What Causes Canker Sores?

Canker sores are not only inconvenient but can be incredibly painful. They can vary in severity and causes, but the good news is there are ways to prevent them.

What is a Canker?

A canker forms on the soft tissue in your mouth or at the base of your gums. This can make eating and talking painful and challenging. Also called aphthous ulcers, they appear as small lesions and typically heal within a week or two. It’s important to know that canker sores are not contagious. If you feel a tingling or burning in your mouth, that may be the beginning of one.

What Causes Canker Sores?

From food sensitivities to mouth injuries, many things can trigger cankers. Emotional stress and hormonal changes can contribute as well. Vitamin deficiencies of folic acid, iron, or Vitamin B12 are also issues that can impact. Allergic responses and the bacteria Helicobacter pylori which causes peptic ulcers are also contributors.

Foods to Avoid if You are Prone to Cankers

If find yourself plagued with cankers often, avoid these acidic foods.

  • Citrus fruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Spicy foods
  • Coffee, the salicylic acid in it can cause irritation
  • Gluten, you may have undiagnosed celiac disease if gluten causes flares
  • Soda has corn syrup and phosphorus in it which can cause inflammation
  • Chocolate
When to see a Dentist or Doctor?

You should seek treatment if you develop a high fever, diarrhea, headache, rash. Or if you’re dealing with an outbreak, have large sores, or experience severe pain. If cankers are affecting your overall health or ability to function, please seek medical attention.

Treating Cankers at Home

Good oral hygiene is important to maintain when fighting a canker sore, as it will help prevent a bacterial infection. Honey also has antibacterial properties that may be useful. A warm water rinse with baking soda may also help with healing. Eating soft bland food, taking small bites, and chewing slowly will help limit irritation. If liquid causes pain, use a straw. Cold drinks also feel soothing in the mouth. You can even try using a piece of ice on your canker to help numb the pain. Using a Q-Tip to apply ambesol, oragel, or milk of magnesium and over-the-counter pain relievers can also be useful.

How to Prevent Canker Sores?

A simple way to prevent canker sores caused by mouth injuries is to chew your food slowly and carefully. Avoiding acidic foods will help as well as sharp food such as potato chips and hard bread crusts. Since stress can be a factor, it’s important to rest and use relaxation techniques like deep breathing, stretching, or anything you find that calms your mind. Remember to eat healthy foods with high iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 regularly. Good oral hygiene will also help prevention. Using a soft-bristle toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste, such as CTx3 gel, will help keep your mouth healthy and free from canker sores. This will help you enjoy a healthy and pain-free smile!

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