What are the Main Triggers for Canker Sores?

Discover how physical factors like stress and poor diet may trigger canker sores. Uncover the causes of aphthous ulcers and oral ulcers.

What are the Main Triggers for Canker Sores?
Photo by CDC / Unsplash

The Hidden Truth Behind Aphthous Ulcers

Canker sores, also referred to as aphthous ulcers, cast a shadow of discomfort for many. These small, painful lesions can emerge unexpectedly on the gums, tongue, or inside of the cheeks, disrupting daily life with their persistent sting.

Poor Diet: Are Essential Nutrients Vital?

An inadequate diet lacking critical nutrients, such as vitamin B-12, zinc, folate, and iron, is linked to the prevalence of canker sores. Research suggests that deficiencies in these nutrients compromise the body's immune response, leaving individuals more susceptible to oral ulceration.

Stress: The Underestimated Culprit

Prolonged stress is considered a significant trigger for the formation of canker sores. When under stress, the immune system weakens, creating an environment conducive to the emergence of these painful ulcers. Stress-induced habits, such as teeth grinding or jaw clenching, can also lead to tissue damage within the mouth.

Acidic Foods and GERD: When the Culprits Lurk in Everyday Meals

The consumption of acidic or citrus foods and beverages, such as oranges, tomatoes, and sodas, may provoke canker sores by irritating the oral mucosa. Furthermore, individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) face an increased likelihood of canker sores due to the acidic nature of stomach contents that flow back into the mouth.

Physical Injury: Unexpected Consequences

Minor injuries to the gums, like accidental biting, dental appliances rubbing against oral tissues, or being jabbed by sharp objects, can lead to tissue damage and the formation of canker sores in the affected areas.

Virus or Bacteria: The Unsolved Enigma

A theory suggests that canker sores may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, akin to the microorganisms involved in stomach ulcers. However, conclusive laboratory testing has not yet validated this hypothesis.

While the exact cause of canker sores remains elusive, factors such as poor diet, stress, acidic foods, physical injuries, as well as potential viral or bacterial influences, are known triggers for the emergence of these uncomfortable ulcers.