How to Prevent Your Next Canker Sore


CANKER SORES MIGHT be small, but they tend to mean days of distracting discomfort. They are shallow ulcers that can develop on the insides of our cheeks or lips, and eating or even talking around them can be difficult. As your South San Francisco dentists, we want to share the common triggers of canker sores and what you can do to prevent them.


The Major Canker Sore Triggers

The usual suspects for causing canker sores tend to be one of the following:


  • A tissue injury from a bitten lip or cheek. When the area swells up after the first time you bite it, it only makes it easier to bite again!

  • Long periods of high stress can put a lot of strain on the immune system, leaving the mouth more vulnerable to canker sores developing.

  • Sickness strains the immune system too, which means we’re more likely to develop canker sores on top of an infection we’re already fighting off.

  • Highly acidic foods can be hard on the tissues of the mouth, such as lemons, strawberries, tomatoes, and pineapple. Spicy foods too!

  • Poking braces wires or ill-fitting dentures can rub the cheeks the wrong way and lead to canker sores.


Easy Remedies for Canker Sores

It’s very helpful to identify the main trigger if you are prone to canker sores because that will make it easier to prevent them and fight back. Things like cutting back on acidic foods, using dental wax to protect against poking brackets and wires, and working to reduce our stress levels and give our immune systems a break will all help. If these solutions don’t apply to what’s causing your canker sores (or if you’ve tried them and they don’t seem to be helping), try these tips:


  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to help the healing process go faster and reduce inflammation.

  • Use topical medication or painkillers to reduce discomfort.

  • Find a toothpaste that doesn’t contain sodium laurel sulfate (but still contains fluoride!).

  • Minimize irritation by brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush.


Preventing Canker Sores

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and in the case of canker sores, it’s better to stop them from forming than having to deal with them once they appear. This includes things like getting lots of B12, iron, and folate, which we can do by incorporating carrots, salmon, parsley, spinach, kale, and yogurt into our diets.


Good oral hygiene is also critical. In the same way that being sick makes us more vulnerable to canker sores, not keeping plaque under control in our mouths can make it harder for our bodies’ natural defenses to effectively prevent oral health issues, canker sores included.


Come to Us With Your Questions About Canker Sores

We hope we’ve addressed your big questions about canker sores, but we’re happy to answer any you may still have. We want to supply our patients with all the information they need to maintain the best oral health possible.


If it's been more than 6 months since your last check-up and cleaning, schedule your next visit today! Regular visits with your dentist and hygienist are an important part of keeping your smile healthy and beautiful. We're open 6 days a week and with our team of dentists, scheduling is easy! Book an appointment online or give us a call or text at (650) 871-1400 today!

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