Two types of canker sores
Canker sores can happen to anyone at any age. Despite being relatively common, these small ulcers are not as well understood as other oral health problems. There has been ongoing debate among dentists, doctors and health professionals about what causes canker sores, yet no overarching definitive answer has been reached.
Simple canker sores
Health professionals do know, however, that there are two main types of canker sores. The first type is simple canker sores. These are associated with childhood, as they typically occur in people ages 10 to 20. Simple canker sores may appear three or four times a year and last up to a week. While the exact cause of most canker cores is unknown, stress and a diet heavy in acidic foods are thought to be the culprit behind simple canker sores.
Eating certain foods, such as citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables (such as lemons, pineapples, oranges and tomatoes) can make the problem worse. If you've had a canker sore before, you know the stinging feeling produced by these acidic foods. The same holds true for candies heavily scented with lemon, lime or orange.
It's worth pointing out that this stinging sensation is not the precursor to healing like dabbing rubbing alcohol on a wound. The acid does not clean the opening, but instead further irritates it. When you are dealing with a canker sore, be sure to avoid these flavors and foods.
Complex canker sores
The second kind is complex canker sores. These ulcers can can happen to people at any age, but is more common in adults. Similar to simple canker sores, complex sores can be caused by diet or stress, however, in adults they can also indicate that something isn't quite right with the body. They may be your body's way of signaling an immune deficiency disorder or allergy.
Although complex sores are rare, those with a history of simple canker sores are prone to them. One big question to clear up is: Can canker sores be passed from person to person?The answer is: no. They are not the same as cold sores, which are caused by a contagious virus.
Whether you have a canker sore on the tongue, cheek or lip, it might be painful. These lesions can make talking, smiling, eating and drinking a challenge. The goods news is that canker sores generally last anywhere from one to 10 days. If the problem persists longer than this, talk to your doctor, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as a fever, physical sluggishness or swollen lymph nodes.