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Causes of Canker Sores

Aug 17, 2007
Millions of people get canker sores every year. These painful and unsightly lesions that form in the mouth and on the lips are small white ulcers that can make life very uncomfortable for a day or two. More annoying than truly harmful, a canker sore is usually not serious enough to warrant a doctor visit, yet you may need to apply medicinal cream to ease the discomfort of this small but powerful sore place. If your sore stems from the Herpes simplex virus, your doctor can prescribe an ointment to address prevailing symptoms. You also can buy over-the-counter medications that will help to control the discomfort associated with the sore.

Although the herpes virus is the most common and likely culprit, many people believe that exposure to certain elements spur the development of these lesions at certain times. Here is a rundown of the most popular sources of blame:

1. Sunshine. Those with sensitive skin may prefer to avoid sun exposure during the peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., as this is when the rays have their most direct effect on the earth's surface. Sunbathers sometimes get a canker sore after several hours on the beach or poolside. Swimmers comprise another likely target group. While in the sun, wear sunscreen to protect your face and skin from the worst of the hot rays.

2. Acidic foods. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, chocolate, and other tangy food items may help to encourage a canker sore's development. If you discover a link between your consumption of these foods and the emergence of a canker sore, reduce your intake of these items or make health-conscious substitutions. For example, have pizza or pasta with white sauce instead of tomato sauce occasionally.

3. Stress. Many folks feel that undergoing significantly stressful events can bring out a canker sore. Try to balance the stress in your life with periods of rest or relaxation, perhaps listening to classical music or keeping a journal. Learning to manage stress in your life can help to guard your health from a number of adverse conditions and diseases.

Canker sores can grow or spread, so don't puncture them in hopes of making them disappear more quickly. Some people who have canker sores dislike kissing others for fear of spreading the sore. It might be a good idea to refrain until the sore goes away. If you have a sore on your mouth, wash it gently with warm water and mild soap. Avoid using the same washcloth on other parts of the face or body unless it has been rinsed out thoroughly. You may prefer not sharing drinking glasses with another person until a sore has disappeared completely. If a sore persists for more than two weeks, see your doctor, as it may be something other than a canker sore.
About the Author
For more information on preventing and treating these painful lesions, visit Canker Sore Tips at http://www.cankersoretips.com
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