I’ve had a canker sore for five weeks, and it is not going away. I bought some Neosporin ointment at the drugstore for it. The sore is not worse, but it is not better either. It is still irritated and uncomfortable. Some foods I eat give me a lot of pain in the sore. And I wear dentures, so chewing is a problem anyway. Will the sore eventually go away? If not, what else can I use on the sore? Thanks. Jonah from Texas
Thank you for your question.
Most canker sores heal on their own within a week or two. If the sore is persisting and causing pain when you eat some foods, it is time to see a dentist. A dentist will examine the sore.
What Is a Canker Sore?
A canker sore is a small yellow, white, or gray sore inside your mouth with a red border. The sore may burn or tingle before you can see it. According to the American Dental Association, the cause of canker sores is unknown. However, genetics, stress, or certain foods may trigger the sores.
Several factors can cause a canker sore, including:
- Vitamin deficiency (zinc, B-12, iron, or folic acid)
- Oral injury
- Food sensitivity
- Sensitivity to sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste
- Emotional stress
- Hormonal changes
- Bacteria in your mouth
People who regularly get canker sores that are difficult to treat may have an underlying health condition.
How Do You Treat a Canker Sore?
Treatment for a persistent canker sore depends on the severity of the sore. Your dentist may recommend one or more treatments to help the sore heal, including:
- A prescription mouth rinse to reduce pain and inflammation
- A prescription paste to rub on the sore two to four times a day to speed healing and reduce pain
- Oral medication to assist healing
- Laser treatment to reduce the sore
See a Dentist for Accurate Diagnosis
Until you see a dentist, you cannot be sure that the sore in your mouth is a canker sore. Please do not let the sore linger without treatment. Sores that will not heal can develop into more severe issues that are more challenging to treat. Also, tell your dentist that chewing with your denture causes further irritation.
David Finley, DDS, a Monroe, LA, accredited cosmetic dentist and Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, sponsors this post.