Understanding the Causes of Canker Sores
Although the exact causes of canker sores are unknown, dental and medical professionals have noticed a few risk factors. For example, the U.S. Office on Women's Health points out that women tend to get canker sores more when menstruating. So your biological makeup and hormones may be related to your chances of developing them. The Merck Manual estimates that RAS occurs in 20 to 30% of adults and an even larger percentage of children. It also notes that RAS is often passed down in families, meaning genetics could play a role.
An injury inside your mouth may also increase your risk of developing a canker sore. If you've ever accidentally bitten the inside of your lip or cheek, then had a few days of a painful wound in that area, you've probably had a canker sore! Other potential causes include an allergy to certain foods, a lack of specific vitamins, smoking, and a weakened immune system.
And if you've heard that canker sores and anxiety have a connection, you may be wondering, "are canker sores caused by stress?" Anxiety and stress are well-known potential causes of canker sores, and several studies explore their relationship. For example, a study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry evaluated the psychological profiles and salivary cortisol levels (which indicate stress) of people with RAS. Although the study was small, researchers concluded that anxiety and depression levels were higher in people with RAS than in the control group.