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What Causes Canker Sores?

Updated on April 9, 2014

Cancer Sore

Canker Sores and Mouth Ulcers - Ouch!

Canker sores or mouth ulcers is a very common problem for people. They can be very painful and annoying because it hurts to eat and drink. You can get them on the inner part of your mouth or on the roof of your mouth. Some people get mouth ulcers more often then others depending on what is causing the problem.

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Causes of Canker Sores

There are many possible causes of canker sores. Here is a list of a few of the most common causes.

  1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)- SLS is a foaming agent that is added to most toothpastes and mouthwashes. If you get mouth sores often, you may want to consider switching to a toothpaste that doesn't contain this additive. And then see if you stop getting canker sores. It is possible you could be having a reaction to the Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.
  2. Genetics - If one or both of your parents suffer from canker sores often you will inherit the same problem. Canker sores like cold sores, tent to run in families.
  3. injury to mouth tissue - often people who have injured or scratched their mouth or gum, they will often see the injure area turn into a canker sore.
  4. Stress - Our bodies respond to stress in different ways. Many people who suffer from stress often get canker sores.
  5. Food Allergies - If you get a lot canker sores, it is possible that you are allergic to a certain food. Consider keeping an eating journal so you can narrow down what you ate 24 hours before the break out in order to figure out a food allergy.

Treating Canker Sore | Home Remedies for Canker Sores

Here are some of the things you can do to prevent mouth ulcers and canker sores and a list of some of the natural remedies that you might want to try to help relieve the pain and help the ulcer heal quickly.

  1. Stop using toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): Many people are surprised that they stop getting these painful mouth sores as soon as they stop using toothpaste.
  2. Gargle with warm salt water. Salt water is known to help your mouth heal quickly.
  3. Try rinsing your mouth with milk of magnesia. The Milk of Magnesia helps to coat the canker sore and make it less painful when you eat.
  4. Gargle with peroxide. A home remedy used by many is to gargle with peroxide daily. The peroxide helps to kill off any bacteria in your mouth and helps to heal the sore.
  5. There is an amino acid tablet called Lysine that works as well. If you take it at the first sign of an ulcer it can help with the duration of the caner sore. You can find it in the vitamin aisle at Walmart.

Over the counter Canker Sore Remedy

There are also many over the counter canker sore remedies that work as a band-aid. You put the liquid directly on the sore and it will protect the ulcer so foods and drinks will not penetrate and cause discomfort. These creams and medicines also help the canker sore to heal.


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    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Krick 7 years ago from Maryland

      You might be surprised Sablirab. I found that most toothpastes have it. We use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth that doesn't contain SLS. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      TheSablirab 7 years ago

      For helpful! My brother has stopped using toothpaste altogether because he thinks the canker sores will be in abundance the second he puts toothpaste in his mouth. We use Colgate here at home, so it makes me wonder if it has the SLS. Hmmm...

      Thanks again!

    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Krick 7 years ago from Maryland

      You're welcome Habee. :)

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      My daughter was just asking these yesterday! Now I know what to tell her. Thanks!