Posted by: Chris Maloney | February 6, 2014

What Causes Canker Sores? The Mystery of Apthous Stomatitis.

When I was a boy, I’d get canker sores.  Sometimes when I’d bite the inside of my cheek, it would not heal for days.  All day long my tongue would be drawn to the sore spot, and I’d taste that tang of my own blood if I re-bit the now swollen flesh of my cheek.  If you’ve never had the agony of rebiting your own cheek, then you’ve missed out on one of childhood’s little miseries.

My grandfather got them as well, and he had passed down to my mom that you should take papaya enzymes.  Whenever they remembered, my parents would get these and they seemed to work.  But then we’d run out and I’d be back to biting my lip.

Then I got braces, and those were just miserable years.  I don’t think I mumbled until I got braces, but the pain is such a memory that I mumble to this day unless I pay attention.

As an adult, I seem to have skipped the agony.  But recently my youngest son came home with a big canker sore.  Other kids in his class were getting them too.  Of course, this week I came down with my first canker sore in quite a while.  This one did not occur on a biting area, but rather below the gum line.

So what is the connection between canker sores and infectious diseases?  According to a review of the studies, we don’t really know.  But step infection of the mouth and two viruses of the herpes family (Cytomegalovirus and EBV) have been implicated as possible targets.  There are also a number of very bad things that canker sores could be: gluten sensitivity, and signs of autoimmune diseases.  But I don’t think my child’s classroom came down with gluten sensitivity or autoimmune disease as a group.  So I’m going with either strep or a virus.  I wish I’d known this much when I was a kid.  It might have helped when all that wax I applied to my steel braces really did nothing for me.

What do we do for viruses?  Well, the herpes family hates licorice, lysine, lemon balm, and garlic.  So those are on the menu.

Here’s the review (full free article).

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  1. […] What Causes Canker Sores? The Mystery of Apthous Stomatitis. […]


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