Friday, April 21, 2017

What Are Canker Sores And How To Get Rid Of Them

Eagle Valley Dental
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What Are Canker Sores And How To Get Rid Of Them

There’s hardly anything more irritating than a canker sore. Sure, they’re tiny, and only last a few days, but wow, when you’ve got one, just about every word spoken and every bite taken hurts like “all get-out.” You know that feeling, right? So, what exactly are those little buggers, and how in the world can you ease the pain fast? We’ll fill you in, and share our “canker-sore-be-gone” grocery list that’ll help save the day.

A Canker, Defined.

To know the medically proper name for a canker sore is to understand why the heck it hurts so much.  A canker sore is actually an ulcer. An “Aphthous Ulcer,” to be exact. These mighty painful ulcers come in two forms, minor and major, and are surprisingly experienced by only about 20% of the U.S. population. Aren’t we lucky?!

Minor cankers (common in people between the ages of 10 and 20), are the smaller of the two, as the name would suggest, and last about 7-10 days. Major cankers can last from two to six weeks, have noticeable depth, and often have irregular borders. This type of sore is more common after the age of 20, and is essentially a recurrent canker, returning to a site previously impacted by a minor canker.

Why You Get Canker Sores

While cankers affect both genders, women do tend to get them more often, likely because of hormonal fluctuations, and the vast majority of people in general are believed to get cankers due to genetic tendencies. Some people notice they have certain triggers that result in these little ulcers, with items that are spicy, salty, or abrasive topping the list. So, if you’re prone to getting canker sores, you might wish to limit your intake of spicy potato chips.

If you’re among the unlucky 20% of people gifted with canker sore genetics, there is hope! You can arrest the pain and speed up the healing process with a short shopping list:

Defeating Canker Sores 

  • Rinses (use one of the below rinses four times a day)
    Hydrogen Peroxide – Equal parts peroxide and water
    Salt and baking soda – Add a half teaspoon of both to 4oz. of water
  • Numbing Agents
    Brands like Orajel® and Kank-A® can provide relief
  • Protective Pastes
    Milk of Magnesia – dab on a cotton swab and use four times daily after the hydrogen peroxide rinse.
    Baking Soda and Water Paste
  • Antimicrobial Mouthwashes
If you have a sore lasting beyond the two-week mark, make an appointment to see your doctor to evaluate your case. Prescription medications might be necessary, and can help bring the relief you’d no doubt be seeking should one last that long.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Break out the Helmets and Mouthguards, April is Here!

Eagle Valley Dental
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Break out the Helmets and Mouthguards, April is Here!

Break out the bike, the skateboard and the rollerblades … Spring is here … just don’t allow your kids to break their face while they’re at it. No doubt, they’re looking forward to dusting off their sports equipment and getting active outside again. And since April is facial protection month, we want to be sure they hit the pavement (so to speak!) safely. Let’s explore!


Sure, they can be clunky and in the heat of summer, a little on the warm side. But they can also save your child’s life.  In recreational sports where research has been conducted for years to determine safety rates, helmet use has been estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85 percent. With those kinds of numbers, you’d have to be silly not make sure your child never leaves the house without one.

The type of helmet your kids should wear depends on the type of sport they’re involved in. Here’s a great guide from the Consumer Product Safety Commission that covers the exact type of helmet that should be worn for a host of sports, along with general instructions on obtaining proper fit. It’s also important to note there are special recommendations for children’s helmets, so be sure to inquire about recommendations specific to your little ones


The American Dental Association estimates “a full third of all dental injuries are sports related… and that, the use of a mouthguard can prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth each year.” And, the risks of playing sports without the necessary protection aren’t just related to teeth loss: a harsh impact to the jaw can even wreak havoc on your little one’s jaw, or cause a concussion that could have otherwise been avoided.

If your kids are involved in any sort of sport activity where contact with another player - or the ground - is possible, you'll want to ask your dentist about obtaining a custom-made mouth guard. Such mouth guards are affordable, and last several years with good care. They're your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your children’s teeth during sporting events.

Custom-made guards are far superior to the "boil and bite" guards you've probably seen in your local sporting goods store, and are made using a process similar to that used when making an orthodontic retainer. Essentially, a custom mold is made of the teeth, and the resulting product is a guard that fits the mouth and teeth like a  tailored suit would fit your little one’s body. Variations in the preparation and specifications of custom guards are dependent on the type of sports they're involved in, as well as their age and overall dental health. A consultation with your dentist can provide you with the insight you need to decide which kind of appliance is the best for your child’s needs.

So, have fun out there this spring, and be safe. We all love you and your whole family with your teeth in place, and your head on straight!

Visit our Pediatric Services Page for more information and videos.