that David is lucky enough to reap the benefits of? According to several sources, it has been noted that dietary changes can help stop and treat canker sores. Specifically, a study in the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine found that by increasing one’s vitamin B12 levels can help to heal canker sores more quickly. No doubt a change in Zabriskie’s diet gave him a boost of B12, which is also known for increasing energy. Experts still aren’t fully endorsing becoming vegan to eliminate canker sores, but it could be a healthy side effect of making the switch. Rather, since these aphthous ulcers are caused by irritation, dentists are telling patients to avoid oral care products that contain harsh chemicals like SLS and alcohol which can inflame the tissue of the cheeks and gums where canker sores often appear.

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Toothpaste

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Toothpaste Basics and Commonly Available Options

Toothpaste or dentifrice refers to a substance, such as a paste, gel or powder, used for cleaning and polishing teeth. Dentifrice is the most commonly used consumer product for maintaining the aesthetics and health of teeth in children and adults (1, 4). It has multiple functions, including removing plaque, limiting halitosis and  applying fluoride to the tooth structure.

Certain active ingredients in toothpaste also impede tooth disease and gingivitis (1, 4). Used in conjunction with a toothbrush, toothpaste enhances the mechanics of brushing, cleaning and polishing with a toothbrush and enables it to reach accessible teeth surfaces (1, 4).

The History of Toothpaste

Research suggests the ancient Egyptians began using toothpaste for oral hygiene around 5000 BC. At nearly the same time, Roman and Greek residents started using toothpaste. Around 500 BC, the populace occupying the regions of India and China also gravitated to the practice of using dentifrice. Like modern humankind, these people used the earliest forms of toothpastes for cleaning their teeth and gums, and eliminating halitosis.

The ingredients in early toothpastes differ from culture to culture. The Egyptians used a combination of  ingredients, including burnt eggshells, ox hooves’ ashes and water. Various powdered mixtures prevailed up to the early 1800s. The modern era of toothpastes began when soap was added to the product, giving it a paste form.

In the 1850s, consumers could buy toothpaste packaged in jars; Colgate started this method of packaging its product in 1873. In the 1890s, Colgate transitioned to selling toothpaste in tin/lead tubes– similar to the toothpaste dispensers used today.

In 1914, manufacturers started adding fluoride to toothpaste. During World War II, a shortage of lead/tin, and leakage of the metal alloy into toothpaste, caused a switch to plastic tubes. Soap remained an ingredient in toothpaste up to 1945. Subsequently, it was replaced with sodium lauryl sulfate.

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