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Let's Talk About Canker Sores

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

Canker Sore Blog Post
By N. Hugues

In our new blog series, we'll cover all topics related and adjacently related to the seldom talked about topic of canker sores. From your average canker sore to cold sores, to HSV 1 & 2, to oral health in general - Let's talk about it.

For today... Let's talk about the six main causes of CANKER SORES.

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are a common oral ailment that can cause discomfort, annoyance, and in severe cases... extreme pain. These small, painful ulcers can appear on the soft tissues inside your mouth, including your gums, tongue, inner cheeks, throat, and (God forbid) the uvula. While the exact cause of canker sores is argued at length, we have identified 6 top causes of the mysterious canker sore. We'll delve into these triggers briefly and expound on each individual cause in later blog posts. TOP 6 CAUSES of CANKER SORES: stress, hormones, injury, allergies, citric acid, and even the intriguing connection to COVID-19.

1. Stress: The Silent Aggressor

Stress is a well-known trigger for a variety of health issues, and canker sores are no exception. When stress levels soar, the body's immune response can become compromised, making it easier for these ulcers to develop. Stress-induced hormonal changes may also play a role in disrupting the delicate balance of the oral environment, creating an ideal breeding ground for canker sores to thrive.

2. Hormonal Fluctuations: The Gender Factor

Hormonal changes, especially among females, have been linked to the occurrence of canker sores. Many women experience canker sores the week before and during their menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or menopause. These fluctuations in hormone levels can disrupt the immune system's ability to regulate the oral environment, increasing the susceptibility to canker sores.

3. Injury: The Accidental Culprit

We've all done it! Happily eating and *crunch*, you bite in the inside of your cheek, lip, or tongue. Que the eyes welling with tears. Accidental injury to the delicate tissues inside the mouth, such as biting your cheek, using a toothbrush with hard bristles, or even accidentally piercing your gums with a sharp piece of food, can trigger the formation of canker sores. These small injuries can create an entry point for bacteria, making it easier for an ulcer to develop.

4. Allergies: When the Immune System Misfires

Certain food allergies or sensitivities can lead to canker sores. For instance, consuming foods that you're allergic to can cause your immune system to overreact and trigger the development of these ulcers. Additionally, toothpaste, mouthwash, or oral care products containing allergenic ingredients may also contribute to canker sore formation in susceptible individuals.

5. Citric Acid: We Love Our Tomatoes, Pineapple, and Oranges - But They Don't Love Us!

While citrus fruits are generally considered healthy, their high citric acid content can trigger canker sores in some people. The acid can irritate the delicate tissues of the mouth, leading to the development of ulcers. If you're prone to canker sores, it might be a good idea to limit your consumption of highly acidic foods and beverages.

6. A New Twist: Canker Sores and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a range of unexpected health complications. Emerging evidence suggests that some individuals who have contracted COVID-19 might experience canker sores as a side effect of the virus. The exact mechanisms behind this connection are still being studied, but it's believed that the immune response triggered by the virus could potentially lead to the development of oral canker sores in individuals who were not previously susceptible.

Canker sores are painful and frustrating, but understanding their potential triggers can help you manage and reduce their occurrence. Stress management techniques, maintaining a balanced diet, being cautious with oral hygiene practices, and identifying and avoiding allergens are all steps you can take to minimize the chances of developing canker sores. While the connection between COVID-19 and canker sores adds a new layer of complexity, ongoing research will hopefully provide more insights into this intriguing phenomenon. If you're consistently experiencing canker sores or have concerns about your oral health, consulting a healthcare professional or dentist is recommended for personalized guidance and treatment.

Canker Solutions specializes in quickly soothing, healing, and preventing canker sores. Check out our Systemic and Topical treatments to give you much needed relief.


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