If you’ve experienced a canker sore in the past, you’ll know how aggravating they can be. The feeling that you can’t eat or even talk without the sore getting in the way, or fear of accidentally biting it again, is more than frustrating. So how can you prevent them from happening in the future? What is the cause of these annoying sores? Is it something that you should worry about? When heading into the holiday season, when you’re going to parties, and eating various foods, make sure you know everything necessary about canker sores. The family dental care experts at First Hill in Seattle are here to help.

What Are They?

Even though it’s not a pleasant experience, canker sores are fairly common and your family dental care center can offer advice if you struggle with sores. The sores are lesions that often develop on the cheeks, lips, tongue, base of the gums, and roof of the mouth. The sores can be broken down into three classifications:

  • Minor: The most common type, these sores are small, round, or oval, and will have a white or yellow-toned center and a red border.
  • Major: These are less common and will be larger, deeper, and have irregularly shaped edges.
  • Herpetiform: This type usually occurs in clusters of up to 100. The small sores vary in shape, size, and color.

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What Causes Sores?

Unfortunately, doctors are unsure what causes canker sores, but there are several theories. The good news is that they are not contagious and don’t occur due to the herpes virus. Consult First Hill family dental care center in Seattle if you have frequent canker sores. You may experience sores if:

  • There was a mouth injury: Accidentally biting your tongue or cheek while eating or brushing, or a sports injury to the mouth could result in a canker sore.
  • You are sensitive to foods: Certain foods are known to trigger canker sores, including coffee, chocolate, highly acidic or spicy foods.
  • You lack vitamins: If your diet is lacking in vitamins and minerals such as iron, folic acid, B12, or zinc.
  • There are hormonal changes: Canker sores can often occur during menstruation.
  • You have certain illnesses: If your body is fighting illnesses or diseases that affect the body’s immune system.

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How to Avoid Canker Sores

Typically, a canker sore will develop around two to three times a year, but there are some things that you can do to prevent them.

  • Watch what you eat: Certain foods can trigger a sore, including chips, pretzels, spices, pineapple, or grapefruit. Overall, watch out for foods that are high in salt or acid.
  • Choose healthy foods: Avoiding foods that are high in salt and sugar will not only help prevent canker sores, but healthy foods will give your body the proper nutrients.
  • Follow healthy oral hygiene habits: Any family dental care center will recommend brushing regularly, flossing, and use a soft brush to prevent irritation. Avoid toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.

The last thing you want when getting ready for the holidays is a canker sore. If you suffer from frequent sores, contact a family dental care center for expert advice. First Hill Dental Center in Seattle is waiting for your call.