We don’t really know the exact cause of most canker sores. However we know they develop with certain foods such as citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables including lemons, oranges, pineapples, apples, figs, tomatoes, and strawberries or these can make the problem of canker sores worse.
But there are other reasons which might also trigger canker sores such as a sharp tooth surfaces, braces, or ill-fitting dentures. In cases of these sores, a dentist should be consulted too.
The sores we are worried about are the ones who are caused by an underlying health problem, which might be an impaired immune system, vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron deficiency, or gastrointestinal tract disease, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.
Sometimes canker sores are misunderstood as cold sores, which are also known as fever blisters or herpes simplex type 1, and are groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are caused by a virus and are extremely contagious. Also, cold sores typically appear outside the mouth – usually, under the nose, around the lips, or under the chin while canker sores occur inside the mouth
Make sure that you let your physician know if you develop any sores, since the cold sores need immediate medical treatment, in some cases antiviral therapies.
Canker sores are often inside your mouth on the tongue or back portion of your roof of the mouth and on the inside of your cheeks. They can tingle or burn particularly if you eat something acidic. In severe cases you may have a fever and swollen lymph nodes. Make sure you let your physician know if you develop fever or swollen lymph nodes.
For the regular canker sores there are plenty of options for treatment. On the People Pharmacy website there are some interesting alternative therapies discussed which include sauerkraut with patients testimonials. One reader reported:
Sauerkraut juice has worked like a miracle for me! It starts clearing up a canker sore within hours, and the sore usually healed by the next day. One caveat, though: juice from canned sauerkraut doesn’t work nearly as well as the fresh stuff (in the refrigerated deli section).
It’s such a weird remedy that I did some research on sauerkraut to see why it might work. Sauerkraut is fermented (like yogurt or sourdough) and is full of probiotics. I’ve discovered that if I sip a little sauerkraut juice every couple of days I don’t develop canker sores in the first place.
You can purchase sauerkraut juice. If you can’t find it in a store, purchase it online or buy sauerkraut if you can’t find any sauerkraut juice or it’s too expensive. Drain the juice from the sauerkraut or just dip a tablespoon in it as you need it. Use about a tablespoon of sauerkraut juice. Swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds and swallow it. Rinse your mouth with sauerkraut juice at least two or three times a day. Your sores should clear up in about a week.
Or even easier, you can eat foods with sauerkraut for added benefit. Some of these foods include Reuben sandwiches, hot dogs with sauerkraut, or sauerkraut and bratwurst. (That is the advantage of being German).
Other possible intervention is saltwater solution and sodium bicarbonate – Mix 1 teaspoon salt with one cup warm water. Swish the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds, then expectorate (spit) the solution out of your mouth. In addition to salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) may be added to the saline solution as well.
Create a paste by mixing baking soda with small drops of water until a thick consistency has resulted. Use this paste to cover the canker sores, which will help relieve pain. These methods may be repeated as often as needed. Saline and sodium bicarbonate both help the mouth heal quickly by gently reducing the alkalinity and bacteria in the mouth.
You can also use hydrogen peroxide solution – Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with one part water. Use a cotton swab to dab the solution directly onto the canker sores. Do not swallow the solution. Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic that will help reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.
You can use milk of magnesia. apply it directly onto the canker sores with a cotton swab, three to four times a day. This method is recommended after using the hydrogen peroxide solution. Milk of magnesia will help reduce the pain and help speed the healing process.