If you’ve ever had a canker sore, you know how uncomfortable they can be. But what is responsible for their appearance in your mouth? Here, we’ll explain what canker sores are, what causes them, how to prevent them, and whether or not they’re a sign of poor dental health.
What Are Canker Sores?
Canker sores are small, shallow ulcers inside your mouth that form on your cheek, lips, or the base of your gums. Although they aren’t contagious, they can be painful and can make talking and eating uncomfortable. There are two types: simple and complex. Simple canker sores appear about three to four times a year and last about a week. A complex canker sore appears more frequently and lasts longer.
What Causes Canker Sores?
No one knows exactly what causes canker sores. It used to be thought that it was related to the herpes virus, but that has been disproven. There are a number of different factors that may trigger a canker sore, with some of the most common being:
- Hormonal changes such as menstruation
- Foods that are acidic, citrus, and spicy
- Lack of minerals and vitamins like B12, iron, zinc, and folic acid
- Gastrointestinal diseases like celiac and Crohn’s
- Mouth injuries such as dental work, aggressive brushing, sports trauma, or a cheek bite
- If dental appliances like braces or dentures are poking into the soft tissue of the mouth
Are Canker Sores a Sign of Poor Dental Health?
Canker sores are not a sign of poor dental health, but can be worsened by poor oral health. To prevent these mouth sores, it’s important to continue to maintain good oral hygiene practices by brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled brush twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and drinking plenty of water. These will keep your mouth clean by banishing any food particles that might trigger or exacerbate a canker sore.
How Can I Prevent Canker Sores?
In addition to maintaining good oral hygiene habits:
- Eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Limit your consumption of acidic fruits like pineapple and oranges.
- Limit your consumption of starchy, salty, and spicy foods that irritate your mouth.
- If you have dental appliances that are irritating the inside of your mouth, ask us about orthodontic wax.
- Work on alleviating your stress by meditating, breathing, and other relaxation techniques.
Reach Out to Our Expert Team Today
If you have any other questions about canker sores, contact our Toothology Dental team. We are here to help you have outstanding oral health. Call us or use our online contact form!