Canker sores are some of the most common mouth ailments. These small sores or ulcers appearing inside of your mouth are generally untreatable, save remedies for pain management. Rather, the most effective treatment for canker sores is to identify their causes, and when possible, avoid them. Many believe that one of the primary causes of canker sores are food allergies or food intolerances. By avoiding certain foods, you may be able to keep your mouth healthy and canker sore-free.
What are Canker Sores?
Canker sores are mouth sores that appear inside your mouth, either on the gums, on the tongue, or on the inside cheeks. Unlike cold sores, they are not contagious and not a sign of a sexually transmitted disease. According to WebMD, “the exact cause of canker sores is unknown.” They also identify two major types of canker sores. Simple canker sores which are thought to be caused by food intolerances, mouth injury, or stress. Complex canker sores may be related to problems with your immune system, nutritional issues, or a food allergy, such as with Celiac’s disease.
Dealing with Food Intolerances and Canker Sores
If you experience the occasional canker sore, it is likely that they are simple canker sores. You may want to keep a list of your diet when a canker sore appears, avoiding foods that exacerbate the pain and seem to coincide with the canker sore’s appearance. Food intolerances that cause canker sores can vary, though NIH recommends avoiding hot and spicy foods with the appearance of a canker sore.
Canker Sores as a Sign of a Food Allergy
If you regularly experience canker sores, it’s possible that they are complex canker sores, and may be the the result of a genetic trait or a food allergy. NIH reports that the most common food allergies are eggs, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat. While some of these may be mild allergies or intolerances, avoiding these items may help alleviate canker sores.
It’s important to note that canker sores generally heal on their own in no more than two weeks. Be sure to discuss frequent canker sores and those lasting for longer than this time frame with your doctor in order to rule out a food allergy or other potential health or dental concerns.
Additional Information & Resources:
WebMD; Canker Sores; http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/canker-sores
NIH Medline Plus; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000817.htm