Anyone – including people living in Hendricks County – at any age, can get canker sores. However, they occur more often in teens and young adults. Also, they’re more common in girls and women. Often, people who have a family history of the disorder will have recurrent canker sores.
A canker sore is a small, round mouth sore shaped like a crater on your tongue, on the side of your lip or cheek, at the base of gums, or on the roof of your mouth. They have a red border and a white or yellow center. Canker sores can be painful, making it hard for you to speak or eat. Unlike cold sores, they’re not contagious.
Doctors aren’t sure precisely what causes canker sores, but they believe a combination of things can contribute to their formation. While some people may experience an outbreak due to rare factors, here are the four most common causes of canker sores.
A deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals can make you more prone to getting canker sores. The vitamin issues often involve B-3 (niacin), B-9 (folic acid), or B-12 (cobalamin) deficiencies. Canker sore sufferers with mineral deficiencies often lack iron, zinc, and calcium. Even if vitamin and mineral deficiencies aren’t the specific cause of your canker sores, they can worsen the situation. Eating a healthy diet is the best solution to combat nutritional deficiencies. Or, you may want to consider taking supplements.
Injuries or trauma to the inside of your mouth can cause the formation of canker sores. One cause of these tiny ulcers is biting the inside of your cheek or lip. Another cause can be brushing too hard, which damages the delicate membranes inside your mouth. People who wear braces can develop sores when wires break and/or rub against the inside of the mouth. Hendricks County denture wearers can also get canker sores from loose-fitting dentures that rub against their gums. Additionally, canker sores can be caused by toothpastes or mouthwashes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which can damage the outer lining in your mouth.
Some acidic foods, like oranges, lemons, and tomatoes, can cause or trigger canker sores in some individuals. Additionally, spicy foods can also bring on canker sores, too. Other foods that can cause these irritations include strawberries, figs, apples, chocolate, and coffee.
Poor Immune System
If you have a poor immune system, you may be more prone to canker sores. Doctors don’t totally understand the connection between a poor immune system and canker sores. However, it’s thought that a weakened immune system can’t prevent a canker sore outbreak, nor can it help the sore to heal itself quickly. Additionally, gastrointestinal problems, like celiac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases, as well as other diseases like Behcet’s disease and HIV/AIDS, can contribute to the development of canker sores.
How to Treat Canker Sores
While most canker sores are painful for 3 to 10 days, typically, they will go away after 2 weeks. To treat your canker sores, you can rinse your mouth with salt water or an antimicrobial mouth rinse to reduce irritation. Or, you can apply an over-the-counter topical ointment and take pain relievers to provide temporary relief. Additionally, you should avoid any triggering foods or beverages.
You should see Dr. Jon Erickson at Danville Family Dentistry if your sores are unusually large, are spreading, last 3 or more weeks, are accompanied by a high fever, or are extremely painful when eating or drinking. Make an appointment by contacting our Hendricks County office at 317-745-4400. Don’t let canker sore pain keep you down!
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.