Mouth sores, also called mouth ulcers or aphthous ulcers, are tissue disorders whose cause is not yet fully known in the medical world. These sores, which are white, yellow or gray in the middle, are not the same as herpes. The wounds, which are quite painful, always occur inside the mouth and appear on the lips, cheeks, tongue, gums or palate. Most often, 2 – 3 wounds are seen at the same time.
Although mouth sores seem to affect women more, they can be seen in almost everyone, starting from childhood. It heals within 7 to 10 days and whether it will recur depends on the person. We said, ‘The exact cause is unknown’, but there are various factors that are thought to be effective on aphthous ulcers and reasons that trigger these sores. There are different factors ranging from toothpaste to food. Before listing these factors, let us add that mouth sores are not contagious.
Accidentally biting the cheek, very hot food or drinks, irritation of the inside of the mouth due to a sharp object, or prosthetic teeth are examples of physical trauma that can cause wounds in the mouth.
Acidic foods and drinks can trigger mouth sores. What is meant here by acidic beverages is not just beverages such as cola and soda. For example, orange juice is one of the beverages that causes the most complaints in people with mouth sores or sensitive mouth tissue. Not only oranges but citrus fruits in general have a high acidity. In addition to fruits with high acidity, vinegar, vinegar sauces, salty, spicy, spicy foods, pickles, snacks and many ready-made foods containing chemicals can trigger aphtha in the mouth. You can try to get a clue as to what may have affected you by reviewing what you ate a day or two before aphthous ulcers occur.
In 90% of food allergies, milk, peanuts, hazelnuts, soy, fish, wheat or shellfish trigger some type of food-related allergy. It is stated that gluten, cow’s milk proteins, chocolate, cinnamon, walnuts, almonds, tomatoes, figs, lemons and strawberries contribute to the formation of canker sores in the mouth. As a result of histamine secretion, cells and tissues in the mouth may be damaged and mouth sores may occur as one of the allergic symptoms.
The stomach microbe known as Helicobacter pylori can cause mouth sores as well as some vitamin deficiencies such as B12. It is often overlooked when investigating the causes of canker sores, but stomach microbes, which can also cause various stomach disorders such as ulcers, are an extremely common health problem. If stomach microbes lie behind the aphthous problem, it will not be possible to get rid of it without treatment.
While we talk about the harms of smoking at every opportunity, it may surprise you to suddenly hear that quitting smoking could be harmful. Of course, this is a temporary situation. Mouth sores may be triggered by changes in chemicals in the body after quitting smoking. However, focus on how beneficial it is to quit smoking in the long run and do not think about starting smoking again because of this short-term problem!
Although quitting smoking poses a risk of canker sores, smoking can also cause these sores. It is known that mouth sores are triggered by tobacco, alcohol and various chemicals.
It has been observed that not all toothpastes, but oral hygiene products such as toothpaste or mouthwash containing ‘sodium lauryl sulfate’ (SLS) trigger canker sores. The reason for this can be explained as SLS dries the protective layer in the oral tissues and the underlying tissue becomes more vulnerable to wounds.
Vitamin or Iron Deficiency
Iron and vitamin deficiency, and especially deficiency of vitamins B3, B9 (folic acid) and B12, may trigger sores in the mouth. These vitamins help with issues such as supporting skin health and the nervous system, producing hormones and blood cells, and their deficiency can cause mouth sores. Vitamin deficiency can also be a sign of malnutrition and weakened immune system. Both conditions are triggers for mouth sores. If you can’t see any other cause, you may need to review your eating habits to understand the cause of your mouth sores.
One of the body’s reactions to hormonal imbalances is mouth sores. For example, it is common for teenage girls or women to develop mouth sores during their menstrual period.
It is no longer surprising to see stress among the causes of many physical complaints, and canker sores can be counted among these complaints. Unfortunately, our body does not delay in reacting physically to the anxious thoughts we carry throughout the day, the unhappiness at work or at home, the state of worry about everything, or the troubled hours we spend in traffic. In addition to hormonal changes during women’s menstrual periods, tension can also invite canker sores.
A study revealed that 35% of people suffering from aphtha had at least one other family member suffering from aphtha. It has been observed that in 90% of identical twins, both siblings develop aphtha. It has been revealed that when aphtha develops in people whose family members have aphthous ulcers, they experience this disease at an earlier age and with more severe symptoms.
Celiac disease means the body’s intolerance to the protein called gluten, found in wheat, rye and barley. This condition manifests itself with inflammation in the small intestine. Another common symptom of celiac disease is mouth sores.
Chron’s disease, also an inflammatory bowel disease, is a disorder that causes inflammation in the intestine and can cause sores in both the stomach and mouth.
Any immune disease that attacks the body’s immune system, such as HIV or lupus, can cause mouth sores.
When to Call the Doctor?
- When you first get aphthous ulcers in your mouth.
- When aphthous ulcers larger than 1 centimeter occur.
- When more canker sores appear than before.
- When canker sores begin to appear more frequently than before.
- When joint pain, fever, diarrhea and spots on the body occur at the same time as canker sores.