Canker sores, otherwise known as oral aphthae, is one of the most common sources of painful sores inside the mouth. They cause quite a discomfort, affecting the capability to eat, drink and sometimes talk. The sores have a hereditary trait and mostly occur in teenagers, adolescents and women. If the sores keep coming back or last longer than two weeks at a time, you should contact your dentist or a doctor.
They appear as small lesions inside the lips, cheeks, on the gums and tongue and even the soft palate, unlike cold sores, or fever blisters, which emerge on the outside of the mouth, specifically around the lips and under the nose. The size of the canker sores varies between types, so simple sores are less than a centimeter in diameter with a red edge surrounding a white center. Complex sores can appear in clusters larger than once centimeter, with irregular edges.
Various factors influence the outbreak of canker sores, for example heredity, problems with the immune system, fluctuation in levels of various hormones and deficiency in certain minerals and vitamins and injury to the inside of the mouth.
Risk of getting canker sores increases if your diet is lacking in vitamins B12 and B9, also called folic acid. Vitamin B12 is crucial for metabolism, and it also helps with the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system. Folic acid plays an important role in the production of red blood cells as well as and it is crucial to fetal development.
Deficiency of vitamin B is one the most common deficiency that affects the mouth and teeth. Tingling and burning sensation in the mouth, tongue swelling and trouble swallowing are not just the symptoms of vitamin B deficiency, but also signal the appearance of canker sores.
Lack of folic acid may cause inflammation to the gums, also known as gingivitis which may lead to the cause of the sores or extending the time necessary for them to heal.
Canker sores usually do not require medical therapy to heal, but there are treatments that may help relieve pain and ease the discomfort. Specific types of foods, mostly hot, spicy or crunchy food, or those containing citric acid, including apples, oranges and strawberries have been known to aggravate and in some instances even cause the sores to appear, so make sure you avoid them.
Repeated occurrence of canker sores may be linked to deficiency of vitamins, so be sure to test the levels of B12 and B9 vitamins. Your doctor or nutritionist may prescribe you B12 tablets or supplements you can add to your diet.
Best sources of vitamin B12 include organ meat such as beef liver, salmon, meat, poultry and eggs and certain breakfast cereal and nutritional yeasts. Folic acid can be found in black beans and lentils, leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and asparagus. It’s not always easy to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals from your diet alone, so make sure to take a daily multivitamin.