SARAVOOT LENG-IAM/Shutterstock
Wei-Ning Yu
April 09, 2017 11:37 am

Have you ever experienced a burning or tingling spot inside your mouth, only to find a tiny, shallow ulcer appear later on? Does the sore make it uncomfortable to snack or have a long conversation? If so, chances are canker sores are inhabiting your glorious chops.

So, what causes these shallow, icky-looking ulcers to appear?

According to Web MD, the exact cause of simple canker sores is unknown, but researchers suspect that stress and tissue injury are the main culprits. It’s quite possible that a jagged tooth or an ill-fitting dental appliance has agitated the delicate tissue in your mouth, or you might be getting too aggressive with the tooth brushing.  You know what else can cause these annoying sores to spring up?   Hormonal shifts that occur during the special time of the month!

Oy, ladies. Am I right?

If you already have an annoying canker sore, think twice before eating a bowl of pineapple chunks or gulping a tall glass of real lemonade.  Acidic fruits and veggies can actually make the sore worse!

But there are other causes…

The appearance and frequency of canker sores could also mean there are deeper health issues that should be addressed. Some chronic conditions can cause sores, including vitamin deficiencies, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or Behcet’s disease. Having an impaired immune system or a gastrointestinal disorder, like IBD, can also cause canker sores.  All this to say – if you are experiencing an abnormal frequency of canker sores or are even the slightest bit worried, your best bet would be to make an appointment with your doctor.

How do I know that I have a canker sore and not a cold sore?

Well, that’s a very smart question. They are often mistaken for each other, but there are major differences between the two. First and foremost, canker sores are not contagious. Cold sores are. They are caused by herpes simplex and sometimes referred to as fever blisters. Cold sores typically appear outside the mouth whereas canker sores generally appear inside the mouth.

There you have it.  Canker sores – nature’s way of telling you to de-stress, be extra gentle with the inside of your mouth, and maybe ensure you’re getting proper nutrition.  Mystery solved!

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