Canker sores are lesions that form on the mucous membrane of the mouth as well as on the gums. Also referred to as aphthous ulcers, they are not like cold sores which develop on the lips and are highly contagious due to the fact that they are caused by the herpes simplex virus or what’s commonly known as herpes. Despite of them being not contagious and embarrassing as cold sores, canker sores are definitely painful!

The good news is canker sores tend to go away on their on their own within a week or two. So what’s the bad news? There are a few of them. First, anyone can get canker sores — kids, adults, men and women. Second, those who get complex cancer sores (composed of larger canker sores and take more time to heal) are more prone to them. Third, there is no known treatment for them — you just ride out the symptoms until they heal. Last but not least, medical experts do not fully understand the cause of most canker sores.

Despite of the misunderstandings and debates about the root causes of canker sores, the pros have come up with some of the probable causes of those painful lesions in your mouth that can affect the way you talk and eat. Here they are:

The Consumption of Acidic Fruits

Due to the acidic nature of oranges, lemons, pineapples, strawberries and even apples, they can be blamed for the formation of canker sores. However, some experts say that eating these fruits may only cause a problem only when there is already some form of trauma to the mucous membrane, and the acidity of these fruits only exacerbates it.

A Weakened Immune System

No one really knows the exact reason why a compromised immune system can cause those painful canker sores to appear. However, many people report of suffering from those dreaded mouth ulcers just when their immune systems are down. Medical experts say that the immune system can be blamed as it is incapable of causing the lesions to heal quickly.

Injury to the Soft Tissues of the Mouth

Trauma to the mucous membrane may end up as canker sore. Such can be obtained by brushing the teeth too hard. There are instances when munching on something crunchy or with sharp edges and corners may cause an injury. A lot of people with dental appliances in the mouth such as braces are prone to having canker sores.

Undergoing Emotional Stress

If you’re currently facing emotional stress, it’s not unlikely for you to end up with canker sores. Many individuals suffer from mouth ulcers whenever they are facing life problems. It may also be due to the fact that emotional stress can weaken the immune system, and this can make you more prone to having canker sores — just like what’s discussed earlier.

The Use of Products with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS is a chemical widely used in various personal care products, and it is an effective detergent and foaming agent. Many people find that the use of toothpastes with SLS leaves them with canker sores. Aside from toothpastes, SLS may also be found in mouthwashes so it’s important to read the list of ingredients.

Smoking Tobacco Products

Thanks to the thousands of chemicals found in tobacco smoke, it’s easy for the mouth to end up irritated, and this may leave you prone to having canker sores. What’s more, the use of tobacco products may also leave your immune system weak, thus making it likelier for you to develop painful lesions in the mouth.

Food Allergies or Sensitivities

Cannot seem to pinpoint what’s making you susceptible to having canker sores? Keep a food diary. So many people find that they suffer from oral sores after consuming foods that they are allergic or sensitive to, like chocolates, nuts and coffee. It is up to you to find out which foods tend to bring those canker sores.

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