Canker sores, aka aphthous ulcers are soft tissue lesions that usually develop at the base of your gums. Unlike cold sores, they are non-pathological in nature, and consequently, aren’t contagious. However, according to the dental team at Reitano Dentistry in Virginia Beach, canker sores might cause serious discomfort that can possibly be avoided with proper oral hygiene and preventative care.

Possible Triggers

Being non-pathological in nature, canker sores are believed to be triggered by certain oral health behaviors, such as:

  • Overzealous brushing and flossing
  • Irritant mouth rinses and toothpaste
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate, an ingredient found in some toothpastes
  • Emotional stress
  • A compromised immune system
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Hormonal imbalance during menstruation

Risk Factors

Young adults, especially young women, are more predisposed to developing canker sores. The scientific reasoning behind this phenomenon remains a grey area, but is believed to correspond with hormonal changes brought on by puberty.

However, some patients suffering from recurrent bouts of canker sore may actually have a hereditary gene that triggers the condition. Prevention through strong, consistent oral hygiene is the only proven measure to guard against canker sores. If you have experienced frequent bouts of canker sores or cold sores, schedule an appointment to talk to our Reitano Dentistry team about care and management of those symptoms.