10 things You May Not Know About Canker Sores

There’s nothing quite like a canker sore to ruin a perfectly good day and even give you a temporary speech impediment if you get it on your tongue. Not to mention, they can make eating and drinking a most painful affair. Twenty percent of Canadians (one out of five people) suffer from cankers with the majority of cases occurring in women and those aged between 10 and 40 years old. Where do cankers come from? Why do we get them and what can we do about them?

Here’s a few facts about cankers you may not know:

1. These small white sores are quite mysterious in origin. Heredity is one suspected cause. So is stress, smoking, allergies (ie nuts, seafood, gluten, dairy) and vitamin deficiencies.

2. Canker sores occur when the skin lining is damaged exposing the more sensitive raw tissue underneath to the bacteria and germs in your mouth.

3. Cankers and cold sores are not related. Cold sores are viruses whereas cankers are not. The majority of medical data says that cankers are NOT CONTAGIOUS. Some doctors may recommend NOT KISSING with mouth sores because the bacteria from the other person’s mouth could cause infection.

4. Women are more likely to get cankers because of their menstrual cycles (as if bleeding for a whole week isn’t enough to deal with).

5. Your toothpaste can cause them! This is thanks to the foaming agent, sodium lauryl sulfate which dries up the oral tissue in your mouth making it more susceptible to damage. If you have a lot of break-outs, you might try mouth washes and toothpastes that are SLS-free such as Tom’s of Maine.

6. Mouth abrasions can also result in cankers whether it’s biting your cheek, brushing your teeth or piercing your mouth with a razor sharp potato chip.

7. Mouth sores can also be a sign of weak immunity or of other health problems. People with intestinal disorders like Crohn’s Disease are more vulnerable.

8. Diet can affect and prevent cankers. They can be exacerbated by all the good things in life like sweets, spicy food, wine, citrus or anything acidic.

9. Mouth rinses are most helpful, particularly good old-fashioned salt water or hydrogen peroxide with warm water. Debacterol is also supposed to be useful for soothing pain and promoting healing.

10. Vitamin supplements may be the cure if your cankers are out of control. You may be deficient in vitamin C, B12, folic acid or iron. Talk to you doctor before adding these to your daily regiment.

Source: Toronto dental hygienist Rosalie Shapiro and links listed above.