About Dr. Sandeep Reddy

Dr. Sandeep Reddy (BDS) is a Dentist at Shifa Dental Care, Bangalore. A specialist in Endodontics, he has one year of medical experience as a Dentist.

What Are Mouth Canker Sores – The Basics Behind The Problem

Do you often feel a burning sensation on a part of your tongue, the insides of your cheeks, or on the roof of your mouth? Stay safe, because you just might be facing the initial signs of mouth canker sores.

mouth canker sores

Stress is one of the most common causes of mouth canker sores.

Mouth canker sores usually start out with these minor symptoms, and later manifest as painful ulcers. Doctors call these sores “aphthous ulcers” to distinguish them from cold sores that appear on the lips or along the outer edges of the mouth. Adolescents are more likely to develop mouth canker sores as are people who suffer from excessive stress.

How Do Mouth Canker Sores Form?

While the precise cause behind such sores is not clearly known, it is an accepted fact that some forms of tissue injury or stress can lead to their formation. The consumption of acidic vegetables or fruits such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, pineapples, and strawberries may trigger the appearance of mouth canker sores. Dentures that do not fit well or teeth braces may also lead to canker sores, and sometimes, the sharp edge of a tooth may lead to injuries that result in these sores.

The human body needs a lot of vitamins and minerals in the right proportions to keep functioning normally. These nutrients play a major role in the metabolic cycles and therefore, a deficiency of these may lead to certain conditions – of which, one is mouth canker sores. Many people with nutritional deficiencies – especially of vitamin B-12, folic acid, zinc, and iron develop canker sores. Similarly, those with celiac disease, immune system-related disorders, or Crohn’s disease may also suffer from such painful sores more often than people without such disorders.

Physical exhaustion or mental stress are likely to set off mouth canker sores. Women undergoing their menstrual cycle and teenagers are also more likely to develop these sores. Sometimes, a food allergy may be the cause of these sores too.

Identifying Mouth Canker Sores

Mouth canker sores are often confused with cold sores, but the major difference between the two is the location of the sores.

While canker sores typically appear within the mouth cavity, cold sores are almost always located on the outside – on or around the lips or below the nose or chin. Cold sores are blisters that are filled with liquid and because they are the result of a viral infection, they can easily spread from one person to another. Mouth canker sores do not spread in this manner, as they require a trigger from within the person’s body to make an appearance.

Here are a few symptoms to help you identify if you have mouth canker sores:

  • A tingling sensation in certain parts of the mouth, followed by the appearance of sores
  • Painful sores on the inner sides of the cheeks, on the tongue, or the back part of the mouth
  • Round mouth sores that appear grey or white in color and often have a red colored border
  • Sores accompanied by high fever, tiredness, and swollen lymph nodes

Mouth canker sores may not have serious medical implications but they can be painful, to the extent where they can impair a person’s ability to eat and speak. While the exact cause of these canker sores is unclear, there is at least some information available about what can trigger them. By avoiding these triggers, it is possible to reduce their incidence and avoid the discomfort that they cause.

Canker Sores Treatment – Some Tips On Removing The Sores

Mouth canker sores treatment is actually a misnomer because there is nothing much that can be done to completely heal the sores.

But there’s still hope – you can successfully reduce the pain and discomfort that the sores cause. When left alone, a canker sore will stop hurting after a few days and gradually disappear. However, it can be quite painful during the initial stages and you could try a few of these remedies to find some relief.

canker sores treatment

Preparing a mouthwash with herbs like sage is effective for canker sores treatment.

Canker Sores Treatment – Remedial Measures You Can Try

Use Ice Over The Sore

Ice has the capacity to numb the sensation of pain and reduce the inflammation, and this is what makes it the first line of treatment in any form of injury. When it comes to canker sores treatment, ice can help reduce the pain, although temporarily.

Place an ice cube within your mouth, in contact with the sore, for pain relief. If this is not comfortable, try rinsing your mouth with water that is ice-cold instead.

Use Over-The-Counter (OTC) Products

Check if your local pharmacist has any OTC products that can help you overcome the pain of canker sores. But do this once you’ve consulted your physician, so that you choose the right products for quick recovery.

Some antiseptic creams, mouthwashes, or lozenges that contain antibacterial compounds or a mild local anesthetic like Xylocaine or Benzocaine may help reduce the pain and prevent the sore from getting infected further.

Prepare Your Own Mouth Rinse

Certain herbs such as sage and aloe have curative properties that help with canker sores treatment. Wash a few leaves of the aloe plant and draw out the juice from the inner, succulent part of the leaf. Apply this juice very gently on the canker sore using a cotton swab three to four times in a day and you will find some relief.

Crush sage leaves and apply the powder or the paste directly over the sore. You can also keep sage leaves in boiling water for 15 minutes and use this liquid as a mouth rinse a few times during the day.

Another option would be to prepare a mouth rinse with a teaspoon each of baking soda and table salt combined, and 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide.

Use A Home Remedy

Most homes have Milk of Magnesia (serves as an antacid) and the cough syrup Benadryl. Mix these in equal quantities and using a small piece of cotton, apply the mixture on each sore. The ingredients present in the antacid will help in keeping the sores wet and this reduces the discomfort caused by their drying out. The Benadryl also helps numb the sensation of pain. However, it is vital that you do not allow the liquid to drain down into the throat, because this could numb the reflexes of the windpipe.

What If These Canker Sores Treatment Options Don’t Work?

Despite these measures for canker sores treatment, if you don’t find any relief or only find the sores persisting beyond a week with no reduction in their intensity, it is time to see a dentist. Sometimes, a person may have a lesion in the mouth that looks like a canker sore but does not hurt, but this could be indicative of some other serious problem such as oral cancer.

Regardless of whether your sores hurt or not, if they persist beyond a few days, it is best to consult a qualified health professional who can clarify the cause of the sores and prescribe the right drugs for canker sores treatment.

How To Prevent Canker Sores – A Checklist For Good Health

Canker sores are ulcers that are usually formed within the mouth. During activities such as brushing teeth, eating, or speaking, when the sore comes in contact with your objects like the tongue or the brush, you are bound to experience a sharp, agonizing pain. While no one knows for sure how these sores form, there is some information available about the probable triggers that cause them. Understanding these triggers is important to know how to prevent canker sores from recurring time and again.

how to prevent canker sores

Learn how to prevent canker sores with a few simple measures.

How To Prevent Canker Sores – Foods To Stay Away From

Certain foods are known to lead to the development of canker sores because of their contents – too much acid, spice, or repeated friction against the inner surfaces of the mouth. For example, vegetables such as tomatoes, and fruits such as oranges, limes, strawberries, and pineapples are high in acidic content. For this reason, people with a tendency to get canker sores should avoid consuming such foods as far as possible.

How To Prevent Canker Sores – Some Simple Tips

  • Follow A Healthy Diet: Deficiency of vitamins such as folic acid and vitamin B-12, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium has been linked to mouth canker sores. Eating healthy, balanced meals that contain sufficient amounts of minerals and vitamins can help keep canker sores at bay.
  • Take Good Care Of Your Teeth: Food debris trapped between the teeth may also trigger mouth canker sores, so it is vital that you brush and floss regularly. The effectiveness of your dental care regimen also depends upon the type of toothbrush and toothpaste you use. A toothbrush with hard bristles can brush against the gums and the inner surfaces of the lips or the palate, causing injury that triggers mouth canker sores. Similarly, toothpastes or mouthwashes that contain a certain compound (sodium lauryl sulfate) with foaming properties have been known to increase the probability of mouth canker sores, as this compound causes the oral surfaces to dry out and makes them more susceptible to injury and irritation.
  • Cut Down On Chewing Gum: If you chew gum often, you may develop canker sores because the gum causes irritation to the surfaces of the oral cavity. If you cut down on the amount of gum you chew, you are likely to see fewer and less severe episodes of oral canker sores.
  • Eat Unhurriedly: Occasionally you may develop canker sores when you hurriedly bite down hard on your tongue, lips, or cheeks instead of the food. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that you set aside sufficient time to eat in a relaxed frame of mind.
  • Monitor Your Intake Of Prescription Drugs: Observe if certain drugs you take set off the occurrence of sores. Chemotherapy drugs, beta blockers taken for high blood pressure, and prescription painkillers belonging to the class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are all known to increase the incidence of canker sores. Consult your doctor for useful alternatives.
  • Avoid Other Triggers: In some people, canker sores may be triggered by a food allergy. If you consume something you are allergic to, it could lead to these painful ulcers. Maintain a food diary to find out if your mouth sores are linked to eating particular foods, and once you find a connection, avoid those diligently.

These measures can largely reduce the chances of suffering from oral canker sores. However, if you find that your sores keep recurring, or appear to spread from one part of the mouth to another, or last for a long time, a dentist or a physician can tell you how to prevent canker sores by diagnosing their underlying cause.

Tooth Decay In Children – The Most Common Causes And Symptoms

Most people are extremely careful about the health of their children, and ensure that they receive vaccinations and protect them from catching infections. However, there is one area that parents tend to neglect until they find their kids crying in pain – the teeth. Tooth decay in children is a very prevalent and often neglected condition.

Thanks to present-day eating habits and the indulgence of parents, this problem is growing increasingly common. In order to protect your kids from the condition, it is important that you understand the most common causes and symptoms of tooth decay.

The Causes Of Tooth Decay In Children

Tooth decay in children arises from the same major cause as in adults – bits of food that stick to teeth turn into acid due to the action of bacteria in the mouth and over time, this causes the tooth surface to corrode, leading to cavities.

tooth decay in children

To avoid tooth decay in children, it is important to brush their teeth twice a day.

When you do not brush your teeth regularly, at least twice a day, the layer of plaque that builds up over the tooth enamel is not removed properly, increasing the likelihood of an acid attack on the tooth.

This is one of the reasons why tooth decay in children is quite likely, because very young kids sometimes skip brushing teeth unless parents enforce it very strictly. Besides, children consume greater quantities of sugary foods such as cake, cereal that is sugar coated, chocolates, and cookies and the high levels of sugar provide an open invitation to dental cavities.

In some families, parents with tooth decay pass on the bacteria to their kids through the saliva when they eat with the same fork or spoon or when they affectionately kiss their little ones. These are the primary causes of tooth decay.

The Symptoms Of Tooth Decay In Children

Early detection of tooth decay in children can be quite difficult for anyone other than a dentist. The first thing to look for is a dull, white band that appears close to the base of a tooth, where it erupts from the gum. In some children, the teeth may be peppered with brown specks. As the decay progresses, your child may complain of one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Toothache that ranges from mild to severe and occurs when chewing food or (in the later stages of decay) even at rest
  • Black spots on the teeth
  • Pain in the teeth that increases on consuming cold or hot food or drinks
  • Sensation of pain while brushing or flossing

If your child has severe tooth decay, there may be an infection and formation of pus at the tooth’s base and this often manifests as a deep, throbbing pain in the tooth. Some kids may also develop a swelling in the jaw, along with mild fever.

Just like other aspects of your child’s health, it is vital that you pay attention to his or her teeth. Do not ignore dental problems believing that they will go away when your child loses his baby teeth and grows permanent ones. Tooth decay in children can lead to problems with the jaw and in turn, affect their ability to speak and articulate with clarity – which is why it’s important that you adopt tooth decay treatment measures.

The Causes Of Tooth Decay – What You Might Be Doing Wrong

It is common knowledge that sweet and sugary foods cause tooth decay or cavities. But that’s not all – the causes of tooth decay can range from dry mouth to acid reflux.

When you consume sugary food, a part of the it always remains stuck to the teeth and the bacteria present in the mouth convert this sugar into acid. This acid can eat away the enamel of the teeth and such erosion is one of the most common causes of tooth decay. Based on the amount of damage done to the teeth, dentists gauge the various stages of tooth decay.

The Most Common Causes Of Tooth Decay

While you can try and avoid eating sweet food items, there are several other ways in which sugar can find its way into your mouth, leading to tooth decay. 

causes of tooth decay

The causes of tooth decay include soft drinks and fruit juices, which contain sugar in high amounts.

Artificially Sweetened Foods

Some food items don’t contain sugar in its direct form, but are laced with artificial sweeteners like corn sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which are equally (if not more) dangerous.

A high concentration of fructose can cause a greater loss of minerals from the teeth, making them weaker and more prone to decay. 

Fruit Juices

Sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose are common ingredients in fruit juices, and these count as one among the primary causes of tooth decay.

Fruits like grapefruit, limes, and oranges are rich sources of citric acid, which aggravates the damage inflicted on the tooth enamel. Such fruit juices are common causes of tooth decay and are best avoided.

Dry Mouth

People with bad breath suffer from tooth decay, mainly because they use mouth fresheners to rid themselves of the odor. But such mouth fresheners normally contain alcohol, which causes the mouth to dry up.

Not only does this worsen the initial problem of bad breath, it also leads to the reduced secretion of saliva. As a result, the bacteria in the mouth stick to the teeth for much longer, increasing the possibility of tooth decay.

The next time you find a dry mouth irritating, don’t suck on candy to keep your mouth wet – it will only aggravate the problem and add on to the causes of tooth decay. 

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a condition in which acid from the stomach escapes into the esophagus and then makes its way into the mouth. This ranks among the main causes of tooth decay.

Also called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, this condition can be recognized by the most common symptoms, which are nausea and heartburn. The acid that reaches the mouth can corrode ‘the enamel of the teeth, leading to tooth decay. 

Sports Drinks And Diet Sodas

If you are very cautious about avoiding carbohydrates, you may still expose your teeth to acid from other sources.

The sports drinks that you rely on to re-hydrate after sessions of intense exercise contain artificial sweeteners, but these may not cause cavities, because the true culprit is the acidic nature of the preservatives that the drinks contain.

Diet sodas that are marketed as sugarless usually contain such acids (through preservatives), and these substances are even more likely to cause tooth decay.

Now that you’ve learned about the direct and indirect causes of tooth decay, it is vital to pay attention to the food items that you consume. When it comes to liquids, there is perhaps no healthier and safer alternative to plain water. As for dry mouth and acid reflux, it is best to consult your physician to see what measures you can adopt to get over these conditions. Early detection of tooth decay symptoms is important if you want to prevent extensive damage to your teeth. Make sure you visit your dentist for a regular check-up to identify problems before they can cause irreparable damage.

Pinched Nerve Treatment – A Look At Risk Factors And Treatment Options

When it comes to pinched nerve treatment options, you’ll have a good variety to choose from, based on the severity of your condition.

Pinched Nerve Treatment Options You Can Try

Pinched Nerve Treatment Option #1: Adequate Rest

The first line of treatment for a pinched nerve is rest. Adequate rest is often prescribed for people who exhibit early and minor pinched nerve symptoms, as it will easily curable in such a stage.

When you experience the typical symptoms of a pinched nerve, immediately stop using the affected part of the body and wait for the pain to subside. This should bring some temporary or permanent relief, depending on the progression of the condition.

Pinched Nerve Treatment Option #2: Medications

If taking ample rest does not work, consult a doctor who will prescribe painkiller medication to alleviate the pain. This is usually the second line of treatment that is administered.

In patients with severe inflammation, doctors may also prescribe corticosteroids for immediate relief.

pinched nerve treatment

Physical therapy is a common pinched nerve treatment option

Pinched Nerve Treatment Option #3: Physical Therapy

Some patients may require physical therapy or chiropractic treatment to remove the stiffness present in the affected region.

Often, this needs to be followed up with appropriate exercise to allow faster recovery. Splints and collars are sometimes necessary to provide support to areas that have been affected by weakness.

Pinched Nerve Treatment Option #4: Surgery

In cases where the nerve is too damaged, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the bone, cartilage, or other parts that are placing pressure on the pinched nerve.

In order to fully understand the condition before evaluating your treatment options, you’ll have to learn about the risk factors of a pinched nerve.

What Are The Risk Factors For A Pinched Nerve?

Although it is possible for anyone to develop a pinched nerve due to a nerve injury, certain factors that have been mentioned below predispose individuals to this condition:

  • Gender: Pinched nerve leading to carpal tunnel syndrome is thrice as more likely in women as compared to men.
  • Excessive Strain: People who perform certain activities repeatedly (including movements of the wrist, hand, or shoulder) are more likely to suffer from a pinched nerve.
  • Bone Spurs: These may result from a thickening of the bones in the spinal cord and put pressure on the adjoining nerve, leading to a pinched nerve.
  • Poor Posture: Adopting a wrong posture while sitting, walking, standing, running, and sleeping can put pressure on the nerves and cause them to be compressed.
  • Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis: People who suffer from these conditions are also likely to be affected by a pinched nerve.

Once you’re well aware of the condition and can spot the obvious symptoms your body is exhibiting, you can consult a physician to discuss your pinched nerve treatment options.

The Most Common Pinched Nerve Symptoms And The Causes Behind Them

At some point in life, you’re sure to have experienced pinched nerve symptoms – at least some mild ones without ever knowing what the condition actually is.

Have you ever felt your hand go numb sometimes, just for a few seconds?

Have you felt a tingling sensation in your hands or feet?

These signs are occasionally experienced by most people. However, if you find that this happens very frequently and sometimes experience pain too, it could be an indication of a pinched nerve. Not to worry, though, as you can manage the condition through pinched nerve treatment measures.

Back To The Basics – What Is A Pinched Nerve?

‘Pinched Nerve’ refers to the condition in which a single nerve or a set of nerves in a particular part of the body suffers from some injury.

This injury may be due to excessive stretching of the nerve or even because of nerve compression.

What Causes These Pinched Nerve Symptoms?

If the bones, muscles, cartilage, or the tendons that surround the nerve press down on it, it leads to a buildup of pressure on the nerve. As a result, the nerve will be unable to perform its normal function, and this in turn manifests as weakness, a tingling sensation, or numbness and even pain in the affected areas.

Besides a specific injury to the affected site, a pinched nerve can be a result of several other different conditions such as:

  • Obesity
  • Poor Posture
  • Sports Injuries
  • Osteoarthritis

When the nerve is compressed for a short duration, the symptoms generally disappear after some time. If the pressure does not get relieved over a long period of time, however, there are chances of permanently damaging the pinched nerve, and this should be instantly treated.

pinched nerve symptoms

Chronic pain is one of the primary symptoms of a pinched nerve

How Do You Recognize Pinched Nerve Symptoms?

If you can note a few of the conditions given below, you might be experiencing pinched nerve symptoms.

  • Loss Of Sensation: Reduced sensation in a particular area, along with numbness
  • Tingling Sensation: A tingling sensation that lasts for a long period of time
  • Chronic Pain: Sharp and severe pain that appears to move outwards from the point where it originates
  • Muscular Weakness: Muscular weakness that causes the affected part to twitch periodically

These are the most common pinched nerve symptoms. If the symptoms seem to get worse when you lie supine, then you can be sure that you’re suffering from a pinched nerve. Do consult your physician for further diagnosis and treatment.