Scientists don't know exactly what causes a canker sore; therefore, no official cure exists. But, the prevention methods I use are as good as a cure. First, however, you must be aware of your body's reaction to food, stress, and other factors capable of triggering those terrible sores in the mouth. If you suffer from the factors that triggered my canker sores then you need a cure, or prevention that works.
What are triggers? Most people have several things in their daily lives that are known to trigger open sores in the mouth:
- acidic fruits, vegetables, and food additives
- acid forming foods
- food allergens or sensitivities
- nutritional deficiencies; usually vitamin C, vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid
- constant stress or anxiety
You should have a doctor rule out any serious problems such as bowel diseases, which can trigger recurring mouth sores. Acid build up was a major reason for my recurring canker sores. According to the American Dental Association, fatigue, stress, or allergies can increase the likelihood of a canker sore.1 That is, for most people, these factors increase acid production in the body, thus triggering a canker sore. Also, eating too much dairy, meat, fats, and other acid forming products will increase acidity in the body. If you have recurring canker sores then your body is probably too acidic, and you may be trending toward acidosis, which is the over-acidification of the cells in your body.
Remember, canker sores only occur inside the mouth. They are not contagious nor are they linked to cold sores or herpes. When your body is too acidic for too long a canker sore will probably develop on its own somewhere in your mouth, unless triggered by oral trauma. For example, if you bite the inside of your lip a canker sore will likely develop from the injury. Your mouth and stomach are simply healthier when your body is more alkaline. One step toward a cure for canker sores is to reduce the acidity of your body.
Balance your pH Level. Maintaining the proper balance of minerals, acidity, and alkalinity in your body will take some practice. A good way to get started is to drink lemon juice in the morning. It’s a natural antiseptic that can fight harmful bacteria. Also, lemon juice helps to break down food in your stomach. It’s a good idea to empty your stomach of food before you eat your next meal. Citrus fruits such as lemons are acidic by nature, and are known to trigger a canker sore upon contact with the mouth; however, citrus fruits are alkaline forming in the body when they get digested and absorbed. Likewise, most whole foods are alkaline forming. Good prevention includes eating a balanced pH diet, chewing carefully, and keeping your mouth clear of residue from foods that are naturally acidic.
Get your system alkaline and relax before breakfast. I recommend drinking lemon juice water at least three times a week, but you can do it daily. Thirty (30) minutes prior to eating breakfast, squeeze half a lemon into a glass, and remove any seeds that fall in. Stir in about 4 oz. of distilled water. Then fill a separate glass with distilled water, nothing added. Next, drink the lemon juice with a straw. It’s possible for lemon juice to damage tooth enamel, so, immediately drink about 8 oz. of the clear water, and then rinse out your mouth. The goal here is twofold: get the lemon juice into your stomach and allow time for your body’s pH level to become more alkaline.
While waiting to eat breakfast, continue to find your cure. Stress and anxiety can increase acid production, but not all stress is bad. Try stretching, walking, or breathing deeply to give your body oxygen, which is essential for repairing damaged cells. Check your attitude and strive to be more relaxed, positive, and confident throughout the day. Prayer is a good outlet for some people. When you have a canker sore the pain is extremely stressful. For immediate relief of this pain and stress I used prescription Orabase with Kenalog or Colgate’s over-the-counter maximum strength Orabase, especially at meal times.
Eat your way to a cure by combining alkaline forming and acid forming foods to get a balanced pH in your body. About 70% of an adult’s body is made up of water; therefore, your pH level reacts to the foods you eat. You must plan your meals if you're going to lower your body's acidity. In his book Diet and Health2, Walter Veith graphed some commonly used foods and the percentages of alkalinity or acidity of them after they have been digested. The graph is viewable at amazingdiscoveries.com, and it's printable.
As you analyze your diet you may decide to avoid a particular food. For example, I’m sensitive to cranberry juice, so my stomach responds to it by making a lot of acid. I could drink it with alkaline foods, but I avoid it, and drink water instead. Water is always good medicine. It doesn’t aggravate your digestion like coffee, tea, soda and some other beverages do.
All these prevention methods will, hopefully, be a cure for you in time. But, in the short term you’ll be hydrated, alkaline, relaxed, and ready to face the world with a smile that doesn’t hurt because of a canker sore. Enjoy laughing, talking, and eating with prevention that works.
I've included a representation/sample of Walter Veith's graph, in case it becomes unavailable.
"Acid and Alkaline Ash Food Groups - Graph"3
High Acid (15-40)
High Alkalinity (16-37)
Medium Acid (2.0-11)
Medium Alkalinity (5-15)
Low Acid (1-2)
Low Alkalinity (0.1-5)
"The figures in brakets represents the percentage alkalinity or acidity. The grouping of fruits and vegetables is listed according to common usage and not biological classification."3
1. American Dental Association. "Canker Sores, Cold Sores & Common Mouth Sores." Oral Health Topics. n.d. Web. 8 June 2012. < http://www.ada.org/2982.aspx>
2. Veith, Walter J. Diet and Health: Scientific Perspectives. 2nd ed. CRC Press. Dec. 1998. Print. < http://walterveith.com/walter-veith-books.html >
3. Veith, Walter J. amazingdiscoveries.org. "Acid and Alkaline Ash Food Groups - Graph." Amazing Discoveries. n.d. Web. 14 June 2012. < http://amazingdiscoveries.org/H-deception-health_acid_alkaline_food >