Even though they are usually not life-threatening or risky, there are sores and other lesions that can appear unexpectedly and cause pain and discomfort. Ulcers can be that type of cold sores, often appearing out of nowhere to disrupt our normal lifestyle. Among ulcers, canker sores are one of the most common. Even though experts have a good idea of what the most common canker sore causes are, it’s difficult to pinpoint a precise culprit in each individual case.
For that reason, this article will go over the main canker sore causes, as well as a general guide on how to get rid of it.
What Is a Canker Sore?
Canker sores are a type of ulcer that appears on the inside of the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. They are characterized by being quite painful despite their small size and shallowness. More often than not, a canker sore causes discomfort while eating or talking. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward cure for this oral ulceration. In fact, many different factors may cause it. These crater-like mouth ulcers can also be a symptom of a more complex condition.
Canker Sore Types
- Simple canker sores: These canker sores afflict most people during their lifetimes, often a few times a year. They may have their origin in issues like injuries to the mouth, lesions from eating acidic or spicy foods, vitamin deficiencies, hormonal problems, stress or autoimmune disorders. However, they don’t represent a serious problem as they are not chronic.
- Complex canker sores: Complex canker sores are less common. They are persistent canker sores that are more difficult to get rid of. Complex canker sore causes are often unknown. Additionally, they often reappear some time after being cured. Unfortunately, some people seem to be prone to getting complex canker sores during their entire life.
Canker Sore Symptoms
Fortunately, canker sores are rather easy to detect. Some of the telltale signs of having this condition are:
- A painful sore (or various sores) inside the mouth. It can be located on the tongue, on the soft palate or even inside the cheeks.
- Uncomfortable tingling and burning sensations in different areas of the mouth.
- Painful round spots that are either white or gray. They often also have a red edge.
Although mostly harmless, canker sore attacks can produce other symptoms whenever they are too extreme:
- Physical tiredness and sluggishness.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
5 Canker Sore Causes
1. Vitamin Deficiency
Because vitamins are essential for having healthy and correctly-functioning tissues, most skin problems begin as vitamin deficiency. Vitamin B-12 has a particularly important function in reducing the possibility of canker sores forming. For that reason, taking vitamin B-12 capsules often helps eliminate this uncomfortable health problem.
2. Nutritional Deficiency
Although there are many nutritional compounds that regulate the well-being of skin, some, in particular, have been identified as being vital to prevent canker sores or, at least, keep them at bay. A deficiency of folic acid, zinc or iron will often result in the appearance of canker sores. Calcium deficiency has also been identified as one of the main canker sore causes.
3. Stress or Injury
There are various credible studies that have found a definite relation between emotional stress and ulcer outbreaks. Additionally, physical stress on the skin tissue may render it susceptible to canker sore outbreaks. Of course, this includes open and bleeding injuries inside the mouth.
4. Bad Reaction to Fruits and Vegetables
As everybody knows, fruits and vegetables are incredibly healthy. However, some of them may cause or worsen canker sores. Due to their high citric acid content, this includes citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes.
5. Deficient Immune System
Even though they have not been able to pinpoint the specific correlation between a deficient immune system and canker sores, most experts agree that there is one. Some studies seem to suggest that gastrointestinal problems also play a part in the origin of the condition.
How to Get Rid of a Canker Sore
Normally, canker sores will heal on their own within a few days. However, there are a few measures you can take in order to relieve the pain and promote quicker healing.
Canker Sore Remedies
There are various medications that doctors will prescribe to help heal canker sores. A particularly effective canker sore remedy is the steroid dexamethasone, a substance that is usually contained in a medicated mouth wash. There are also various over-the-counter products that can help the healing of canker sores, the most popular being:
- Benzocaine (Anbesol, Kank-A, Orabase, Zilactin-B).
- Fluocinonide (Lidex, Vanos).
- Hydrogen peroxide (Orajel Antiseptic Mouth Sore Rinse, Peroxyl).
There are also natural alternatives to traditional medication that can be used in order to treat the problems that canker sore causes. They include goldenseal mouth rinse, de-glycyrrhizinate licorice (DGL) and salt water rinses. Another remedy is a mixture of liquid Benadryl and liquid Maalox. Swabbing this on the wound gives instant relief.
Canker Sores Treatment
Even though canker sores will heal themselves, some doctors will offer to help immediately eliminate the pain and discomfort that are caused by canker sores through the process of cautery.
Using a medical instrument or chemical substance (like debacterol or silver nitrate), trained professionals will burn, sear or destroy the sore in a few seconds. Apart from cautery, doctors may prescribe nutritional supplements such as vitamin B-12 in order to help the patient’s body heal itself.
Summing It Up
After going through the information that is available, it can be concluded that canker sores are a very common and, luckily, very treatable problem. As a matter of fact, most people in the world have experienced them at least once (and lived to tell the story).
However, because canker sore causes pain and discomfort to a huge number of people, its seriousness shouldn’t be minimized. For that reason, it’s important to understand the condition and know how to treat it. Have you had the misfortune of experiencing canker sores? Tell us all about it in the comment section below!