Pregnancy Canker Sores
Pregnancy is an incredibly exciting and special time in life; however, it can also come with a few uncomfortable changes to a woman’s body. Many women experience pregnancy-related oral health issues such as canker sores, also known as apes ulcers, during pregnancy – here are a few facts about these common pregnancy woes.
What are Canker Sores?
Canker sores are small and painful shallow ulcers that typically form on the soft tissues inside the mouth and on the tongue. They can also appear on the gums and occasionally on the inside of the cheeks. Canker sores can range in size from as small as a pinhead to as large as a quarter.
Causes of Canker Sores
Canker sores can be caused by an array of things including:
- Accidentally biting the inside of the cheek or tongue
- Eating foods that are too spicy or acidic
- Poor nutrition
- Hormonal changes/imbalances
The exact cause of canker sores is still unknown, however the research suggests that pregnancy-related hormonal fluctuations often contribute to their appearance.
Treatments for Canker Sores
Fortunately, canker sores are not as serious as other oral health issues, and don’t need to be treated by a dentist or a physician. Many women find relief by following these simple treatments:
- Avoid spicy or acidic foods: Women should be mindful of their diet while pregnant, as spicy and acidic foods may worsen canker sore symptoms.
- Salt water rinse: Rinse your mouth with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of salt mixed with 8 ounces of warm water. This can help reduce inflammation, keep the mouth clean, and prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with canker sores.
- Prescription topical creams and pastes: Your dentist or doctor may prescribe topical creams or pastes to reduce symptoms and speed up healing time.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Canker sores usually heal on their own after a few weeks, with proper care and attention. However, it is important to be aware of the signs that canker sores may be more serious, in which case you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Signs of a more serious canker sore include:
- Bump on the lip
- Very painful or large sore
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Sore that does not heal after four weeks
Pregnancy is a very exciting time and can take its toll on the body. Canker sores can add additional discomfort, however there are many treatments that can help reduce the symptoms and speed up healing time. If you experience any of the above symptoms or feel like something is not quite right, it is always best to consult with a physician or dentist for a proper diagnosis.
Canker sores are a common side effect of pregnancy and can cause a lot of discomfort; however, there are many simple treatments available that can provide relief and speed up healing time. If the canker sore doesn’t heal on its own, your doctor or dentist can provide treatments that can help.
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