Canker sores; medically known as aphthous stomatitis, are small painful mouth ulcers that can appear on the tongue, lips, gums or the inside of the cheeks. They appear suddenly and often leave suddenly, usually lasting from 4 to 20 days.
The symptoms of canker sores include:
- one or more small, whitish ulcers with bright red margins.
- localized pain, burning and tingling that worsens when touched or exposed to spicy or acidic foods.
- in severe cases, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, fever and general malaise.Canker sores occur most often in teenagers and young adults and women are affected more often than men. The cause is unknown, but a number of factors may be involved.
Although hereditary predisposition may play a role in the frequency of their appearance, the official cause of these painful ulcers inside the mouth is considered a temporary malfunction of the immune system that can be triggered by trauma; such as, biting the inside of the cheek or using a hard bristled toothbrush, fatigue, high stress, illness with fever, menstrual cycles, sensitivity to certain foods or nutritional deficiencies; especially iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid.
During an outbreak, a bland diet with no acidic fruits, nuts, or salty, spicy, or sugary foods avoids irritating the cankers. Highest on the list of foods that trigger canker sores are cherries, chocolate, citrus fruits, nuts, pineapples, plums and tomato products.
Sores that do not heal in 3 weeks should receive medical attention to prevent bacterial infection. You may need an antibiotic or a doctor may need to cauterize the sore.
A nutritious, well balanced diet can be an important factor in canker sore control. Taking individual supplements in addition to a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement often shortens the duration of the sores and may help prevent recurrence.
Helpful Vitamin And Mineral Supplements:
Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene speeds healing, especially of the mucous membranes. Take 50,000 IU daily for 1 week, then 25,000 IU daily for 2 weeks. Also put a few drops of vitamin A oil directly on the affected area.
Vitamin B complex promotes healing and maintains B vitamin balance. Take 50 milligrams three times daily. One to four high potency tablets daily have reduced the active time of canker sores to as little as 48 hours when the B vitamins were accompanied by a calcium-magnesium supplement.
-Taking 25 to 100 milligrams of niacinamide or niacin with each meal often corrects and prevents these sores.
-Several studies report excellent results when 2,000 micrograms of sublingual B12 and 400 micrograms of sublingual folic acid are taken twice daily on an empty stomach.Vitamin C with bioflavonoids promotes tissue healing, fights infection and boosts the immune system. Take 3,000 to 8,000 milligrams daily in divided doses.
Vitamin E applied locally when a canker sore first appears promotes healing. Pierce a capsule, coat sore and reapply at frequent intervals.
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