Tag Archives: treatment for Canker Sores

Canker Sore or Cancer?

My husband complained that his mouth was hurting too much to eat. I thought he was just avoiding vegetables, but he didn’t eat dessert either. I took a peek and he has a horrible spot in his mouth that looks like his skin is getting eaten away. He’s sure it’s just a canker sore and thinks it will go away. I’m worried it’s oral cancer. Is there a way to know? Would we see an emergency dentist to find out?

Tea L.

Dear Tea,

Your husband’s dentist likely does an oral cancer screening at his check-ups. If he hasn’t seen any warning signs, then it is likely just a canker sore. These will generally clear up in about two weeks. There’s no reason for an emergency dentist yet.

There are over-the-counter remedies you can try which could help with some of the pain. While they make pads to cover them, quite a few patients have found that saliva makes it difficult to keep them in place. I’ve found relief (though only temporarily) with some numbing cream.

If you’ve found it hasn’t healed after a couple of weeks, then you can schedule an appointment with your dentist to have a peek at it. Not healing quickly doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cancer. It could just as easily be a virus or simply a canker sore taking a wee bit longer to heal, so I don’t want you stressing over it.

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