My youngest daughter suffered with Canker Sores all of her
teenage years. She would not give up the catsup and on a
regular basis here they came -- some times 3 or 4 at a time. If
she stayed away from catsup -- no canker sores.
Canker sores are not cold sores. Do not treat a canker sore
as a fever blister. The causes are different and the treatment
Recurrent canker sores afflict about 20
percent of the general population. The medical
term for the sores is aphthous stomatitis or
Canker sores are usually found on the movable
parts of the mouth such as the tongue or the
inside linings of the lips and cheeks. They
begin as small oval or round reddish swellings,
which usually burst within a day.
The ruptured sores are covered by a thin
white or yellow membrane and edged by a red
halo. Generally, they heal within 2 weeks.
Canker sores range in size from an eighth of an
inch wide in mild cases to more than an inch
wide in severe cases.
Severe canker sores may leave scars. Fever
is rare, and the sores are rarely associated
with other diseases. Usually a person will have
only one or a few canker sores at a time.
Most people have their first bout with canker sores between
the ages of 10 and 20. Children as young as 2, however, may
develop the condition. The frequency of canker sore recurrences
varies considerably. Some people have only one or two episodes
a year, while others may have a continuous series of canker
What causes canker sores?
The cause of canker sores is not well understood. More than
one cause is likely, even for individual patients. Canker sores
do not appear to be caused by viruses or bacteria, although an
allergy to a type of bacterium commonly found in the mouth may
trigger them in some people. For some, it may be an abnormal
immune response to normal bacteria in the mouth. The sores may
be an allergic reaction to certain foods.
British studies show that, in about 20 percent of patients,
canker sores are due partly to nutritional deficiencies,
especially lack of vitamin B12, folic acid and iron. Similar
studies performed in the United States, however, have not
confirmed this finding. In a small percentage of patients,
canker sores occur with gastrointestinal problems, such as an
inability to digest certain cereals, or Crohn's
Disease. In these patients, canker sores appear to be part
of a generalized disorder of the digestive tract.
Female sex hormones apparently play a role in causing canker
sores. Many women have bouts of the sores only during certain
phases of their menstrual cycles. Most women experience
improvement or remission of their canker sores during
pregnancy. Researchers have used hormone therapy successfully
in clinical studies to treat some women.
Both emotional stress and injury to the mouth can trigger
outbreaks of canker sores, but these factors probably do not
cause the disorder.
Most doctors recommend that patients who have frequent bouts
of canker sores undergo blood and allergy tests to determine if
their sores are caused by a nutritional deficiency, an allergy
or some other preventable cause. Vitamins and other nutritional
supplements often prevent recurrences or reduce the severity of
canker sores in patients with a nutritional deficiency.
Patients with food allergies can reduce the frequency of canker
sores by avoiding those foods.
There are several treatments for reducing the pain and
duration of canker sores for patients whose outbreaks cannot be
prevented. These include numbing ointments such as benzocaine,
which are available in drug stores without a prescription.
Anti-inflammatory steroid mouthrinses or gels can be prescribed
for patients with severe sores.
Mouthrinses containing the antibiotic tetracycline may
reduce the unpleasant symptoms of canker sores and speed
healing by preventing bacterial infections in the sores.
Clinical studies at the National Institute of Dental and
Craniofacial Research have shown that rinsing the mouth
with tetracycline several times a day usually relieves pain in
24 hours and allows complete healing in 5 to 7 days. The
U.S. Food and Drug
Administration warns, however, that tetracycline given to
pregnant women and young children can permanently stain
youngsters' teeth. Both steroid and tetracycline treatments
require a prescription and care of a dentist or physician.
Patients with severe recurrent canker sores may need to take
steroid or other immuno-suppressant drugs orally. These potent
drugs can cause many undesirable side effects, and should be
used only under the close supervision of a dentist or
If you have canker sores, avoid abrasive foods such as
potato chips that can stick in the cheek or gum and aggravate
the sores. Take care when brushing your teeth not to stab the
gums or cheek with a toothbrush bristle. Avoid acidic and spicy
foods. Canker sores are not contagious, so patients do not have
a worry about spreading them to other people.
Add these items to your supplement list. A deficiency in
them may contribute to Canker sores.
Lysine - take with vitamin c for best absorption. Do
not take supplemental Lysine on a regular basis for more than 6
months at a time.
Vitamin B12 and Folic acid. In fact a good all around
combination B vitamin complex will go a long way toward a