Understanding Canker Sores

Your mouth is a very sensitive, moist area. If you do not clean your mouth often and properly, it leaves the area vulnerable to all sorts of ailments and painful conditions. One of these conditions is canker sores.

Canker sores are also common in people who suffer from several disorders, and are not always linked to poor hygiene.

Canker sores are painful, hard lesions, usually round or oval-shaped with a white or yellow centre and a red border that grows on the inside of the mouth, mostly on the tongue or inside of the cheek. They can, however, develop anywhere in the mouth. They do not appear outside the mouth like on the lips or chin. Those growths are called cold sores.

Canker sores, also called aphthous ulcers, can be painful and cause distress when eating and talking.

What are the causes of canker sores?

Many triggers have been identified for canker sores, most commonly digestive disorders like Celiac Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Other digestive ailments like inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, have also been linked to canker sores.

Other possible causes are iron deficiency, emotional stress, hormonal imbalances, food sensitivity and lactose intolerance.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a minor injury to your mouth from dental work, overzealous brushing, sports mishaps or an accidental cheek bite can be a catalyst for canker sores.

How are Canker sores treated?

Most canker sores go away on their own in a week or two, but some may need medical intervention.

Most people find relief from canker sores and their re-emergence by following a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. A gluten-free diet is also advised, which means the elimination of all wheats, rye and other gluten-based products from the diet.

Also avoid acidic fruit, such as pineapple, grapefruit, oranges and tomatoes.

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