Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, can be a painful problem. Very often it isn’t completely clear what brings them on, since they are not infectious in origin. People who have recurrent canker sores may be right to blame the microbes in their mouths (BMC Microbiology, April 1, 2016). Psychological stress appears to be a contributor, since students are most susceptible right around exam times. Having a way to treat them so they disappear more quickly is a definite plus. Many readers report that kiwi fruit can do just that:
Kiwi Fruit for Canker Sores:
Q. I have suffered with canker sores all my life. I’ve read in your column about sauerkraut but I’ve found kiwi fruit works better.
If you eat at least two kiwi fruit a day, the next morning the canker sore will be much smaller and less painful. It works best if you chew the fruit and swish it around in your mouth for as long as you can. The fruit needs to be very ripe to work. I hope this helps anyone that reads it.
A. We appreciate your experience. Other readers have also had success using kiwi fruit to fight canker sores. Some people eat kiwi weekly to prevent outbreaks of these sores, which may occur after scratching or inadvertently biting the inside of the cheek or lip.
One visitor reminded us that some people are allergic to kiwi:
“My grandson had his mouth and lips swell painfully large from eating kiwi. His doctor said he should never again eat even the smallest piece of kiwi.”
Kiwi fruit allergy is not rare, so readers should keep the possibility of a reaction in mind (European Annals of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Nov., 2015).
Other Remedies Can Also Help:
Other remedies for canker sores include sauerkraut juice, instant iced tea powder or powdered alum on the sore spot.
Many readers report that taking l-lysine acts to prevent canker sores; several endorse an old-fashioned remedy of swishing buttermilk around in the mouth to help heal canker sores quickly.
Several visitors also noted that canker sores could be a symptom of an underlying health problem, especially celiac disease. In this auto-immune disorder, gluten from wheat, barley or rye triggers the body to attack the digestive tract. AMJ suggested:
“Canker sores are one of the lesser known, non gastric, symptoms of celiac disease. This individual might consider asking her doctor for a screening panel, just to check this out.”
That advice is supported by a letter from French doctors published in Pediatric Dermatology (March, 2016), suggesting that recurrent canker sores could be a marker for celiac disease in children.