The Diet Solution to Mouth Ulcers
Healthy Living

The Diet Solution to Mouth Ulcers

Mehvish Hamdare profile Authored by Mehvish Hamdare on 27 Nov 2014 - 09:45.

Mouth ulcers are a common feature with most people and the discomfort they cause can range from being slightly irritating to downright painful. So what is mouth ulcer?

Mouth ulcers, also known as apthous ulcers, are painful round or oval sores that form in the mouth, most often on the inside of the cheeks or lips. A mouth ulcer is the loss of a part of the delicate tissue lining inside the mouth (mucous membrane). They're usually white, red, yellow or grey in colour and are inflamed (red and swollen) around the edge. Mouth ulcers are also known as canker sores.

Although mouth ulcers can be uncomfortable, especially when you eat, drink or brush your teeth, they are usually harmless and clear up in a few days, but if they aggravate and persist for long, you should consult a doctor to rule out any serious underlying cause.

Common Causes of Mouth ulcers

  • Nutritional deficiencies such as iron, vitamins, especially B12 and C
  • Poor dental/oral hygiene
  • Food allergies
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Infections, particularly herpes simplex
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Bowel disease
  • Accidental biting of the cheek or tongue
  • Skin disease
  • Injury from a toothbrush (such as slipping while brushing)
  • Reaction to certain drugs, such as chemotherapeutic agents
  • Oral cancer
  • Stopping smoking

Symptoms

Symptoms vary and depend on the specific cause of the mouth ulcer. In general, symptoms may include:

  • Open sores in the mouth
  • Pain or discomfort in the mouth
  • Problems with chewing or brushing teeth because of the tenderness
  • Irritation of the sores by salty, spicy or sour foods
  • Loss of appetite

By eating the right food, you can cure as well as prevent the chances of getting mouth ulcers. Diet plays a key role in prevention and control of ulcers. Following is a preferred food list:

Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent food for the treatment of mouth ulcers because it helps in soothing the mouth and is a good source of healthy bacteria. Yogurt contains lactobacillus, acidophilus or bifida bacteria that have the capability to cure as well as prevent canker sores and also have the potential to speed your recovery. Consume at least 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt per day to prevent sores.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is fast becoming known as a great home remedy for mouth ulcers. Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, which reduces the swelling and soothes the pain. Studies say that it helps to kill certain types of bacteria that are primarily responsible for causing mouth sores.Applying some coconut oil on the mouth ulcers twice a day,can help heal.

Folic acid

Folate deficiency may cause side effects such as mouth sores. Hence, as mouth ulcers are at times recurring, you can prevent them by having a diet rich in folic acid. A cross-sectional analytical study conducted by the Pakistan Medical Research Council (PMRC) speculates that supplementation of Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid is likely to heal mouth ulcers and reduce the misery of patients. Including green leafy vegetables, legumes, broccoli, fortified orange juice, cereal and nutsin the diet,helps to meet the requirements.

Iron

Mouth ulcers indicate an iron deficiency. If your diet is lacking in iron, your red blood cells will not be able to carry as much oxygen. This can make you feel tired, lethargic and dizzy. Another symptom of iron deficiency is the occurrence of mouth ulcers. Include iron rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, chicken, liver, sesame, cereals, broccoli, eggs, dates, dried fruit such as raisins and apricots.

Vitamin B

Lack of certain B vitamins can precipitate mouth sores or cause skin irritation in and around the mouth. According to a study published in a 2009 edition of “The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine,” a nightly 1,000 microgram dose of vitamin B-12 is a simple, effective and low risk therapy to prevent recurrent canker sores. Including fish, meat, poultry, milk and milk products, eggs, fortified cereals are a good source of this vitamin. Similarly vitamin C foods are known to control the growth of the bacteria that results in mouth sores and ulcers. Supplement with a B vitamin plus vitamin C complex after consulting with your doctor.

Tips to prevent mouth ulcers

  • Abstain from chewing tobacco, paan, and smoking.
  • Avoid eating hot, spicy food, fried foods, caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee, aerated drinks, chocolates and alcohol.
  • Eat soft, bland, creamy foods and avoid hard foods which are difficult to chew.
  • Anger, stress, tension, depression lead to mouth ulcers frequently so try to manage them.
  • Eat slowly and chew well.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Maintain oral and dental hygiene.
  • Brush your teeth very gently, using a soft-bristled toothbrush taking care not to slip with the brush.
  • Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Home remedies for mouth ulcers

  • Apply ice.
  • Regularly rinse your mouth warm, salted water.
  • Apply a paste of baking soda on the sores.
  • Take some coconut milk and gently massage the mouth ulcers.
  • Boil fenugreek (methi) leaves in some water. Remove the leaves and now gargle with this water two to three times’ day. 
  • Eat a banana with curd as the first thing in the morning for better results.
  • Chew a few leaves of tulsi along with some water about three to four times every day.
  • Aloevera is effective in curing mouth ulcers.
  • Massage the gums with a mixture of honey and coconut oil or honey and turmeric powder.

 

References:

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.