- October 5, 2015
There is still a great deal of speculation regarding the causes of aphthous ulcers (canker sores). It seems that every person who suffers from canker sores has his or her own mix of symptoms, risk factors, and stressors. However, one of the most prevalent causes of canker sores is vitamin B-12 deficiency. B-12 is an essential vitamin necessary for many healthy bodily functions including DNA and red blood cell production. Unlike many nutrients, B-12 is not made by our body. It is absorbed from animal-based foods or from supplements. B-12 is one of our body’s building blocks, so it’s no surprise that medical professionals have studied the healing powers of B-12. One of the most recent studies involved the topical use of B-12 in healing aphthous ulcers, and initial results indicate that B-12 is highly effective in reducing pain and healing time for ulcer sufferers. As a practice dedicated to holistic care including homeopathic care and nutritional therapy, it’s refreshing to see other practitioners embracing natural healing methods.
Types & Causes of Canker Sores
Canker sores are small usually white or yellow-colored sores surrounded by inflamed red soft tissue in the mouth. There are simple and complex canker sores. Simple canker sores are prevalent in patients aged 10 to 20. Young people need much more B-12 than adults, and thus, experience deficiency and its associated symptoms, including canker sores, more frequently. It is more difficult to pin-point the cause of complex canker sores, but they are related to any combination of symptoms including B-12 deficiency, other nutritional deficiency, immune deficiency, stress, injury, acidic foods, allergies, and hormonal fluctuation among others.
Patients with B-12 deficiency are at the greatest risk for canker sores as a deficiency in B-12 is the most common symptom between both simple and complex canker sore patients. B-12 deficiency is typically caused by a lack of animal-based products in the diet but can also be caused by:
- Surgical removal of parts of stomach and/or small intestine
- Diseases that affect the stomach and/or small intestine
- Heavy drinking
- Immune deficiency
- Overuse of acid reducing medications
- Vegans and babies of vegan mothers
The causes of B-12 deficiency are almost as varied as the symptoms, but apthous ulcers are one of the earliest warning signs and common symptoms associated with the nutritional concern. Other symptoms include weakness, exhaustion, palpitations, inability to catch breath, paleness, digestive issues, and mental health concerns. The good news is that B-12 deficiency is easily treated with supplements or increased animal-product consumption.
Pain Management Nursing Report
A recent study published in the journal Pain Management Nursing revealed that reducing pain and healing time for patients with painful canker sores may be as simple as applying a topical B-12 ointment. The study used two groups of patients with canker sores. 22 were provided B-12 ointment to apply to their sores, and 20 were given a placebo. At the end of the study, the patients with B-12 reported a statistically significant reduction in pain and healing time. The results of this study suggest that B-12 may be an effective, natural pain reliever for patients with canker sores, and encourages future research in this area.
Find Out more
If you’re interested in learning more about vitamin B-12, canker sore treatments, or need treatment for other gum and soft tissue health concerns, call Dr. David Digiallorenzo, and that the friendly team at LANAP & Implant Center of Pennsylvania today.