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Why Do We Get Canker Sores?

canker soresSmall but severely irritating, canker sores can be a real pain in the mouth. Commonly referred to as aphthous ulcers, canker sores are small, shallow sores that form inside the cheeks, lips, or sometimes under the tongue, and can happen to anyone at any age. In fact, 20% of the population suffers from canker sores every year. Symptoms of canker sores also include:

  • Burning or tingling in the mouth, usually a day or so before the sore actually appears
  • Round sores that are either white or gray with a red border
  • Difficulty eating, swallowing, or speaking
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sickness like a fever or lethargic behavior
  • Weight loss

Unfortunately, the direct cause of canker sores are still a mystery. According to, some possible reasons we get canker sores may include:

  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Sports injury or accident
  • Sensitivity to certain foods
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Food allergies
  • An excess of acidic foods
  • An excess of spicy foods
  • Smoking
  • Hormones
  • Gastrointestinal tract diseases
  • Autoimmune disorders

There are many different ways one could treat canker sores. By using over-the-counter topical medications or mouth washes, one can begin treating their sores. It’s also recommended to use toothpaste and mouthwash that do not have sodium lauryl sulfate.  When dealing with canker sores, it’s also very important to use caution when brushing and flossing. Yes, you should continue to brush and floss multiple times a day, but you should use toothbrushes with soft bristles.

You should always contact your family doctor or dentist if your canker sores last more than three weeks, if you’ve noticed the sores starting to spread, or if you’ve had canker sores frequently reappear. If you or a family member is suffering from a canker sore, or for more information on how to prevent or treat a canker sore, contact us today!



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