What are Canker Sores

by Ishani Bose last updated -

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Canker sores, also known as Aphthous Stomatitis, refer to small white-colored ulcers that appear on the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, and the lining of the lips. They appear as a small spot that is white or yellowish in color and may have a gray center. They are well defined by a red outline and are 3 to 5 mm in diameter. As per the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, these sores can affect any age group and can recur frequently. They are not contagious in nature.

The healing period of canker sores can range from 8 to 10 days, where the sore can be very painful for 3-4 days, especially during eating, drinking, or speaking.



There are a number of causes which contribute to canker sores, including the following:

  • Heavy consumption of acidic or spicy food
  • Biting the inner portion of the cheek
  • Eating rough foods like chips and sugarcane, which might injure the soft tissues of the mouth
  • Deficiency of vitamin B12, folic acid, and minerals like iron and zinc
  • Medications were taken for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hereditary factors
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Trauma or injury
  • Allergy to certain food items
  • Menstruation
  • Sharp objects like braces or ill-fitting dentures


The symptoms of canker sores include the following:

  • Pain while eating and drinking
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Rough and discolored patches on the inside of the cheeks, lips, or on the tongue
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About the Author

An alumnus of St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, Ishani is a journalist-turned-content writer, with an avid interest in politics, history, fashion, food, health, arts, and culture. She is a food fanatic, who loves to try out interesting and healthy recipes in her free time. When she isn’t writing or cooking, you’ll find her Instagramming (more often than she’d like), wasting time on an assortment of things such as shopping, netflixing, and chasing her up-to-no-good pet cat throughout the house.

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