Canker Sore On Lip: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment And Prevention
Almost every one of us has personally experienced canker sores, at least in their minor form. Usually, a single shallow white ulcer with red edges or, more rarely, red with a white coating, develops on the inside part of the cheek or lip. Occasionally, the disease affects the individual’s gums, the roof of the mouth, or even tongue. Furthermore, canker sores might appear in a group of several aphthous ulcers, when the disorder is caused by a severe infection or allergy.
This time, I want us to learn more about by far the most common type of mouth ulcer, which is the canker sore on the lip.
How Can I Tell that an Ulcer on My Lip is a Canker Sore?
To start with, carefully examine the ulcer you have noticed on your lip. If it is white, with hardly visible red edges, this is the canker sore on the lip. In addition, some patients recall that the area inside their lips seemed to burn approximately 24 hours prior to the appearance of the actual mouth ulcer in that spot.
A minor canker sore on the lip is usually small enough, not more than two millimeters in radius, with a regular round shape. An obviously larger advanced aphthous ulcer commonly becomes irregular in shape as a result of its constantly increasing swelling.
By far the most discomforting symptom of a canker sore on the lip is the pain, which gets worse after eating spicy foods. The painful sensation gets stronger as the oral condition keeps progressing. This, together with major inflammation, naturally results in difficulties in chewing and even swallowing.
As the inflammation associated with the canker sore on the lip gets worse, fever and muscle fatigue symptoms emerge. These are warning signs requiring immediate professional medical aid.
Is Canker Sore on the Lip Contagious?
Since there is firm evidence of whole families developing aphthous ulcers, the canker sore on the lip has long been thought to be a contagious oral disease. This theory has been firmly supported by the infectious nature of mouth ulcers, which has been proved. That is why there is a widespread conviction that patients with a canker sore on the lip must strictly avoid kissing.
However, oral care professionals nowadays associate mouth ulcers that run in families with a genetic pattern and, thus, believe aphthous ulcers not to be a contagious disorder.
What Causes Canker Sores on the Lip?
Even though the theory about the viral nature of canker sores on the lip is proven to be irrelevant today, medical care providers stress that oral bacteria or fungus should not be underestimated as possible causes of mouth ulcers.
Apart from that, there are certain factors that make an individual highly prone to develop a canker sore on the lip.
First, there are immune system and gastrointestinal tract disorders. This means that patients with AIDS, cancers, Crohn’s disease, or even ulcerative colitis are at high risk of developing canker sores on the lip.
In addition, swift changes of hormone profiles are also linked to unexpected development of canker sores on the lip. This leads to the recurring mouth ulcers in teenagers in adolescence, as well as women a few days prior to their menstrual periods.
For the same reason of lowered protection barriers in the oral cavity, canker sores on the lip might be linked to deficiency in zinc, iron, folic acid, and / or vitamin B-12, or even continuous emotional stress.
However, oral care providers increasingly associate mouth ulcers with food allergies or individual reaction to medicines. What is more, there is evidence that some people develop canker sores as a result of using certain dental care products.
For instance, sodium laurel sulfate, which is among the components of the majority of commercial toothpastes, not only assists active foam formation, but also irritates the oral cavity soft tissues. This makes the SLS trigger canker sores on the lip. The same damaging effects on mouth tissues are widely associated with fluoride, a common component of commercial mouthwashes.
Finally, note that even minor oral cavity soft tissue injuries provide easy access for oral bacteria and fungus and, thus, are likely to lead to canker sores on the lip.
How to Treat Canker Sores on the Lip?
Since a canker sore on the lip normally heals on its own in no more than two weeks, oral care providers rarely prescribe medications for their treatment. However, if your mouth ulcers are too large or painful, your dentist is likely to prescribe you a steroids-based medication to relieve the discomfort.
Otherwise, use natural and homemade pastes and mouth rinses to alleviate the associated inflammation and pain. The most popular ones are magnesia, baking soda, or merely salt water mouthwashes with the added antibacterial effect. Supplement your daily diet with vitamin B12 and vitamin C to speed up the healing of a canker sore on the lip. Opt for SLS free, preferably herbal, toothpaste and do not press too hard on your toothbrush in order to avoid damage to the mouth ulcer.
How to Prevent Canker Sores on the Lip
It is not that easy to prevent canker sores as there are so many causes for them. You need to find out what triggered your case of canker sore and try to prevent a second outburst. If you suffer from frequent attacks, it’s better to maintain a diary to note down the possible causes for each outbreak.
You can then analyze the data collected to find out the causes and avoid them to prevent future attacks. These preventive measures also help prevent future outbreaks.
– As stress, fatigue and anxiety are all potential triggers for canker sores, you need to relax and take some rest to prevent them.
– Don’t eat food in a hurry, and chew your food carefully so that you don’t bite the inside of your mouth, tongue or lips.
Repeated injuries in the same spot can put you at a higher risk of contracting canker sores.
– As fruits and vegetables like strawberries, tomatoes, lemons and apples have high acid levels, it’s better to restrict their consumption if you suffer from frequent attacks of canker sores.
It’s also better to avoid these foods when you have canker sores as they only irritate them.
– Spicy food should be avoided to prevent aggravating existing canker sores and triggering new sores.
– Don’t chew too much chewing gum as constant chewing builds up acid contents in your mouth. An acidic environment in the mouth promotes canker sore development, which is why it’s better to restrict chewing gum if you have a predisposition to canker sores on your lips.
– Like any other dental problem, you need to maintain optimal oral hygiene to prevent canker sores on the lip. Brush with a soft toothbrush to avoid irritating and scratching your mouth tissues and even inflicting cuts on the lips. Daily flossing, brushing with a soft toothbrush and using toothpaste that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate helps prevent canker sores and minimize their outbreaks.
Finally, remember that a healthy diet, oral hygiene, and lifestyle will help you to prevent canker sores on the lip.