Could Your Canker Sore Be a Sign of a Larger Health Issue?

Dr. Sanchez Tells You When to See Your Doctor.

Canker sores are small ulcers that occur in the mouth and can make eating and talking uncomfortable. There are two types of cankers: simple and complex. The simple canker sore can appear three or four times a year and last for about a week. Simple cankers are most common in people between 10 and 20 years old. Complex canker sores are not as common and occur mostly in those who have a history of canker sores.

Canker sores can often be caused by stress or tissue injury. Certain acidic foods (oranges, pineapples, lemons, and other fruits) can also cause canker sores or make existing sores worse.

Canker sores may be indicative of anemia, autoimmune disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease, among others. Canker sores occur on cheeks, lips, or tongue. Most are single lesions caused by stress or trauma. They are typically small, round, flat and very painful. If they last longer than the typical 7-10 days, or are constantly appearing rather than a few times a year, the patient should be examined by their primary care physician to rule out the previously mentioned disorders. Pain caused by canker sores can be relieved by using topical solutions, corticosteroids, and cauterizing the sore.

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