Canker Sores and Mouth Pain

can canker sores cause tooth pain

Canker Sores and Mouth Pain

If you’re experiencing mouth pain, a canker sore could be the culprit. Simple canker sores typically don’t last long, but a complex canker sore can cause long-lasting pain that may eventually lead to tooth and even jaw pain. 

At Prescott Dentistry, we treat a wide range of oral health problems and help our patients prevent them. Continue reading to learn more about canker sores, including their causes and the treatments available. 

Your Guide to Canker Sores

What Is a Canker Sore?

Also known as aphthous ulcers, canker sores are the most common type of mouth ulcer. A canker sore is a painful, open sore that develops on your tongue, gums, the roof of your mouth, under your tongue, or on the inside of your lips or cheeks. They typically appear as white or yellowish oval-shaped ulcers that have a red, inflamed border. They might cause a tingling sensation in your mouth. 

How Long Do Canker Sores Last?

There are two types of canker sores—simple and complex. Neither type of canker sore is contagious. Simple canker sores are much more common, less painful, and don’t last as long as complex canker sores.

Simple canker sores usually take one to three weeks to heal on their own, and any pain should subside in about a week. However, complex canker sores can last up to six weeks. If your canker sore lasts longer than two weeks, consult your healthcare provider. 

Can Canker Sores Cause Tooth and Jaw Pain?

Both simple and complex canker sores can cause pain when brushing your teeth or eating. Complex canker sores may result in a fever, fatigue, or sluggishness. They can also make the lymph nodes swollen, which can end up causing jaw and ear pain. 

What Causes Canker Sores?

Understanding what causes canker sores can help you take the right steps to reduce your risk of developing them. Common causes of canker sores include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Injuries to the inside of your mouth (like a bite or scratch)
  • Consuming too many acidic, salty, or spicy foods
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen
  • Wearing certain dental appliances such as braces or ill-fitting dentures that irritate the mouth

Causes of complex canker sores in particular include:

  • Autoimmune diseases like Lupus, Celiac disease, Behcet’s disease, and Ulcerative colitis
  • Allergic reactions to medications, foods, or dental care products
  • Nutrient deficiencies such as iron or vitamin C deficiencies 

You can lower your risk of developing canker sores by reducing stress and practicing good oral hygiene. Avoiding particularly acidic, salty, or spicy foods, and talking to your doctor about treating vitamin and mineral deficiencies will also help. 

Treatment for Canker Sores

Although canker sores typically heal on their own, it’s a good idea to see your doctor or dentist for treatment. In fact, you should absolutely contact your healthcare provider if your canker sore is unusually large, begins to spread, lasts longer than two weeks, is accompanied by a high fever, and/or causes difficulty eating or drinking. 

Your doctor or dentist may prescribe medication to relieve your pain and recommend one or more of the following remedies:

  • A mouth rinse containing dexamethasone, chlorhexidine, or hydrogen peroxide
  • Over-the-counter topical products such as benzocaine, hydrogen peroxide, or fluocinonide
  • Antibiotics with doxycycline
  • A corticosteroid ointment such as beclomethasone or hydrocortisone hemisuccinate
  • A prescription mouthwash 

Treating Mouth Pain in Prescott, Arizona

If you’re experiencing tooth pain from canker sores or another cause, contact Prescott Dentistry in Arizona. We’ll help you find relief with fast and effective treatment. We can also help you prevent canker sores and gum disease with professional teeth cleanings. Call 928-445-1660 today to schedule an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (8/17/2022). Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash