Causes of canker sores & how to help reduce them
Do you ever get canker sores? Also known as mouth ulcers, these are little crater-like welts that can appear on the inner lining of the mouth, tongue or lips. Although usually harmless they aren’t too fun and can cause pain or irritation. In this article we look at the causes of canker sores and importantly, how to relieve canker sores.
Causes of Canker Sores
The science around canker sore causes isn’t 100% clear. There are a few things that are thought to trigger these little outbursts, but in reality why they come and go when they do changes from person to person. If you find yourself affected here are a few things to watch out for in daily life:
- Particular food groups: There are a few different types of foods that may cause mouth ulcers. These include rough edged foods, chocolate, wheat, spicy or very hot foods and citric acid (as found in lemons, limes, oranges etc)
- Mouth irritation: Think poorly fitting dentures or a defective filling that rubs against the side of the cheek. Accidentally biting your cheek can have a similar effect
- Certain types of toothpaste: Some toothpastes contain sodium lauryl sulphate and experts believe this could be one cause of canker sores
- Stress and anxiety: Health professionals also think stress and anxiety might play a role in causing this problem
- Hormonal changes: Having more or less of certain hormones can be one cause of canker sores on the tongue, mouth or lips. Women sometimes develop mouth ulcers around the time of their monthly menstruation and are more susceptible during pregnancy
- Stopping smoking: While quitting smoking is great for your health, it can have this unfortunate side effect. If mouth ulcers are making it difficult to give up cigarettes talk to a healthcare professional for advice.
Health professionals also think stress and anxiety might play a role in causing mouth ulcers.
Those are some of the key causes of canker sores. If you think you might be at risk watch out for the symptoms: a painful sore or sores inside your mouth (on the tongue, lips, soft palate or inner cheeks). If you find them, there are a few things you can do that may relieve canker sores. Here are our top answers to the question ‘how to relieve canker sores?'
- Switch to a toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulphate
- One good way to relieve canker sores is to avoid the foods mentioned above. While possibly causing mouth ulcers, these food groups may also exacerbate them when present
- Another good possible way to relieve canker sores is to clean your teeth with a soft brush and maintain good oral hygiene
- Cover the ulcer in a protective paste as recommended by your pharmacist
Hopefully after a week or so ulcers will go away on its own. However if they do seem to reoccur often or if you have an ulcer or multiple that are very red, painful or long-lasting (over three weeks) always see a dentist or doctor for further advice.
Canker sores can be caused by rough food, chocolate, wheat, hot/spicy foods or citric acid: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Mouth-ulcer/Pages/Introduction.aspx, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/002187075690154X
Canker sores can be caused by poorly fitting dentures, a defective filling or biting your cheek http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Mouth-ulcer/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Canker sores can be caused by sodium lauryl sulphate http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Mouth-ulcer/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Canker sores can be caused by stress and anxiety http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Mouth-ulcer/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Canker sores can be caused by hormonal changes http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Mouth-ulcer/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Canker sores can be caused by stopping smoking http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Mouth-ulcer/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Canker sores can be relieved by cleaning your teeth with a soft brush and maintaining good oral hygiene http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Mouth-ulcer/Pages/Introduction.aspx
The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist if you are experiencing any mouth issues.