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  • Take note that canker sores are common symptoms of IBDs, especially for Crohn’s disease
  • This illness caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) could lead to the development of canker sores and other symptoms like dry mouth, tooth decay and gum disease (periodontitis)
 

The Different Causes of Canker Sores

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Although scientists have not fully determined what really causes painful canker sores, what they have discovered is that they could develop because of a variety of factors and/or medical conditions.1

These Factors Can Increase Your Risk for Canker Sores

Canker sores may appear because of certain events or environmental, emotional or dietary reasons. These include:2

Mouth injuries due to dental work, overzealous brushing, sports mishaps or accidental cheek bite/s

Toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate

Food sensitivities to items like chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, cheese and spicy or acidic foods

Deficiency in vitamin B12, zinc, iron or folate or folic acid

Allergic responses to bacteria strains in the mouth

Helicobacter pylori bacteria that causes peptic ulcers

Hormonal shifts during menstruation

Emotional stress

Certain Diseases Can Pave the Way for Canker Sores

Diseases can pave the way for the onset of canker sores, such as:3

Celiac disease: This is a serious intestinal disorder that occurs because of sensitivity to gluten, a type of protein that’s found in most grains. Canker sores are a known hallmark of this disease.4

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis: Take note that canker sores are common symptoms of IBDs,5 especially Crohn’s disease. They typically appear during severe flare-ups, although they subside once the condition is controlled.6

Behcet’s disease: Patients with this rare disorder experience inflammation throughout the body, including the mouth. Mouth sores that resemble canker sores are a major sign of this illness. These sores start off as raised and round lesions but develop into painful ulcers. Healing may take one to three weeks, and patients might experience recurrent sores too.7

Faulty immune system: If you have a weakened immune system, this means that healthy cells in your mouth are attacked instead of harmful pathogens, viruses and bacteria. While a definite link between canker sores and a weak immune system hasn’t been fully established yet, this immunocompromised environment leads to a slower repair period for the lesions, hence the potential for longer periods of pain.

HIV/AIDS: This illness caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)8 is known to attack your immune system greatly and causes oral problems, among many other consequences.10,11 This could lead to the development of canker sores and other symptoms like dry mouth, tooth decay and gum disease (periodontitis).12

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