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Canker Sore Vs. Cancer

Excerpt: You should always be paying attention to your mouth since there is a lot...
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You should always be paying attention to your mouth since there is a lot it can tell you immediately in regards to your health. Your mouth often shows visual symptoms quite early on, this is your body’s way of telling you it’s time to adjust your behavior. However, if you ever see symptoms that appear as bumps, discoloration of the skin, or red spots, you should make a dentist appointment immediately. If it is something that isn’t serious you will have peace of mind, and if it does happen to be serious, you have a significantly better chance of treating it.

What Are Canker Sores?

Canker sores (also known as aphthous ulcers) are benign (harmless) mouth ulcers that can appear in various locations around the mouth. They are not contagious and usually resolve on their own without medical treatment in as little as 1-2 weeks. If the sore does not go away within this time, it is advisable to make a dentist appointment.

Canker sores can also reappear in some patients over a period of time, this phenomenon is referred to as Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis (RAS). Scientists are not entirely sure as to why canker sores appear, or reappear, however, some of the causes are believed to be:

  • Viral infection
  • Stress
  • Hormonal fluctuation
  • Food allergy
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiency
  • Immune system problem
  • Mouth injury

What Do Canker Sores Look Like?

Typically, they will look like a round spot with some discoloration in the center, which will be white, gray or yellow with a reddish outline.
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What Is Mouth Cancer?

Oral cancer can appear anywhere in the mouth, there is no specific location it is limited to, it can also affect the tongue, inner mouth, as well as inner and outer lips. Sores from cancer will usually not resolve on their own and will last longer than canker sores. If you have a sore that has not gone away in 2-3 weeks, it may be something more serious and you should make an appointment. The dentist will be able to diagnose it, or they may refer you to another specialist if it is out of their specialty. Cancer is much easier to treat, the earlier it is diagnosed. If you have anxieties or you are a habitual procrastinator, you should make an effort to get this diagnosed as early as possible.

Canker Sore Symptoms

Generally, canker sores will be painful and it may seem like a sharp burning sensation before they even appear, and while they are present. These sores are often more painful during activities like eating or drinking, it would be a good idea to stay away from spicy, acidic, or abrasive food and drink while you have a sore. Severe cases of canker sores can actually impact appetite due to the discomfort and pain while eating.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

Cancerous patches may or may not show symptoms of pain, however, some symptoms include:
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Painless swelling of one or both tonsils
  • A painless lump in the neck
  • A chronic cough, sore throat, or hoarse voice
  • Loose teeth
  • Ear pain

Any time you see a sore, or have significant acute (localized) pain, making a dentist appointment is highly advisable, if the sore does not go away within 2-3 weeks, it is critical that you make an appointment.

Canker Sore Treatment

A variety of treatment options are available for canker sores:

  • Good oral care
  • Healthy balanced diet
  • Topical medications
  • Anesthetics
  • Antiseptics
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs

If you do believe you have a canker sore, make the changes to your diet and oral routine, if these don’t work, then make an appointment to see what the doctor or dentist recommends for the medication. If the canker sore does not show signs of recceding by the 3 week you will need to make an appointment to check if it is oral cancer.
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