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Canker Sores


Canker Sores
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.26

     challenging words:    aphtha, burning, canker, carbamide, coating, fibrin, herpes, realty, stomatitis, ulcer, whatsoever, outbreak, teens, factor, lessen, numb

Canker Sores
By Jennifer Kenny

1     Have you ever had a canker sore? You would probably remember it if you had. This is a sore inside the mouth, cheeks, lips, throat, or on the tongue. It is quite painful. Some people confuse a canker sore with a cold sore or a fever blister, but it's not the same. Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus. Canker sores are not.
2     Canker sores are what most people call mouth ulcers. Doctors call them aphthous ulcers or aphthous stomatitis. Aphtha means ulcer. About one in five people suffer from them regularly. They are not contagious. However, they do run in families. What does that mean? If a parent in a family gets canker sores, there's a ninety percent chance the child will experience them as well. While anyone can get them, they are very common in teens and young adults. Women are more likely to get them than men.
3     What do canker sores look like? They start out as painful red spots. Many people say they know they are getting them because they feel tingling or burning before seeing them. When one appears, it is usually smaller than an inch. It may swell and burst in a day. Then it is an open sore. The open sore then has a gray, white, or yellow coating surrounded by a red boundary. This coating is due to layers of fibrin, a protein that works in blood clotting. More often than not, a person gets one canker sore at a time, but, unfortunately, some people do get them in small groups. Except for people with AIDS or other serious immune system problems, canker sores are rarely serious. Rather, the biggest complaint about canker sores is how painful they are, especially when eating, drinking, or brushing the teeth. People complain that the first three days are usually the worst, even though it often takes fourteen days for them to completely heal.

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