Dental Care

Canker Sores in the Mouth: Stress, Spice, Fatigue, and More


Trouble with canker sores in the mouth? You've probably never known the proper name for those stinging tiny sores that come and go in your mouth.

Whether you call them ulcers, canker sores, or something else, they are properly called aphthous ulcers. They are likely to develop in your mouth at times when you have a lot of stress going on in your life or if you've eaten certain foods.

When this condition frequently recurs, it becomes known as aphthous stomatitis.

Aphthous originates from the Greek word for ulcer. Canker derives from the Latin word for cancer, but there is nothing cancerous about these miniscule painful tyrants! If you've heard the word chancre, don't worry -chancres are a symptom of syphilis and they have absolutely nothing in common with canker sores.

If you peer into your mouth to spot the thing that's causing so much irritation and pain, you'll see a small whitish area surrounded by an inflamed, red border. Sometimes you get just one, and other times they pop up in pairs or more.

Doctors really don't know whether they're bacterial or viral in nature. Many people seem prone to canker sores in the mouth, but they're not contagious.


Canker Sores in the Mouth - The Risk Factors


  • Emotional or psychological stress can be expected to bring on a bout. Stress is, of course, associated with many physical symptoms, and this is just one of them.


  • Sometimes they develop as an allergic reaction or a hiccup in your immune system.


  • They can spring up after accidental trauma such as toothbrush slippage that digs into soft tissue. They can result if you're one of the many people who bite the insides of their cheeks, or if there is an exposed sharp edge to a tooth that irritates oral tissue.


  • Some people seem to get canker sores when they're over-tired, and of course, fatigue can tie in with the stress we mentioned above.


  • Nutritional deficiencies seem to bring them out. People prone to them sometimes benefit from increasing their intake of the B vitamins including folic acid, Vitamin C, or nutrients such as zinc, iron, calcium, or selenium.


  • Some canker sores in the mouth possibly result from food allergies. Sensitivity to acidic foods-think applesauce or tomato sauce-might be the culprit. Others claim it's gluten or other cereal grains. Your own sensitivity might be dairy foods such as milk or cheeses, or food additives including a commonly used preservative called benzoic acid. Soy and vinegar are often identified.


  • Many people claim that canker sores in the mouth improve after switching toothpaste. If you use a toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), it might be drying out a protective coating on your mucous membranes, leaving them vulnerable to canker sore outbreaks.


  • Certain medications can cause canker sores, most often those that treat HIV/AIDS or the cocktails used in chemotherapy. Beta-blockers, an older category of medications used to modulate heart rhythms, have also been connected with cankers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that treat arthritis and muscle pulls are also associated.

Remedies for Canker Sores in the Mouth

You don't have to suffer -we have canker cures that will help, especially if something we've mentioned as a cause rings a bell for you.

Some of them are home remedies, and others are simply common sense.


  • Avoid trauma to the soft tissues in your mouth. Brush carefully and gently. If you notice a rough edge from a chipped tooth or dental prosthetic, visit your dentist for immediate care.


  • Maintain good eating habits that provide all the vitamins you need. If you're guilty of eating on the run, always take a multivitamin. Someone who has difficulty swallowing pills can use a vitamin drink. Be certain to drink enough water, too.


  • Pass on the foods that bring on cankers. If you seem to develop cankers whenever there's spaghetti on the table, then opt for a non-tomato-based sauce. Be aware that salty or spicy foods can aggravate a canker and its related pain.


  • Eat yogurt that contains active cultures of acidophilus. Not all yogurts contain this organism, but it's been known to help.


  • Work on your stress levels. Whether or not you realize it, getting hyper might be one of your worst problems. Find some stress-reduction techniques that fit your lifestyle.


  • Look for toothpaste that works well for you. Avoid SLS or pastes with even small levels of alcohol.


  • Use a fifty-fifty mix of liquid Benadryl and Milk of Magnesia. Swish it around your mouth and then spit it out. Try this every four to six hours when you're having a canker sore attack.


  • Some people swear by herbs such as chickweed, rockrose, or violet. Ask your pharmacist about any interactions these supplements might have with medications you take.


From Canker Sores in the Mouth to the main page about Mouth Sores





 

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