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Canker Sore-Friendly Foods

Posted on September 16, 2021

A canker sore, or aphthous stomatitis, is a shallow sore shaped like an ulcer or crater, usually with a white or yellow center and a red border. Canker sores appear on the inside of the cheek or lip or on the tongue. They are more common in women and in people who are in their teens and twenties.

The exact cause of canker sores is unknown. They are not contagious or caused by a virus, but rather by T-cell immune response. Most outbreaks last seven to 10 days and will heal on their own. Unfortunately, in some cases, canker sores can become infected and lead to loss of appetite, severe pain, weight loss and malnutrition.

There is no known cure for canker sores, but it is possible to treat the symptoms. Knowing what foods to avoid with canker sores can help make the ulcers less frequent and severe. You can also work to prevent outbreaks by avoiding triggers.

How to Prevent Canker Sores

While you may not always be able to prevent canker sores, knowing the triggers can help you avoid them. Stress and fatigue can cause canker sores. Menstrual cycles are also a trigger and may be one reason why young women are most susceptible.

Try to avoid anything that irritates your teeth and gums, including biting your lips, brushing your teeth roughly or using toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate.

In some cases, food allergies and sensitivity can trigger reactions which can lead to canker sores. You may want to temporarily eliminate these foods, one at a time, for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference:

  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Spicy foods
  • Salty foods
  • Acidic citrus fruits, including lemons, oranges, pineapples, apples, figs, tomatoes and strawberries

In some cases, a diet that is deficient in iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid can contribute to an outbreak of canker sores. Eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits and healthy sources of protein will help you maintain good oral health overall.

What to Eat With Canker Sores

If you currently have a canker sore, it is important to avoid irritating it. Try eating bland foods that are easy to swallow and have no sharp edges. We also recommend taking small bites and cutting your food into pieces.

Ideal foods include peanut butter, which will help you maintain your protein intake, and dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Look for mild, soft food, like:

  • Warm cereals and oatmeal.
  • Mashed potatoes made with milk.
  • Clear soup.
  • Applesauce.
  • Cooked vegetables.

How to Manage Canker Sore Symptoms at Home

Most canker sores will resolve on their own. In the meantime, you can manage any discomfort with a few home remedies.

Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. You can rinse your mouth with this mixture three times a day for some relief.

You can also treat your symptoms with over-the-counter medications. You can place milk of magnesia on the affected area three times daily or take 400 milligrams of ibuprofen twice daily with food. Orajel and Anbesol can also help.

Schedule an Appointment With 209 NYC Dental

If over-the-counter medications are not working or if your canker sore is severe, visit 209 NYC Dental. We can prescribe medicine to alleviate your symptoms, including 1% Kenalog in Orabase and a Peridex rinse you can use for 30 seconds twice daily. Our office also has the latest laser technology to help cauterize a canker sore and promote rapid healing.

At best, canker sores are irritating. They can be debilitating at their worst. If your discomfort lasts for more than seven days, contact us to schedule a consultation at 212-355-2290.

About Dr. Ben Ifraimov

Dr. Ben Ifraimov is a top cosmetic and restorative dentist in New York City, providing the highest caliber of care for his patients at 209 NYC Dental in the Midtown East neighborhood of Manhattan. Dr. Ifraimov has extensive training in all areas of dentistry, providing the most advanced treatments for an array of oral health issues, including implant restorations, crowns and bridges, porcelain veneers and onlays, cosmetic bonding and Zoom whitening, as well as routine cleaning and examination, gum disease care and treatment, and treatment of dental emergencies.

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