Canker sores are small mouth ulcers that occur in otherwise healthy individuals. They form repeatedly in an affected person’s life, on average, every 2 to 4 months. They are benign, meaning that they are not a major health concern and they are not contagious. Canker sores occur underneath the tongue, on the inside of the cheeks and the soft palate (back roof of the mouth).
Although they are not a major health threat when they appear, they can cause problems as they may get infected, cause major discomfort and cause trouble while talking and eating. That is why they should be treated as soon as possible. Remedies for canker sores aren’t complicated or expensive – in fact, there are natural remedies available which are scientifically proven to be effective. Find out more here about natural remedies for canker sores at Authority Reports, which provides factual analysis on these products.
What Causes Canker Sores?
The causes of canker sores are quite complex. Scientific research has been unable to implicate one specific cause, but rather has found that multiple factors influence the appearance and severity of a canker sore. The causes also vary from person to person. Some of the main contributing factors are:
- Physical trauma to the mouth
- An infection caused by a virus
- A food allergy
Research has determined that canker sores are facilitated by a T cell immune response. Basically, this means that whatever cause is responsible activates a white blood cell in the area and causes it to secrete a number of compounds that activate other white blood cells and a whole area of inflammation is developed. This is the canker sore.
The mouth is an organ that is exposed to quite a number of things that can activate these T cells and cause inflammation. There are also a few factors that can increase the chance of a canker sore forming because they have other indirect biological effects.
Risk Factors For Canker Sores
Certain circumstances increase the risk of forming a canker sore. One of them is a change in the hormone cycle, which occurs far more often and more prominently in females. This is because hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone have an effect on immune cells. Stress can also predispose a person to get a canker sore through various and complex mechanisms.
Unfortunately, for some people, there is a genetic link to increasing the likelihood of developing canker sores. This is because a person’s genetics strongly controls how their immune cells respond to certain patterns.
A more controllable factor is a vitamin and mineral deficiency. Some vitamins and minerals like vitamin B3, B9 and B12, iron, zinc and calcium deficiencies can contribute because they have roles in keeping the skin in the mouth healthy and strong, which decreases the chance of one of the causing factors getting through and creating a problem.
What Canker Sores Aren’t
There are a few other conditions that look like canker sores. One of the conditions most commonly confused with canker sores is a cold sore or fever blister. These areas of inflammation are usually filled with pus and actually occur more outside the mouth. They are caused by a virus (herpes simplex virus) and are highly contagious, unlike canker sores. They can also flare up in times of stress and exhaustion. It’s important to be able to tell the two apart because they should be treated quite differently.
There are a number of other infectious organisms that can cause ulcers in the mouth, so it’s important to watch out for these other signs:
- Extensive pain even when taking pain medication
- An unusually large or spreading sore
- Fever: Canker sores should never cause a fever. A fever is a sign of infection, so a doctor should be consulted when it is present
Prevention Of Canker Sores
You can reduce your chance of developing a canker sore by taking sufficient vitamins and minerals like those mentioned above. Another way is to try and control your levels of stress, possibly by using relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation. Affected people should also try avoiding any foods that trigger the development of a canker sore.
Most importantly is good oral hygiene but people should be careful not to brush too hard on the sensitive areas of their mouth because that can cause a canker sore.
With the right preparation and remedies when they do flare up, canker sores can easily be managed and not have any effect on your quality of life at all.