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Why Do We Get Canker Sores?

Frankfort Dentist

Are you part of the 20% of people that has experienced canker sores? If so, then you understand how much these small, round sores on your inner cheeks, tongue, lips, or gums can impact your daily activities. Speaking becomes more difficult. Chewing your food becomes painful. It can be quite miserable! Unfortunately, scientists don’t know the exact cause of canker sores just yet. However, we do know which behaviors or issues can cause these painful sores to crop up. Read on to learn more about why these sores arise and how to avoid them!

Stress and Hormonal Changes

Are you stressed about a big deadline coming up? If so, it could be the cause of your latest canker sore. Whether it is an increase in cortisol (the stress hormone) or the onset of your menstrual cycle, these shifts in your hormones are known to make canker sores arise. Although these painful sores often only add to the stress, rest assured that they tend to go away after a week or two.

A Poor Diet

Do you feel like you’re always dealing with a painful canker sore? Then your diet may be to blame. This is because certain foods—including spicy foods, chocolate, chips, pretzels, or even coffee—have been known to irritate your mouth and lead to sores. It is also likely that you’re not getting enough vitamins and nutrients in your everyday diet. For example, you might not be getting enough B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron. To remedy the issue, try cutting out the unhealthy foods from your diet and add more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to improve your health and prevent canker sores from cropping up.

Injury to the Mouth

Sometimes, canker sores can just add insult to injury—literally. In many cases, canker sores can arise as a result of injuries to your cheeks or gums. For example, if you’ve hurt your mouth in a game, cut your cheek on your braces, or even brushed your teeth too rigorously, this could be the cause behind your latest canker sore. To prevent these from occurring in the future, make sure to wear your protective mouthguard and use your orthodontic wax as needed. Also, don’t forget that, when it comes to brushing, harder doesn’t necessarily mean better. Buy a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth both gently and effectively.


Canker sores often crop up when your immune system is depleted. Therefore, it is no surprise that these sores can often appear as a side effect to another illness or disease. If you have Celiac disease, Behcet’s disease, Crohn’s disease, or an immunosuppressive disorder like HIV/AIDS, you may experience canker sores as a result. To learn more about managing these symptoms, be sure to address the issue with your dentist or your physician.

If you suffer from canker sores often, it would be a good idea to speak about the issue with your dentist. We’re here to help!

Call Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics today to schedule your next appointment and get rid of these painful sores for good. Connect with our Crest Hill, Frankfort, Shorewood and Lockport dentists today!

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