About Mouth Pain

What are canker sores?

Canker sores are those very painful sores inside your mouth–usually on your cheeks, tongue or floor of the mouth, but occasionally on your gums. They can be as small as a pinhead or as large as an inch in diameter.

Canker sores and cold sores/fever blisters are frequently confused with one another. The distinguishing factor is that fever blisters appear outside the mouth and require a different treatment than canker sores.


Who gets canker sores?

About one out of every five people get canker sores. They are most common among women 20 to 50 years old.


What causes canker sores?

Canker sores appear to be brought on by many types of stress – either emotional, physical or chemical. Emotional stress can be caused by any situation that puts you under pressure. Physical stress might be caused by an abrasion in your mouth, burns from hot foods or even biting your tongue or cheek. Chemical stress means anything that changes your body chemistry, such as an illness or a change in your eating habits. Acidic or spicy foods may also be a cause of canker sores.

Whatever the cause, if you get canker sores, you are likely to get them again. Fortunately, they are not contagious and they do go away. They usually last seven to ten days, though sometimes up to three weeks. If you have a sore in your mouth that isn’t getting better over time or seems to be getting worse, it’s important to seek medical attention.


What are the symptoms of canker sores?

Canker sores are open sores inside your mouth which expose the under layer of skin. As with any open sore, it hurts when it is touched. Because it is in your mouth, something is always touching it, like saliva, so the canker sore hurts most of the time with a burning and itching sensation.

The sore itself looks like a little crater, grayish-white in the middle and rimmed with bright red inflammation. As the sore begins to heal, or as your treat it with an anesthetic, the pain lessens.


Are there other types of sores that can develop in the mouth?

It is also common to develop mouth sores when there are injuries to the mouth from foreign objects. Corrective dental braces and dental instruments used to tighten braces can cause irritation and abrasions to tissue inside the mouth. Mouth sore pain can also occur with unstable or loose dentures which can rub and irritate parts of the inside of the mouth.


What can I do to prevent canker sores?

While there are many causes of canker sores and people who have a tendency to develop these sores cannot avoid them completely, dentists agree that good oral hygiene and a healthy diet can help minimize the effects of stress that trigger an outbreak.

Some mouth sore pain can be avoided through the appropriate care and cleansing of dentures and braces. Many dental professionals recommend disinfecting your dentures every night. Proper fitting and occasional adjustment of your dentures and braces will also help. Always talk to your dentist when your mouth sores do not heal or when you have a pain that lasts more than a few days.


If I get a canker sore, how do I treat it?

If you get a mouth sore, it is important to treat all the symptoms–the pain, the irritation and the potential infection. The best way to treat a mouth sore is:

1. Relieve the pain with an anesthetic.
Oral pain relief medications are available in a variety of different strengths. For most people, it is best to use a product with the maximum available level of a proven effective anesthetic, such as benzocaine.

2. Protect the sore with a product that coats and seals the sore.
Ordinary brands of mouth sore medication quickly wash off after application and do not protect the sore. However, an ideal medication adheres to the mucous membrane, forming a flexible coating. This protective film physically blocks contact with food and saliva to lessen irritation and help speed healing.

3. Apply the medication directly to the painful area.
Applying the medication directly to the affected area is the quickest and most effective way to treat a canker sore. A built-in applicator aids in precise placement of the medication and helps prevent infections by keeping unsanitary fingers out of the mouth.

4. Choose a medication that is recommended by health care professionals.
There is no better advice than your dentist’s. Acceptance by the American Dental Association (ADA) is also a sure sign of a product’s quality, because it means that a product has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.

Kank-A® Mouth Pain Liquid is an excellent canker sore medication that is ADA Accepted and specially formulated to provide all of the above benefits for the treatment of mouth sores.


How do I treat a toothache?

For temporary relief of toothache pain, look for a maximum strength mouth pain medication with a flexible applicator which can apply the medication both around and between the teeth.

A toothache should always be examined by a dentist as soon as possible.


How can I treat brace pain?

Brace pain can result from a number of causes, but two of the more common are abrasions and the pain associated from tightening or adjusting the braces.


1. Address the source of the problem.

If braces are rubbing against the soft tissue in your mouth, cover that portion of your braces with wax designed for use on braces. If you have persistent problems with the same area of your mouth, it is important to let your orthodontist know so they can make any necessary adjustments.

2. Apply a local anesthetic to the sore.

In order to get the medicine exactly where you need it, look for products with built in applicators. Also, consider using an oral pain reliever that forms a protective film over the sore for extended relief. Maximum strength Kank-A Mouth Pain Liquid and Kank-A Softbrush® are both excellent choices to treat individual sores caused by brace abrasions.

Brace pain due to adjustments or tightening

1. Taking an oral analgesic such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be effective for providing longer lasting relief of the deep aching associated with the adjustment of dental appliances. Always follow the label instructions when using any medications.

2. Applying a topical oral anesthetic can provide immediate, temporary relief from brace pain while waiting for the oral analgesic to begin working. Topical oral pain relievers are also a good option for use at bedtime to relieve discomfort and allow you to fall asleep.

Look for an oral pain reliever with an applicator that will reach to problem areas anywhere in the mouth and can easily “paint” medicine around your braces. Kank-A Softbrush is well suited to treat brace pain.


How do I treat denture pain?

Denture pain can result from a number of factors including poorly fitting or loose dentures, food or other foreign objects trapped under the denture or gum infections. It’s important to work with your dentist to identify and correct the underlying cause of the problem.

For temporary relief of denture pain, apply a liquid or gel oral anesthetic to the affected areas. Both Kank-A liquid and Kank-A SoftBrush contain maximum strength pain medication for quick, effective pain relief. Kank-A liquid provides the added benefit of a film former to help protect the irritated tissues.