Canker sores don’t sound pretty, and in fact, they are not. They are annoying and sometimes painful sores which grow on the soft tissues inside your mouth. Why we get them and when to be concerned are common questions, so let’s take a minute to know the facts about canker sores.
Different From Cold Sores
First and foremost, canker sores are not contagious. They form primarily on the soft tissue inside your mouth, on your gums, the inside of your cheeks, on or below your tongue, or on the roof of your mouth at the back of your throat.
Cold sores are usually on the outside of your mouth and are associated with a virus or fever.
What Causes Canker Sores?
If you have ever had a canker sore, you know they are painful little lesions or ulcers and they make eating and talking quite uncomfortable. Some people get them occasionally while with others they can occur more frequently.
Doctors are not completely sure what causes canker sores to appear but there are some common factors. They can occur due to an injury like biting the inside of your cheek or braces rubbing up against the inside of your cheek.
Many believe that canker sores may develop from a weakened immune system, dehydration, stress factors, allergies, and certain medications.
Certain diseases may trigger canker sores. Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis can often contribute to outbreaks. HIV/AIDS suppresses the immune system, so it may also be a contributing factor.
Other factors which can bring on canker sores include the following:
- Toothpastes and mouthwashes with sodium lauryl sulfate
- Hormonal changes during menstrual cycles
- Deficiencies in Vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid and iron
- Sensitivity to coffee, chocolate, nuts, eggs, strawberries, cheese and spicy foods
- Emotional stress
- An allergic reaction to bacteria in your mouth
When To See Dr. Robinette
Canker sores are annoying but nothing to be overly concerned about except under certain conditions.
If you have a fever, sores that last more than 2 weeks or begin to extend to the lips, and it becomes extremely difficult to eat or drink, make an appointment.
In addition, if you are having frequent outbreaks or recurring canker sores, and you’re getting new ones before the older ones go away, this is cause to see your doctor.