Given their diminutive size, it’s hard to fathom how canker sores can hurt as much as they do. Commonsense self-care measures can assist you in avoiding these painful mouth ulcers, and supplements may help you reduce their frequency and speed their healing.
Small white or yellowish sores surrounded by a red area on the tongue, gums, or soft palate, or inside the lips or cheeks.
Burning, itchiness, or a tingling feeling before a sore appears.
Raw pain when eating and speaking; strongest during the first few days.
When to Call Your Doctor
If pain is too severe to consume adequate liquids.
If more than four sores appear throughout your mouth.
If sores persist longer than two weeks.
If fever is 101 degree F or higher.
If sores occur more than two or three times a year.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
What It Is
Though not serious, canker sores can be so bothersome that they can cause intense pain when talking, kissing, drinking, and eating. Affecting women more often than men, these shallow, ulcerated areas appear singly or in small clusters inside the mouth, and range in size from as tiny as a pinhead to as large as a quarter. Cankers emerge fairly suddenly and usually go away within one to three weeks. Fortunately, it is possible to ease the discomfort they cause.
What Causes It
The prevailing view is that the sores are triggered by stress, which can cause the body’s immune system to overreact to bacteria normally present in the mouth. Canker sores can also be precipitated by a number of actions, such as irritating the
mouth cavity with a rough filling or a jagged or chipped tooth or wearing ill-fitting dentures. Maybe you’ve unconsciously gnawed the inside of your cheek, used a toothbrush with very hard bristles, or brushed too vigorously. Occasionally, even
eating acidic, spicy, or salty foods — tomatoes, citrus fruits, hot peppers, cinnamon, nuts, or potato chips — can be the initiating factor.
Some experts believe recurring cankers are an allergic reaction to food preservatives (benzoic acid, methylparaben, or sorbic acid, to name a few) or to something in a food. They single out gluten, the protein found in wheat and some other grains, as the most likely offender.
How Supplements Can Help
When canker sores erupt, turn to one or more of the following supplements. First try lysine — a deficiency in this amino
acid has been associated with canker sores. Echinacea strengthens the immune system, and lower doses of this herb (200 mg each morning, three weeks a month) may also prevent cankers from forming. Another immune-booster, vitamin C helps heal the
mouth’s mucous membranes; flavonoids are natural compounds that enhance the effectiveness of this vitamin. Licorice (DGL) wafers coat and protect sores from irritants and help them heal. Goldenseal in liquid form applied directly to the sore also promotes healing. Instead of DGL or goldenseal, you may want to try zinc lozenges to speed healing and boost your resistance.
People who get canker sores frequently may be deficient in B vitamins; a daily vitamin B complex is useful as a preventive.
What Else You Can Do
Keep your mouth clean and healthy by flossing and brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Be gentle and use a soft-bristled brush.
See your dentist if a tooth problem is irritating your mouth.
Be aware if you’re constantly gnawing at the inside of your cheek.
Don’t eat spicy foods if you’re prone to recurrent canker sores. Stay away from coffee and chewing gum, other known irritants.
Eating onions regularly might prevent these sores. Onions contain sulfur compounds that have antiseptic properties, and they are also a leading source of quercetin, a flavonoid that stops the body from releasing inflammatory substances in response to allergens.
If supplements or other self-treatments don’t help relieve the pain or frequency of canker sores, you might want to try a new prescription oral paste known by the generic name of amlexanox.
Dosage: 500 mg L-lysine 3 times a day.
Comments: Take on empty stomach; discontinue when sores heal.
Dosage: 200 mg 2 or 3 times a day at first sign of a sore.
Comments: Begin with higher dose and reduce as sore heals. As a preventive, take 200 mg each morning for 3 weeks of each month.
Dosage: 1,000 mg vitamin C and 500 mg flavonoids 3 times a day.
Comments: Reduce vitamin C dose if diarrhea develops.
Dosage: Chew 1 or 2 deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) wafers (380 mg) 3 or 4 times a day.
Comments: Take between meals.
Dosage: Apply liquid form to the sore 3 times a day.
Comments: After application, wait at least an hour before eating.
Dosage: 1 lozenge every 2 hours for 3 or 4 days.
Comments: Do not exceed 150 mg zinc a day from all sources.
Dosage: 1 pill each morning with food.
Comments: Look for a B-50 complex with 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin; 400 mcg folic acid; and 50 mg of all other B vitamins.
Herbal Remedy: YOU can fight small and painful ulcers on the tongue, lips, gums and insides of cheeks with underlying causes ranging from poor dental hygiene to allergies, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances to viral infecrion with the following herbs:-
Red clover, burdock, garlic extract, and any herb containing berberine as an active ingredient, including barberry, Oregon grape root and goldenseal root.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs