Canker sores are not usually serious, but they are very annoying, as they can interfere with daily activity. There are people with a genetic predisposition to develop these types of ulcers.
Drinking hot coffee or orange juice can be very annoying when you have sores in your mouth. Even talking can be an effort for the pain generated by these small wounds. For this reason, although they are not serious and in most cases they heal on their own, canker sores, ulcerations that generally occur on the mucous surface of the oral cavity, are a condition that is better to prevent. There are those who suffer from them at specific times and people who have been facing them repeatedly since childhood. A third of the population has or has had sores or canker sores in their mouth.
What is a mouth sore
Wounds that usually come out especially on the mucosa of the oral cavity, such as the inside of the cheeks, the tongue, the soft palate or the base of the gums, are what are called canker sores. These are open sores with a round or oval shape, whitish or yellowish in color, usually with a reddish halo around them. Their size ranges from 3 to 8 millimeters and they can appear alone or in several groups of up to 20 or more, which considerably affects the quality of life, since they are very painful.
Types of sores
Specialists speak of three types of canker sores or sores depending on their morphology. There are minor canker sores, which account for 80% of cases of these conditions, which appear mainly alone and usually heal spontaneously after seven days. The canker sores, with a size of more than 1 centimeter, resolve in a few weeks, leaving a residual scar.
The third group to which the experts refer are herpetiform sores, which are the cases in which numerous ulcers appear, with a small size (between 1 and 3 millimeters), that disappear in weeks, sometimes leaving some residual mark .
Likewise, they can be differentiated between acute, chronic and recurrent injuries. Those of the recurrent type, which affect 20% of the general population, usually appear for the first time during childhood, but they are in adolescence and during the beginning of adulthood the stages of life in which they affect us the most. Over the years, it is more difficult to suffer them.
Why sores or canker sores appear in the mouth: causes and reasons
Although as we have pointed out there are cases in which the origin of this type of oral affections cannot be determined, they may be a consequence of:
– An immunological reaction against common bacteria in the oral flora.
– A viral infection, which manifests itself in this type of oral wound.
– Trauma. Hitting your mouth or biting the inside of your cheeks or lip can damage the membrane that covers the inside of your mouth, triggering the development of sores.
– Orthodontics or dental prosthetics. Sometimes these types of devices can rub against a soft area of the oral cavity causing ulcers or sores.
– Aggressive dental cleaning. When brushing or oral hygiene in general is too aggressive, with very hard brushes or a bad use of them, sores may appear.
– Recurrent aphthous stomatitis (ARD), usually affects between 20 and 30% of adults and a high percentage of children. These are the cases in which recurrent oral ulcers (UOR) occur, the most common inflammatory disorder in the oral cavity. The reason for its appearance is not clear, but there is talk of a family trend.
– Stress. Exams, work, the reconciliation of family and work life … any situation that generates stress can cause us to end up suffering from a cold sore.
– Nutritional deficiencies. Ulcers can arise from lack of vitamins and minerals, mainly when there are nutritional deficiencies of iron, folic acid and vitamin B12.
– Hormonal changes. Sores in the mouth affect women twice as much as men and it is believed to be due to hormonal causes. In fact, in many women they appear at some point in the menstrual cycle.
– Drugs. There are experts who point to an ingredient in some toothpastes and mouthwashes, sodium laurel sulfate (LSS), as a possible agent that acts in the appearance of thrush. Certain medications are also believed to trigger their formation.
– Allergies or hypersensitivity to food, such as nuts, lemon, strawberries or chocolate.
– Genetic predisposition. It is very normal that several members of the same family suffer them, since it seems that there is a genetic component among their causes. So, if your father or mother usually have them, it is very possible that you also know what it is about.
– Mucocutaneous disorders, such as Behçet’s disease.
They usually heal on their own, but to speed up the process, experts advise against eating foods with a lot of seasonings and reducing your intake of acidic foods, such as citrus. In addition, it is possible to relieve pain and treat inflammation, for example, with local anesthetics or topical anti-inflammatories, which must be prescribed by the dentist. Home remedies such as rinsing your mouth with water and salt are also helpful.
In cases where canker sores are persistent -more than two weeks with personal care- or recurrent -more than two or three times a year-, you must go to the doctor to determine other possible triggers. Although canker sores are not any type of cancer nor do they cause it, there are some tumors that can arise first as a cold sore that does not finish healing, according to the National Library of Medicine of the United States on its website.
To prevent their appearance, especially in people who suffer from them regularly, experts advise avoiding acidic, spicy or very hot foods; eat a balanced diet with special attention to foods that help maintain adequate levels of iron, folic acid, vitamin B, and zinc, have good oral hygiene, using soft brushes and changing them regularly.