What is a canker sore?
Aphthous stomatitis, AKA a canker sore, is the formation of small ulcers located inside of your mouth. Canker sores are benign and non-contagious, and are typically located at the base of the gums in soft tissue. Although they may not be contagious or harm others, they can be painful and extremely annoying. They pop up out of nowhere and never seem to go away. Canker sore symptoms: a canker sore is a round or oval-shaped ulcer with a white center and a red border. They leave your gums feeling sore, and often cause a tingling or burning sensation when eating food.
What causes a canker sore to form?
Well, there isn’t a defined answer for this question. The causes of canker sores are not clear, but several doctors believe they can form from multiple things.
Common causes of canker sores:
- Vitamin deficiency: Children are more susceptible to canker sores than adults, and lots of children neglect eating their vitamins. Vitamins are important for kids because they are consistently growing and their bodies demand more vitamins than adults. As a result, some doctors reason that a vitamin B-12 deficiency may be a cause of canker sores in children.
- Stress/Injury: Any stress or injury located inside your mouth may be the root cause of a canker sore formation. Anything from brushing too hard, biting your gums, harsh mouthwashes, or eating something that causes bruising can lead to the tiny ulcers. If you are susceptible to canker sores, also try avoiding toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Weak Immune System and Chronic Illnesses: Individuals with a weak immune system are more susceptible to canker sores than those that are healthy. Although there is no specific correlation between canker sores and the immune system, a weak immune system cannot repair the ulcers as quickly as a healthy immune system, which is a valid reason to consider it being a contributing factor. There are also a few other conditions and diseases that have been linked to cause canker sores: Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, Behcet’s disease and more.
- Acidic Foods: Many fruits that are known for their health benefits can actually cause or worsen the condition of canker sores owing to the fact they are highly acidic. Apples, berries, figs, grapes, lemons, limes, pineapples, etc. should be avoided if your gums are already irritated or cut. Your gums may react to the acidic nature of the fruits, leading to burning sensations and perhaps canker sores.
How to get rid of them
There are several home remedies that people claim to work really well with ridding canker sores. Here is one home remedy that many people have tried with success. But if nothing seems to work, you may need to see your dentist.
Here’s a list of when you should visit a doctor for a canker sore:
- Unusually large canker sores form
- Recurring sores
- Long-lasting sores, lasting three weeks or more
- Pain that cannot be remedied by self-care
- Difficult time eating or drinking
- High fever, or sickness with canker sores
Canker Sore Prevention
Preventing a canker sore is a tough challenge because it can form from multiple sources. Despite that, we’ve created a short list of precautions you can take.
How to prevent canker sores:
- Reduce stress. If your canker sores seem to appear when you’re stressed out, learn to use stress-reducing techniques. Stress could be oral-related from eating foods that irritate your mouth. Or it could be from emotional stress.
- Eat healthy. Any nutritional deficiency may cause canker sores, so eating a balanced diet will help combat this problem.
- Keep up with your oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day and flossing is sufficient for oral health care. If you have sensitive gums, use toothbrushes with soft bristles.
- Protect your mouth. If you play contact sports, wearing a mouthguard is crucial to protecting your teeth and mouth. If you have braces that cut your mouth, or have sharp edges, ask your dentist about waxes to cover them up.