Canker sores, or mouth ulcers, can be a real pain in the... mouth! At any given time, millions of people are suffering from these painful little white mouth sores. At a minimum, the pain caused by canker sores is annoying and, for some people who often get 2 or more at a time, the pain can be debilitating.
No one knows exactly what causes them but, in many cases, they may be an immune system reaction to a virus, bacteria, or yeast infection. There is also evidence that breakouts are linked to stress, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, gluten-sensitivity, food allergies, and vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Also, there is evidence that canker sores may be caused, in some people, by a reaction to sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a detergent found in most brands of toothpaste.
Unfortunately, there aren't really any 100% proven treatments or prevention techniques for canker sores. However, several treatments are available to reduce pain and speed healing of the ulcers. Your doctor may prescribe something like a triamcinolone (cortisone) shot or other pharmaceutical-based treatment but you might want to attempt to treat your canker sores naturally before you go the "pharma" route. (Note: If you seem to get canker sores very frequently, or if your sores last for more than 2 weeks, you should definitely see a doctor or dentist.)
The most important thing you can do to prevent canker sores, or any health problem for that matter, is to practice a healthy lifestyle. Eat a variety of healthy foods, get plenty of sleep, and exercise several times per week. These simple steps will keep your immune system functioning well and your stress levels low. But there are several other natural canker sore treatment and prevention techniques that might work for you. Try a few and see if they don't help...
-- eat a healthy diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, low in sugar and trans-fats
-- eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin E (eg. nuts and soy), calcium (eg. dairy, spinach, sunflower seeds), thiamine (eg. whole grains, sunflower seeds, beans), and iron (eg. red meat, green leafy vegetables, legumes)
-- drink plenty of pure water every day
-- take a good multi-vitamin supplement and extra vitamin C (500 mg or more per day)
-- keep a food diary to find out if certain foods trigger canker sores and/or make them worse
-- avoid the wheat protein gluten with a gluten-free diet
-- eat probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, etc. or take an acidophilus supplement
Natural Remedies and Prevention Techniques:
-- use a sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)-free toothpaste
-- take large doses of vitamin C with bioflavonoids (1000 mg 2 - 3 times per day until the sores heal)
-- take an L-Lysine (amino acid) supplement
-- take a sustained-release B vitamin supplement
-- use gums and candies sweetened with xylitol
-- apply an oral aloe vera gel to speed healing and reduce pain
-- rinse with undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide several times per day
-- use chewable deglycyrrhizinated licorice or chew on a licorice twig throughout the day
-- apply a wet, black tea bag to the ulcers to reduce pain
Keep in mind that there are also several over-the-counter canker sore treatments that can quickly reduce pain and possibly even speed healing by keeping the sores clean. You might want to give them a try!
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Jamie Clark is a health researcher and writer who contributes to the FreshHealthyUseful.com blog. To learn more about natural health remedies be sure to visit www.freshhealthyuseful.com today!
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