Canker sores, also known as oral aphtae are small round lesions with a white to yellow middle and red border. They appear inside the mouth so eating, swallowing and even talking can be made somewhat uncomfortable. They are not the same as cold sores as they develop on the lips, under the nose and above the chin and they are highly contagious. Why people get canker sores is still unknown, but accidental harm to the inside of the mouth, food allergies and intolerances, lack of certain vitamins and oscillations in hormone levels are associated with their occurrence. They disappear after a week or two, even with no treatment, but some foods are known to help reduce the time needed for recovery and help ease the discomfort.
Sodium bicarbonate, or more commonly known as baking soda is a common ingredient in many toothpastes and mouthwashes. It is used to soothe the ulcers, speed up healing of existing ones and even prevent further development of canker sores. Baking soda acts as a strong acid neutralizer, rebalancing the pH levels inside the mouth by making it more alkaline. Acidic foods, specifically citric acid, has been related to the appearance of canker sores. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, helping reduce the swelling and irritation of the sores.
Make a mixture of one cup of water and one teaspoon of baking soda. Swish the mixture around your mouth for about a minute without swallowing. After you’re done swishing, spit it out. You can do this three to four times a day.
Alternatively, you can make a paste with water and baking soda, and using a cotton swab apply it directly to the ulcer. Have in mind that in can sting a little when applied and cause some tenderness around the sore. Rinse out the paste with a little bit of water and repeat it a few times a day. Do this until the sores are gone. Green or black tea and tea made from camomile or mint may be used to treat the ulcers. They contain compounds called Tannins, which give the tea its flavor and act as a strong antioxidant. It helps relieve the pain, reduce inflammation, swelling and time needed for them to heal. After making a cup of tea, put the tea bag in the refrigerator for a few minutes. After the bag cools a bit, press it lightly over the sore for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat this two or three times a day until the ulcers are gone.
Consult with a nutritionist do devise a dietary plan containing foods rich with B12 vitamin, such as beans, peas, lentils, red meat, fish, shellfish and poultry. Avoid acidic foods and fruits with high levels of citric acid like apples, oranges, lemons and tomatoes, because they are known to cause or worsen the onset of canker sores. In addition to acidic foods and beverages, avoid eating hot and spicy foods, or foods that are too hard or crispy.