It has been surmised by natural toothpaste sellers that sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) causes cankers sores, but anyone suffering from a painful tongue canker, canker sore, oral ulcer, or other throbbing mouth sores will do well to have their iron levels checked.
The Iron Canker Sores Connection
Iron deficiency is one of the most often noticed kinds of nutritional deficiencies. Sufferers mistakenly believe that it is brought on only by a lack of iron-containing foods in the daily diet. Far more insidious are bodily conditions which may actually bring on iron deficiencies in usually healthy individuals.
At the top of the list are any kinds of bleeding – including menstruation – and prescription drugs that halt the absorption of dietary iron. The lack of iron does not become obvious to the sufferer until symptoms set in. Some symptoms include fatigue and irritability, but in others it is the formation of repeat oral ulcers (or canker sores) that may present concurrently with grooved nails.
If these symptoms are not heeded, the iron deficiency may continue to take its toll on the human body and eventually become anemia. Supposedly healthy individuals suddenly suffer from extreme fatigue, making them wonder if they are actually sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Why Do Canker Sores Not Serve As A Tip Off For Those With Iron Deficiencies?
Canker sores found on the gums, tongue and also on the insides of the lips oftentimes heal rather quickly. Even in cases where they are found to be prolonged, a simple application of numbing agents can make the sufferer forget that they are even there.
Worse yet, canker sores do not serve as a tip off for those with iron deficiencies because clever advertisers have more or less hijacked the canker sore as a symptom of irritation brought on by sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
The latter has become a veritable advertising campaign, and it is not unusual to find natural toothpaste companies’ websites or advertising for organic toothpaste by touting the dangers of SLS and its direct connection to canker sores and tongue cankers. This of course is technically correct, even as SLS only plays a minor role in the development of canker sores.
Proof of the Iron Deficiency Canker Sores Connection
Probably the most important bit of medical news with respect to proof of the iron deficiency canker sores connection is the 1978 study published in the Journal of Oral Pathology. It is within the framework of this research that not only iron deficiency, but also a lack of foliate and vitamin B-12 were identified as triggers for canker sore formation.
Overcoming Canker Sores Caused by Iron Deficiency
The most important step in overcoming canker sores caused by iron deficiency is a complete physical at your doctor’s office. This must be done to not only gauge the extent of the iron deficiency, but also to ensure that there are no hidden internal bleeding spots that are actually causing the lack of iron.
Next, a low dose iron supplement may do the trick to get patients back on track. The Geriatric Department of the Kaplan Medical Center (among others) was instrumental in studying the effect of low dose iron supplementation in senior citizens.
Results published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2005 show that octogenarians benefitted intensely from as little as 15 mg doses of iron, providing that they did not already suffer from anemia. The smaller dose did not come with any of the side effects usually associated with iron supplementation, and is therefore deemed to be healthier.
Finally, a dietary change including iron rich foods such as meats, dark green leafy veggies and also vitamin C supplementation – as indicated by the Merck Manual Home Edition – help to provide the iron required to prevent future bouts with canker sores.