If you’re part of the 20% of the population that gets canker sores, then you know how painful they can be. These small round sores are often found on the inner cheeks, lips, tongue, gums, and roof of your mouth, and they can make it difficult to chew or even speak. Unfortunately, the exact cause of canker sores is still unknown. However, we do know a few things that can exacerbate the issue. Read on to learn what could be triggering these painful sores, and how you can best avoid them!
1. Physical Damage or Injury to the Mouth
Because canker sores are so painful, it may come as no surprise to you that they can often be a result of injuries to the tissue in your mouth. Whether you’ve hurt yourself during a game, rubbed your cheek against your braces, or even just brushed a bit too hard, these injuries can lead a canker sore to develop over time. To help protect your cheeks and gums, make sure you have orthodontic waxes or a mouth guard to wear as needed.
2. Certain Toothpastes or Mouth Rinses
You might be surprised to learn that many toothpastes and mouth rinses contain an ingredient that’s also found in household soaps and detergents. The ingredient? Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). This ingredient can be pretty harsh, and has been known to irritate your cheeks and gums and even break down the protective lining of your mouth. Therefore, if you’re prone to canker sores, make sure you purchase a toothpaste or mouth rinse that doesn’t contain SLS (which can be found at Whole Foods, Walgreens, Safeway, and even Amazon).
3. Your Diet
If you get canker sores often, it is possible that you’ve been eating foods that can irritate your mouth. These foods can include anything from spicy foods, to coffee, to chocolate, to chips and pretzels—essentially any foods that are highly acidic or damaging. It’s also possible that you’re not getting enough vitamins and nutrients in your diet, as those who don’t get enough B-12, zinc, folic acid, and iron are more likely to endure canker sores. Therefore, just make sure to have a well-rounded diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to ensure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.
4. Hormonal Changes and Stress
The systems in your body are all interconnected. So when you have shifts in your hormones—during your menstrual cycle, for example—the symptoms can manifest elsewhere, even as canker sores in your mouth. You’ll also find that increases in your stress hormone, cortisol, can exacerbate canker sores as well. Thankfully, most canker sores go away after a couple weeks.
5. Certain Conditions or Diseases
Unfortunately, canker sores can often result from other conditions and diseases. If you suffer from Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, Behcet’s disease, or conditions that impact the immune system (such as HIV/AIDS), you may often encounter canker sores as a side effect. Be sure to speak with your dentist and physician to learn how you can best manage your symptoms and protect your mouth from these painful sores.
In the end, one of your best defenses against canker sores is a solid dental hygiene routine—including regular visits to your dentist!
To schedule your next check-up, call Aurora Dental Group today.