Does stress cause ulcers?
You know, those small white, gray or red spots in your mouth—also known as canker sores—that burn, sting and torture you until they (finally) disappear?
A report in the Academy of General Dentistry’s journal confirmed stress’s role in canker sores by looking at how often students had ulcers from stress while in school. The article concluded that the reduction of stress levels during breaks—even following graduation—resulted in fewer ulcers.
Getting ulcers from stress is a reality, but there are a handful of additional factors that can cause these painful ulcers to make a debut:
- Hormonal shifts
- A diet without sufficient amounts of folic acid, iron, vitamin B12 or zinc
- Food sensitivities to items including cheese, chocolate, eggs, spicy foods and more
- Oral health products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
- Injuries to the mouth from cheek bites, rough brushing or dental work
So what do you do when high stress causes ulcers? Here are a few self-treatment options to consider:
- Avoid abrasive foods that can rub and irritate the sore
- Limit hot, acidic and spicy foods to avoid pain
- Brush your teeth gently
- Use over-the-counter pain medications to reduce pain and inflammation
- Consider topical anesthetics that can numb and protect the ulcer
- Harness the power of aloe vera juice
If nothing seems to be working, don’t stress more. Canker sores typically heal in 7-10 days. You can also visit your dentist to talk about prevention and treatment.