Canker Sores on the Lip

You may wake up one morning and without any warning, you see a small sore along the inside of your mouth or lip. Most likely this is a common canker sore, is not contagious, and typically resolves on its own or by administering simple home remedies. However, it can provide some discomfort and can get irritated further by foods you eat. Anyone can develop a canker sore, and in fact, they affect 20% of the population at one time or another. They tend to be more common in people ages 10-20 and are more prevalent in Caucasians.

Medically referred to as an aphthous ulcer, a canker sore on the lip appears more commonly on the inside of the lower lip. A key difference between a canker sore and cold sore is that the former occurs inside the lip, whereas the latter appear outside the mouth near the lips and secretes a clear liquid. If you develop a lesion inside your lip and are unsure what it is, consult reliable online sources such as medical/dental websites, online encyclopedias, or treatment websites. All of these will provide you with knowledgeable information and photos that can help determine if your sore is a canker or cold sore. For more information on the difference between these two types of mouth sores, click here.

Canker Sores on the Lip
Unlike canker sores, cold sores are associated with the herpes simplex virus. Learn more about the difference between canker sores and herpes.

Reasons for Occurrence

Canker sores can develop for many different reasons, including stress, food allergies, and underlying disorders. If your parents experienced canker sores, then you may inherit the propensity to develop them as well. Wearing dental braces, retainers, or mouth guards can cause these lesions to erupt by rubbing against and irritating the inner lining of the mouth and lips. For more information on underlying causes, click here.

Treating Lip Canker Sores

There are many over-the-counter topical creams and ointments that can help ease the pain and discomfort of a lesion on the lip. However, it is challenging to keep ointment or cream on the inside of the mouth because it is subjected to constant moisture. While a canker sore is not worrisome, it can sometimes take too long to heal and may result in a lot of pain. When ointments and other home remedies do not provide relief, the lesion may require a visit to your doctor, who will likely prescribe medication.

Preventing Lip Canker Sores

There are several ways to help prevent these lesions, especially on the inside of the lip where it can be quite painful. A few tips for prevention include:

  • Gargling with oral rinses (non-alcoholic)
  • Brushing teeth after meals
  • Proper dental hygiene
  • Healthy nutrition
  • Using toothpastes without sodium dodecyl sulfate (SLS)

Maintaining healthy oral hygiene and eating a balanced diet with proper nutrition and vitamins can help keep your mouth free of canker sores. However, rest assured that if you experience one, they are harmless and can usually be treated at home.

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