Canker sores cannot be prevented completely; however, a better understanding of canker sores and the role nutrition plays in increasing the risk of canker sores may help reduce the risk of developing canker sores.
What is a Canker Sore?
Canker Sores, also known as mouth ulcers or apthous ulcers, are painful sores that develop inside your mouth on the inside of your lips, cheeks, on the tongue, or soft palate. The sore may tingle or burn and is sensitive to food and drink, especially acidic foods. These sores can make eating and talking uncomfortable, so it is important to learn how to reduce the risk of canker sores.
Poor Nutrition and Canker Sores
If we completely understood their cause, we would be able to drastically reduce the risk of developing canker sores. Unfortunately, no one knows the exact cause of canker sores. There are certain factors that seem to contribute to the development and continuation of mouth sores. One of them is poor nutrition.
While there is not a lot known about the connection between canker sores and nutrition, there are certain nutritional deficiencies which tend to increase the risk of developing mouth sores.
Deficiencies of vitamin B-12 can be a contributing factor in developing canker sores. Increase your consumption of vitamin B-12 by eating fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Vegetarians are at risk of developing a Vitamin B-12 deficiency and should try to include fortified cereals, cheese, and egg whites into their diet. Crohn’s patients may be deficient in B-12 because it is absorbed in the ileum. It is often the ileum that is inflamed in Crohn’s patients and may eventually be removed in some patients. If you face a vitamin B-12 deficiency for this reason your doctor may prescribe B-12 shot supplements.
A nutritional deficiency of zinc also seems to be related to the development of mouth sores. Good sources of zinc include meat, seafood, liver, eggs, milk, and whole-grain products. Zinc supplements are available over the counter. When taken in lozenge form many people swear by their effectiveness at reducing canker sores and other inflammations.
The absence of adequate amounts of folic acid, also known as folate, creates an environment conducive to mouth sores. Incorporate more folate in your diet by eating liver, foods containing yeast, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, and fruits.
Another nutritional element associated with the risk of canker sores is iron. Low iron levels have also been associated with canker sores. Increase iron consumption by eating red meats, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and foods enriched with iron. If recommended by a doctor, iron supplements are available over-the-counter.
Understanding that the elimination of mouth sores may be impossible, there are, nonetheless, nutritional factors you can control to reduce the risk of developing canker sores.
“Canker Sores,” emedicinehealth.com
“Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12,” Government Fact Sheet
“Dental Health: Canker Sores,” WebMD.com