What Causes Canker Sores?

man holds his cheek in pain from canker sores

Canker sores are small lesions on the soft tissues of the mouth. They are white ulcers that are most commonly located on the inside of the lips, the gum line, and the inside of the cheeks. Read on to learn more about what causes canker sores and how to treat them!

What Causes Canker Sores?

The direct cause of canker sores is unknown. However, we do have an idea of different factors that can cause a canker sore onset, including:

  • Acidic foods
  • Hormone fluctuations
  • Small dental injuries, such as a chip cutting the inside of the mouth
  • Stress
  • Toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies

Are Canker Sores & Cold Sores the Same?

Canker sores are completely different than cold sores. Cold sores are located on the front and sides of the lip and are caused by infection. Unlike cold sores, canker sores occur inside the mouth and are not contagious.

The Best Way to Prevent Canker Sores

Even though there isn’t a concrete cause for canker sores, here are some ways you can help prevent them:

  • Avoid dental products containing sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Brush your teeth twice a day and after meals
  • Don’t eat too many acidic foods
  • Try to keep your stress levels low

Treatment for Canker Sores

Canker sores can be pretty painful when they first arrive. We recommend using over-the-counter pain medication or a canker sore cream that helps numb the sore. If your sore worsens, we recommend seeing your doctor for a prescription antiseptic mouthwash.

If you have any questions about canker sores, feel free to contact our office! Contact Reen Chung, DDS, and our team would be happy to provide you with more information. Overdue for your biannual dental checkup? Regular cleanings and exams can help keep canker sores at bay. Now is the perfect time to schedule!

Contact Us
Reen Chung, DDS

Reen Chung, DDS