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Old-Fashioned Home Remedy Eases Pain of Canker Sores

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Q. You recently addressed a question about canker sores. The suggestions seemed mostly to be long-term dietary change or supplements.

I occasionally get a canker sore, especially if I've eaten too many sweets. For the past 75 years I've always gotten immediate relief within 24 hours by taking one tablespoon of baking soda with a glass of warm water, just like my grandmother taught me. One dose does the job.

A. A tablespoon of baking soda contains a lot of sodium, so this remedy won't be appropriate for everyone. The "dose" recommended on the box for heartburn is a half teaspoon of baking soda in a 4 oz. glass of water. We would suggest starting with a lower amount than a tablespoon to see if it helps.

We appreciate remedies passed down from grandmothers.

Other possible approaches to mouth ulcers include eating fresh kiwi fruit or drinking buttermilk. One reader offered this: "Swish your mouth twice a day with two tablespoons of buttermilk. If you don't like the taste, spit it out. Enough friendly bacteria will stay to take care of canker sores. They will disappear in a few days."

You will find many other home remedies for canker sores (mouth ulcers) in our book, The People's Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

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A sliced Kiwi, with each slice gently held against the canker sore before being chewed and swallowed, followed by one more Kiwi eaten the same way a few hours later, has worked for me ever since I first read about it in the People's Pharmacy. It's pleasant, nutritious, and does the trick.

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