Home Dental Canker Sores: Types, Causes and...

Canker Sores: Types, Causes and Symptoms

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers are small shallow lesions that grow on the soft tissues in your mouth. They can also grow on your tongue and at the base of your gum.

Canker sores are not contagious like cold sores and they do not appear on the surface of your lips. However, they can be painful. You can also have difficulty speaking and eating when you have canker sores.

Without treatment, most canker sores can go away on their own. However, if you have frequent canker sores that are large and painful, you have to contact a naturopathic doctor immediately.

If your canker sores don’t want to heal, you should not take it for granted. Seek for help immediately.

Symptoms of Canker Sores

Canker sores are usually round or oval in shape. They have a red border and a white or yellow center. They can occur inside your mouth, inside your cheeks, inside your lips, on your soft palate, at the base of your gum, or under your tongue.

They can also come along with a burning or tingling sensation. You might feel this sensation one or two days before the sores appear.

Causes of Canker Sores

Although the main cause of canker sores is not yet known. They are some factors that have been implicated in the cause of canker sores. Research has revealed this and I will list some of them.

The possible causes of canker sores are:

  • Nutritional deficiencies: You will be prone to frequent canker sores if iron, zinc, folate, and vitamin B12 is lacking in your body.
  • Presence of bacteria in the mouth. Some studies reveal that canker sores are an allergic reaction to certain bacteria in the mouth. H. pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcer is also responsible for this.
  • Hormonal imbalances during menstruation can cause this in women. Emotional stress can also cause
  • Food sensitivities and allergies have also been linked to canker sores. Foods that have been implicated are acidic foods, spicy foods, nuts, eggs, cheese, coffee, chocolates, etc.
  • Toothpastes and oral care products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate. This chemical is added to toothpastes, mouthwashes and other oral care products.

They have been linked to canker sores, scrutinize your oral care products by reading the label. Avoid products that contain this harmful additive.

  • Minor injuries to the mouth caused by accidental cheek bite, sports mishaps, overzealous brushing, and it can even be gotten from dental works.

Some medical conditions come along with canker sores as symptoms. Some of them are:

  • Diseases that suppress the immune system such as HIV/AIDS. It also occurs in people who have a faulty and compromised immune system. This makes the body susceptible to bacteria that cause canker sores.

Also a faulty immune system can attack healthy cells in the body. When the healthy cells are destroyed, pathogens, viruses, and bacteria can thrive freely.

A severe intestinal disorder caused by sensitivity to gluten. This protein is found in most genetically modified grains.

  • Another medical condition that causes canker sores is Behcet’s disease. This is a rare condition and it is fatal. It causes inflammation all through your mouth and the mouth is not excluded.

Types of Canker Sores

There are several types of canker sores. They are the herpetiform, minor, and major forms.

Herpetiform canker sores

This type of canker sores is uncommon. They are not caused by herpe virus infection. They usually occur later in life and they are very tiny (pinpoint) in size. They appear in clusters of 10 to 100 sores. But they merge into one large wound or ulcer.

Their edges are irregular and they can heal without leaving a scar in one to two weeks.

Major canker sores

This type is less common also and it can be extremely painful. It can last for up to 6 weeks before it heals and they leave extensive scarring. These sores are deeper and larger than the minor ones.

They are usually round and they have defined borders. When they grow large, their borders become irregular.

Minor canker sores

This type is the most common type of canker sores. They are small and have an oval shape. They heal without leaving in a scar in 1 to 2 weeks and they have a red edge.

Check our next post on effective home remedies for canker sores


  1. Dental Health and Canker Sores WebMD
  2. Ten remedies for canker sores MNT
  3. How to Get Rid of Canker Sores — 13 Natural Ways Dr. Axe
Ebiojo David
I am a Biochemist and Naturopath, I love writing and educating people on health and wellness matters.

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