Canker sores, also known as mouth ulcers are one of the most common sources of painful lesions in the mouth. Unlike cold sores, canker sores don’t develop on the surface of the lips and they are not infectious. But they are painful and can make eating, drinking and talking somewhat a discomfort.
Even though the precise reason why canker sores occur is still unknown. Mouth injury due to dental work or accidental biting, heredity, weakness of the immune system, lack of specific vitamins and mineral and foods containing citric acid are some of the factors leading to the emergence of canker sores.
Vitamin B12 is essential for production of red blood cells, which are used to transfer oxygen throughout the body. Lack of oxygen can cause the tissues to become anemic and susceptible to inflammation. Impression of tingling or burning inside the mouth and swelling of the tongue indicate both deficiency in B12 vitamin and are a known precursor of canker sores development. If you are experiencing low levels of B12, talk to your doctor so he may order the necessary tests for and prescribe you B12 capsules or, in severe cases, injections. Proper dietary plan should be a sufficient source of the vitamin, but make sure you eat more red meat, salmon, eggs and fortified cereals.
Another potential cause of mouth sores may be lack of minerals such as iron and zinc, and calcium deficiency is known to exacerbate the condition. All those minerals can be replenished either by improving your diet or as supplements.
Any injury to soft tissues of the mouth may be a potential risk for developing canker sores. Injuries happen due to various reasons ranging from accidental biting to the tongue and cheeks, new dentures to sport mishaps. Be careful not to hurt you gums when brushing your teeth or use a brush with soft bristles. Also, new dentures may have wires sticking from the sides, so invest in dental wax to prevent any future discomfort.
Even foods and drinks can cause or aggravate existing canker sores. Acidic fruit and vegetables such as apples, lemons, oranges and tomatoes have all been related to occurrence of mouth ulcers, as well as pineapples, figs, strawberries and limes. Fizzy drinks are also very acidic, so make sure to avoid them in case you are suffering from mouth sores. Foods that are most likely to induce an allergic occurrence of the include milk and dairy products like cheese and buttermilk, wheat and nuts. You may also avoid drinking coffee and cocoa.
There is not a direct link between problems with the immune system and occurrence of canker sores, but a weakened immune system is more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections and may need longer periods of time to regenerate the tissues plagued by canker sores.
If this is the case, you can use hydrogen peroxide which has antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. When diluted with water, it may be used as a mouth rinse three to four times a day.