If you’ve ever had a canker sore, you know how painful these mouth sores can be. But what drives us really crazy is that if you’re a person who gets one canker sore, you probably get a LOT of them. And we want to know why.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), recurring canker sores affect about 20% of the population. Canker sores are officially called aphthous stomatitis, and they’re small, painful ulcers that develop in your mouth. They last about two weeks, and they can be very inconvenient. And while scientists don’t know the exact cause of them and there is no cure, they do know a few things that explain why you’re getting canker sores all the time.
1Because canker sores are in your genes.
2Because you’re a woman.
3Because you might be eating the wrong things.
The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM) also notes that an allergy to a particular food could cause sores to flare up. Because scientists haven’t totally pinned down what foods may or may not cause canker sores, avoiding them can be tough. But if you notice a new sore, maybe write down what food you recently ate. If there’s a common food that seems to cause it, that could be a contributing factor. However, all these studies admit that because there hasn’t been firm evidence, what you’re eating is only one of many factors.
4Because you’re stressed out.
And if you do have a canker sore, here are some simple ways to lessen the struggle.
One of the pieces of good news is that unlike cold sores, canker sores aren’t contagious. So that’s a relief. But there’s no cure for them, so for treatment, you can only manage the annoyance. The NIDCR recommends avoiding abrasive foods like potato chips that can scrape or exacerbate the sore. Also, avoid overly spicy or acidic foods. UMM also recommends gargling salt water or mouthwash (the non-alcoholic kind). And they last no more than two weeks, so at least it’s only temporary.