How Citric Acid Causes Canker Sores

Mouth ulcers, or as they are more commonly known as canker sores, are a fairly common and harmless affliction of the tongue and interior of the mouth. These small wounds aren’t contagious and aren’t caused by a disease or health issue, they’re just a normal part of life. However, they are a very inconvenient part of life, and make eating, speaking or drinking difficult. The sores are constantly exposed to the food you eat and the beverages you drink and this might cause the pain to worsen and can slow down the healing process significantly.

How Citric Acid Causes Canker SoresOne of the most dangerous substances for canker sores is citric acid, commonly found in various citrus fruits, such as lemons or oranges. Canker sores are generally small, only cause pain if touched and heal by themselves within a week or two, depending on the size and severity of the sore. If you add citric acid to the mix, you’re looking at near constant, stinging pain, a much larger, aggravated sore and a significantly longer healing process.

Once the citric acid found in grapefruit, oranges and lemons comes into contact with the sore, will cause severe inflammation and the effects will be felt long after the acid is gone, so washing your mouth out won’t put a stop to the crippling pain or the appearance of even more, larger sores around the original ulcer.

The center of the sore is typically white and small, containing infected fluids, and is generally what causes the sore. It is also extremely sensitive, and citric acid causes more pain and damage to the exposed and  inflamed flesh. You should avoid both the fruits themselves, and any juices made from them.

How Citric Acid Causes Canker SoresCitric acid isn’t the only substance to look out for. There are many other foods and beverages which will aggravate the sores. Chocolate, nuts, vinegar, coffee, milk, cheese and whole wheat will cause similar complications as citric acid, such as sustained pain, growth, additional ulcers and a longer healing period.

Some people are simply more prone to developing these ulcers than others, and they can also be the result of an external wound, such as a bite, or scraping cause by a stray dental instrument, utensils, dentures or braces. Open wounds are very susceptible to any kind of infection and usually cause ulcers.

Canker sores typically heal on their own in about sever to fourteen days, if they are kept away from substances that will likely aggravate or encourage the growth of more canker sores. Treating them to increase the rate of healing is possible if you maintain the correct diet and make changes in your life that may be the cause of these sores. You should avoid citrus fruits in any form, as well as intense foods such as spicy or salty dishes. Sharp foods such as potato crisps should also be avoided, and remember to use the softest toothbrush available.