Evaporative dry eye

Can food allergy trigger canker sores?

Fact Checked

Canker sores are small-sized, painful, shallow lesions that develop at the base of the gums and on the soft tissues of the mouth. Even though the exact cause is unknown, canker sores can be instigated by issues with the immune system, medications, hormonal changes, trauma and food allergies. A doctor should be consulted if an individual is suspected with canker sores as symptoms of a food allergy.


Close look on canker sores

Canker sores are known to occur in individuals of all ages. The non-traumatic ulcerations in the mouth usually manifest on the soft palate, tongue, lips, base of the gums and inner surface of the cheeks.

The central part of the sore is usually white or yellow with a bright red border. A few days before the canker sores manifests, the individual can experience a tingling or burning sensation. Even though the exact cause of these non-cancerous sores is still unknown, it is believed that there is a combination of factors which includes food sensitivities, injuries, food allergies, hormonal changes and auto-immune conditions that can contribute to an outbreak.

Canker sores
A few days before the canker sores manifests, the individual can experience a tingling or burning sensation.

Connection with food allergies

Food allergy develops as an immune response against the proteins present in the food. The immune system perceives the protein as foreign and a threat, thus triggering an immunoglobulin E mediated response against the allergen.

The immune mediators instigate the symptoms of an allergic reaction including digestive issues, swollen lips and mouth, skin inflammation, wheezing, hives, eczema, nasal congestion and respiratory issues.

The common food allergens such as peanuts, milk, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish are responsible for all food-related allergic reactions. An allergic response to certain foods including gluten, chocolate, cow’s milk, cinnamon, tomato, cinnamon, figs, strawberries and lemons can also contribute to the development of canker sores.

The release of histamine and other immune mediators in the mouth can lead to cellular and tissue damage with the appearance of the canker sores as one of the symptoms of a reaction. Since not all the allergy symptoms manifest at once, one approach is the elimination diet to determine whether the canker sores are linked to a food allergy.

Management of canker sores

If the individual frequently develops canker sores, it is best to keep a food diary to identify the trigger of the condition. Additionally, avoid spicy, crunchy or irritating foods.

It is recommended to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and always brush and flush on a regular basis especially after meals to avoid infection. The cleansing antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide that is diluted with water can be used to prevent an infection and promote the healing process. In addition, over-the-counter medications can also minimize the pain and discomfort.

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