By Kelsi Matylewicz/ Social Media Intern, Benco Dental

Scientifically, an unsettled debate exists as to what precisely causes canker sores. Unlike most other dental or oral problems, canker sores are generally not attributed to one specific cause.

Painful canker sores can happen to anyone, at any age.  Simple canker sores, may appear three or four times a year and last up to a week, and are mostly common in the age group of 10 to 20. Complex canker sores are less common and occur more often in the people who have previously experienced them. All age groups are susceptible.

Dentistry iQ offers 5 tips to help the prevention of these agonizing lesions.

1.Vitamin deficiency. Most problems of the skin and outermost layers of the human body are due to vitamin deficiencies. In case of canker sores, the specific vitamin is B-12 is deficient; this occurs commonly among young children who don’t eat their fruits and veggies.  If this is the cause, then taking vitamin capsules or applying the contents of vitamin B-12 capsules directly to areas where sores have developed can offer quick and painless results.

2. Nutritional deficiency. Several studies have linked canker sores to a deficiency of folic acid, zinc, calcium or iron in the human body. Calcium deficiencies can worsen the situation. Remember to practice healthy eating.

3. Stress/injury. Stress on the tissues or any type of injury in the mouth may cause canker sores. Since the sores are actually tiny ulcers, they can be caused by eating something that leads to bruises or tissue inflammation in the mouth. Culprits include: braces, harsh mouthwashes, ill- fitting dentures, rough brushing.

4. Fruits and vegetables. Some fruits considered nutritionally healthy are actually not desirable in terms of canker sores. Citrus fruits are highly acidic and can cause or worsen cankers. Oranges, lemons, or pineapples can be problematic when there exists stress on the tissues, and surfaces inside the mouth are prone to burn or react to the acidic nature of the fruits. (Strawberries, figs, tomatoes, and apples are some foods that should be avoided in this case as well.)

5. Poor immune system. People who have a poor immune system are more prone to canker sores. There is also evidence that gastrointestinal problems and other diseases contribute.

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