What's the Deal with Canker Sores?

With the summer season around the corner, citrus fruits and fresh vegetables are aplenty. However, acidic foods such as oranges or tomatoes often trigger the appearance of canker sores. Additionally, salty and spicy foods or lack of vitamins and minerals can also lead to canker sores. According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, canker sores (also known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis) are experienced by over half the population and typically first emerges in young teens. The oral condition affects the softer tissues of the mouth, such as the lips, cheeks, tongue, or soft palate. Sores are typically less than 1 centimeter in diameter and disappear without treatment, but it is not uncommon for sores to reappear in the same location. 

While the exact cause of a canker sore is not known, canker sores are thought to arise due to an accumulation of white blood cells in the mucosal tissue. Diet, stress, or hormonal changes are all considered possible triggers. If the canker sore is accompanied by a fever, abdominal pain, or fatigue, the sores could be a function of a systemic issue such as Crohn's, Bechet’s, or Celiac disease, and you should seek immediate medical attention. It is fairly common for canker sores to be a result of orthodontic treatment such as braces. If that is the case, ask your dentist for wax to cover any intrusive wires. 


To subside the pain and minimize the reoccurrence of canker sores, avoid any toothpaste or mouthwash that contains sodium lauryl sulfates and refrain from acidic, salty, or spicy foods that appear to irritate your mouth. Ask your dentist about over the counter gels available that can be applied to the sore to further ease the pain. Rinsing with warm salt water can also help. If the canker sores cause difficulty with eating, extreme pain, or the sores persist for more than two weeks you should immediately speak with your dentist to be further evaluated. 

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.







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