What Causes Canker Sores? Learn More About Most Common Reasons
Canker sores still remain a mysterious medical phenomenon, as they appear and disappear unexpectedly, seemingly on their own, without any particular treatment being taken. This dental condition creates a lot of discomfort, rather than actual danger, as each aphthous ulcer, located in a patient’s mouth, on the inside of the lips, cheeks, on the gum or even under the tongue, causes intolerable pain, when eating or just talking.
And, what is even more mysterious about this dental condition, is that sometimes, even the most experienced dental care professionals fail to determine what causes canker sores. Nevertheless, modern dental science has a couple of general theories on what factors trigger the development of these aphthous ulcers.
What are the Most Common Causes of Canker Sores?
Nobody knows for sure what causes canker sores. Anything can trigger the disease, starting with bacteria, or viral fungi, which start to breed actively due to poor oral hygiene, stress, or mouth injuries, to certain food supplement and vitamin deficiencies.
Among the possible answers on what causes canker sores, dental care professionals also name numerous food allergies.
Sharp hormonal changes are also likely to trigger the onset of canker sores. This is why female patients are more prone to them a few days before and during their menstrual cycle.
Also, children and teens are in the high-risk group. Poor lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking can also trigger the disease, as they dry out the mouth. In some cases, the main factor in the development of aphthous ulcers are food and medicine allergies, and also poorly fitted dental appliances.
But most often, an underlying health condition is what causes canker sores. That is why it is worth visiting your dentist to examine any canker sore which lasts longer than 7-10 days. Let’s look through these and some other causes of canker sores more thoroughly.
How Does a Poor Oral Hygiene Regime Cause Canker Sores?
By following the acceptable rules of adequate oral hygiene, which are basically the regular brushing of teeth and daily flossing, you can successfully remove all the food residues and dental plaque from your teeth.
But then, what causes canker sores? If you do not regularly clean your mouth and teeth or do not do it thoroughly enough, dental plaque is accumulated on your teeth and in your mouth (on the tongue, gum line, cheeks, lips), creating the perfect environment for the breeding of bacteria, or viral fungi, which are known to often trigger the development of aphthous ulcers.
How Does Emotional Stress Cause Canker Sores?
Scientists all over the world put emotional stress on the top of the list of what causes canker sores.
It is well documented that an emotional state is associated not only with sleeping disorders, anxiety and deeply prolonged depression, but also with a lowered immune system and vitamin deficiency, which are known to trigger the onset of canker sores.
Even some sort of external stress or injury to the mouth can cause canker sores.
This is because the sores are actually tiny ulcers that can be caused if you brush your teeth too hard or while eating something that can bruise, or lead to the inflammation of the tissues in the mouth.
There are also cases where people develop sores because of injuries inflicted by dental equipment such as braces, or certain oral products which damage the mouth’s outermost layer.
How Dietary Patterns and Food Allergies Can Cause Canker Sores?
First of all, the human body needs a wide spectrum of vitamins every day to give proper support to its daily functioning. Unfortunately, the average modern American diet sharply lacks folic acid and vitamin B12, which is a direct answer to the question on what causes canker sores, when it comes to diet.
Also note that certain kinds of food can also trigger the development of aphthous ulcers. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, peanuts, cashews, chips, soda and acidic drinks, coffee, and beer, are all among the food and beverages on the list of what causes canker sores, due to the irritation they cause to the mouth’s tissues. In addition, you may develop aphthous ulcers due to burns in the mouth as a result of eating or drinking things that are too hot.
And finally, when it comes to what causes canker sores, it is very important to note that all the above-mentioned foods and drinks, and also those which contain artificial ingredients and emulsifying agents, are likely to cause an allergic reaction that can then trigger the onset of aphthous ulcers in the mouth. These causes of canker sores are especially relevant for children.
How Vitamin and Nutritional Deficiency can Cause Canker Sores
Vitamin deficiencies are a major cause for skin problems with the human body’s outermost layers such as the inside of the mouth.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common cause of canker sores and as most children don’t much like fruits and vegetables, they usually have some kind of vitamin deficiency. This leads to them having subsequently higher chances of developing canker sores.
Taking vitamin capsules everyday or applying the contents of a vitamin B12 capsule directly onto the sores can offer quick and painless relief.
Even the deficiency of nutrients like zinc, iron or folic acid in the body can trigger canker sores. And a calcium deficiency can worsen the situation. This is why it’s important to follow a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet which includes fruits and vegetables to avoid nutritional deficiencies, and consequently, canker sores.
How Poor Body Immunity can Cause Canker Sores
While it is not possible to draw a specific connection between poor body immunity and canker sores, it is also not possible to speculate how a person’s immunity can trigger canker sores.
However, the fact that the body’s immune system cannot prevent or repair canker sores suggests that the body’s immune system is indeed a major contributing factor. Moreover, there is also proof that gastrointestinal problems and other diseases can lead to canker sores.
Among the group of diseases that trigger aphthous ulcers are those associated with an impaired immune system (AIDS, Behcet’s disease, etc.) and certain gastrointestinal tract (inflammatory bowel disease) conditions. Apart from these, the list of what causes canker sores among the general health conditions is celiac disease, associated with the impact of gluten to canker sores.
How Can Dental Care Products and Appliances Cause Canker Sores?
Dental care products and appliances is the last aspect on the list of what causes canker sores to be discussed today.
To start with, poorly fitted dental appliances can trigger canker sores in places where there is constant friction with the soft mouth tissues.
The development of aphthous ulcers might also result from an acute allergic reaction to nickel, used in the dental brackets, braces, and dentures.
These symptoms require an immediate consultation with your orthodontist. In addition, sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a common active agent for many commercial dental care products, is also thought to trigger canker sores.
It is still not really possible to say what the exact causes are of canker sores in your particular case. But you should not panic, as the disease can still be successfully managed even without knowing the underlying cause.