What are the Risk Factors?

Stress is one of the most important risk factors identified for canker sores.  They are also significantly more common if you are young or Caucasian.  Non-smokers or those who have recently quit have increased incidence for unclear reasons.    

One research group (Huling et al. 2011) studied the effects of stress upon canker sore rates.  They found that periods of high mental stress were associated with almost 3.5 times the number canker sores.  Physical stressors also had an effect, raising the chances of an outbreak to 1.4 times normal.  Whether this was due to increased cortisol or immune system changes wasn’t examined, but the numbers were convincing.  Canker sores appear to be a condition that worsens significantly with stress.

Canker sores often appear as a secondary process when other diseases and conditions are affecting the individual.  Many conditions, especially those with an autoimmune or inflammatory component are associated with increased incidence.  If you suffer from frequent canker sores you may wish to discuss the following conditions or risk factors with your doctor:

Iron Deficiency
Folate Deficiency
B12 Deficiency
Celiac Disease
Autoimmune Disease
Behcets Disease
Crohn’s Disease
Ulcerative Colitis
PFAPA Syndrome
Sutton Disease