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What Causes Canker Sores

by Williams, Daily & Frazier on Mar 7, 2022 10:57:00 AM

Have you ever had a canker sore? These sores are small lesions that develop typically inside the mouth. They can be very painful and annoying! Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious. You cannot spread them to other people by kissing or touching them.

However, canker sores can make eating, drinking, and sometimes talking very difficult. Depending on their location and how long they last, canker sores can impact your quality of life for as long as they last.

How Long Canker Sores Last

Canker sores vary in size. Their size determines how long they will take to heal. Smaller, and oval shaped ones that are red will heal in a week or two, while larger, white canker sores are extremely painful and can take over a month to fully heal. Some people get canker sores on a regular basis, while others get them rarely or never.


There are many things that can cause canker sores. Below are some of the most common causes of this problem:

  • Stress. Some people are more susceptible to canker sores because of the way their body handles stress.
  • Allergies and food sensitivities. Allergies to certain foods can lead to a sore mouth. If you notice that you get canker sores regularly, pay attention to your diet and try to notice which foods you ate just before you started to develop your canker sore.
  • Minor injury from the dentist or your toothbrush. Biting down on your mouth, jabbing the inside of your mouth with a toothbrush and getting a minor injury in your mouth from the dentist can lead to a canker sore. Not all injuries in the mouth turn into canker sores. The trick is to keep the injured area clean, and to avoid irritating it further. If you have braces, you may also be vulnerable to canker sores if your mouth becomes irritated by the wires and metal parts on your teeth.
  • Helicobacter pylori bacteria infection. This type of bacteria can cause infections in the digestive system, including in the mouth.
  • Hormone changes. Some females are more vulnerable to canker sores as they experience hormone fluctuations during their normal monthly cycle.

It is important to note that canker sores are a relatively common problem, not affiliated with the herpes virus. Canker sores are also not necessarily a sign of an unclean mouth. Many people experience canker sores because of changes in their body that have nothing to do with their oral hygiene.


While you may not be able to stop your body from getting canker sores, if you're prone to this problem, there are things you can do to minimize how often they occur.

Reduce stressful triggers in your daily routine. Do you frequently experience stress? If so, reducing the stress you feel can help you control the canker sores you get. Work on breathing exercises, meditation and yoga to help you control the stress you feel. If you know what your stress triggers are, do what you can to minimize how many triggers you experience throughout the day. If stress is unmanageable for you, consider talking to your doctor or speaking to a professional.

Eat healthier and drink more water to keep your body functioning at a high level. Avoid eating sugary, starchy foods. Eat a diet that's rich in vitamins and minerals. Drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and healthy.

Sleep more. Getting enough rest can improve your immune response, which can help you avoid getting canker sores. Sleep between 7 and 9 hours per day, as your body requires. Getting more sleep will also help you manage stress!

Improve or keep up with your oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice per day, and see the dentist twice annually. Floss daily. Keeping up with your oral hygiene can help you control infections in your mouth, which can make you less likely to experience a problem.

Time for Your Regular Teeth Cleaning? Call Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental

At Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental, we're happy to answer your questions about canker sores, and help you maintain good oral hygiene. To make an appointment, call us today.

Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist in Raleigh, NC with a dedicated team of dentists, assistants, hygienists and administrators who are enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes.
Contact Williams, Daily & Frazier at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.