Persistent, recurrent canker sores can be so annoying. It can interfere with your ability to eat and speak. Although, anyone can get canker sores, but they tend to be more prevalent in people between the ages of 10 to 20 and among women. The sores are generally painful, and seem to pop up out of nowhere at anytime. Canker sores can develop virtually anywhere in the mouth. It can appear in the mouth, on the tongue, lips, gums, palate and inside of the cheeks. In most cases, minor sores typically last for a few days or a week.
However, when you look at canker sores, they usually appear white, gray, or yellow in color, with a red border. A fully developed canker sores measure from 3 to 10 millimeters (mm). Major sores are the more severe type of canker sores, they appear larger and deeper than minor sores with irregular border and a diameter greater than 10 millimeters. Major canker sores usually cause lots of pain and discomforts, and may take up to three weeks or a month to heal. Although, the exact cause of canker sores remains unclear, but there are a number of factors that can contribute to cankers sores, or make them worse.
Sometimes, canker sores can be so persistent and reoccur very often. According to studies, scientists have revealed some reasons why you keep getting canker sores all the time. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), recurring canker sores affect about 20% of the population.
Reasons why you keep getting canker sores?
1. What you eat
Scientists reported that why you keep getting canker sores, may be due to what you eat. There are some foods that make you more prone to a canker sore. Not eating enough foods that contains the essential nutrients needed for the health and normal functioning of your oral tissues can lead to recurring canker sores. Certain essentials nutrients such as iron, L-lysine, vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin C and zinc are all needed for the healthy functioning of the body tissues.
When this essential nutrients are missing in your body, any sort of simple cut or break in the skin of your mouth — from brushing your teeth too hard or accidentally biting your cheek can cause frequent canker sores. Sometimes, frequent canker sores can be a sign of the aforementioned B12 deficiency or an autoimmune disorder, such as Crohn’s disease or lupus.
In addition, some people experience extreme sensitivity and allergic reactions to some foods. Taking such foods frequently could cause canker sores to flare up.
2. You’re a woman
Women are twice more likely to get canker sores than men. Hormonal changes in women contribute greatly to their likelihood of getting canker sores. During pregnancy and menstruation, women experience an increased hormonal levels. During this period of increased hormonal levels, women’s oral tissues appear to be more sensitive and susceptible to bleeding, and canker sores.
3. Your genes
Studies suggest that a family history of canker sores may make you more prone to getting them yourself. If you keeping getting canker sores all the time, then it might be due to your genetic makeup.
Emotional stress also contribute to recurring canker sores. A controlled study was conducted on some college students. At the end of the study, it was showed that the students had more canker sores during stressful periods, such as around exam time. Managing your stress and trying to be calm is very important. So, try as much as possible to take care of yourself, particularly after a tough day, to help avoid recurring canker sores. (1)
5. Health problems
Some conditions and diseases can show up in the mouth causing persistent canker sores. These type of canker sores, will keep coming back until the underlying health problem is treated. According to Mayoclinic, you are more likely to have canker sores more often if you have any of these conditions and diseases:
- Celiac disease, a serious intestinal disorder caused by a sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in most grains
- Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Behcet’s disease, a rare disorder that causes inflammation throughout the body, including the mouth
- A faulty immune system that attacks healthy cells in your mouth instead of pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria
- HIV/AIDS, which suppresses the immune system, making the oral tissues highly susceptible to oral problems, including canker sores.
How to stop recurring canker sores
- Eat healthy foods. Eat lots of healthy, balanced foods daily, including fruits and whole grains to help prevent nutritional deficiencies. Try to avoid any foods or drinks which you’re sensitive or allergic to. Avoid nuts, chips, pretzels, certain spices, salty foods and acidic fruits, such as pineapple, grapefruit and oranges, since they tend to irritate the oral tissues.
- Protect your mouth from injuries. Ensure to wear proper protection mouthguard during contact sports. If you have braces or other dental appliances, ask your dentist about orthodontic waxes to cover sharp edges.
- Reduce your stress. You should try as much as possible to reduce stress especially after a tough day, to help avoid recurring mouth sores. If your canker sores seem to be related to stress, learn and use stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation and guided imagery.
- Practice good oral habits. Always use soft brush to help prevent irritation to delicate mouth tissues, and avoid toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Although, you can’t fix your genetic makeup but regular brushing after meals and flossing at least once a day can keep your mouth clean and free of foods that might trigger a sore. (2)