a bunch of fresh green beans

Q. I wanted to report the success of one of your canker sore preventatives. Twenty years ago I started accidentally biting my lower lip, both while eating and in my sleep. Sometimes it happened while I was just thinking of upsetting things. Two days later, I would develop a canker sore that would last at least a week.

Dissolving a zinc tablet on the area helped but was very painful. Frequently I would just let the nature take its course, however slowly.

Then I heard a caller on your radio show tell of green beans as a canker sore preventative. Recently I tried it, eating green beans at my next lunch or dinner after biting myself. Three straight bites have failed to result in a canker sore. Many thanks.

A. Several readers report success curing canker sores with canned green beans. They eat the beans and swish the juice around in their mouths. Others have told us that strained green beans (baby food) do the job as well. Why green beans would work for canker sores mystifies us, but they are clearly safe.

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are painful mouth sores that can come and go for no apparent reason. Accidentally biting the cheek, tongue or lip can trigger an outbreak. Besides green beans, readers report that swishing and swallowing sauerkraut juice is effective in speeding canker sore healing. Others are enthusiastic about kiwi fruit for preventing or treating this problem. Some people also report that vitamin B2 helps canker sores heal.

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  1. TJJ

    I was subject to canker sores and mild anemia all my life. When I was age 60, in 2000, I went “cold turkey” off gluten, and haven’t had canker sores or anemia since. I may be gluten-intolerant, not suffering from Celiac Disease, because there were no other symptoms.

  2. Jon

    I had canker sores since my youth and noticed I’d get them from acidic food or mouth wounds. It’s no coincidence that I hated green beans. Somehow, I accidentally discovered the green bean preventative treatment for canker sores. It also works if you eat snap peas or sugar peas – raw or cooked, once a week. When I go on vacation, I always get some raw green beans at the market to make sure I’m safe. It really does work.

  3. Errrrr

    I have been getting mouth ulcers for years and a good steak dinner with green beans and roast potatoes always nipped it in the bud when I felt one appearing. This week I got the worst one in 10 years! I bit the inside of my lip and because I’ve been quite busy in work and a bit run down it was Really bad. I had green beans (fresh) in a pasta dish two nights in a row and it disappeared! I suspected the green beans had cured it and decided to do a quick search online to find this site. I wish I had known this years ago…..

  4. Jean A-W

    As to the canned green bean remedy for mouth ulcers, the first time I used it, it worked great. The consecutive times I used it, not so much. Then I found that the beans were “no salt added.” I think the salt makes a big difference. So, when using this handy, cheap and quick remedy, be sure your beans have salt in them!

  5. L.K.

    I suffered with canker sores most of my adult life, until I switched to Arm & Hammer baking soda toothpaste. I have been canker sore free since (5 years). I don’t even get one if I accidentally bite the inside of my cheek. I have passed this on to others who have also become free from these painful sores by changing their toothpaste. I guess that canker sores thrive in a acidic environment, which baking soda prevents. Good Luck!
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We have heard from others who find that avoiding SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) in toothpaste helps prevent canker sores. Thanks for the testimonial.

  6. w.s.

    after hearing about the green bean treatment i had to try it, i get sores inside my mouth and recently had a lasting episode of a burning tongue. i opened a can of beans ate them right out of can and drank the juice, the very next morning my mouth was 100% normal, do you know how good it feels to be normal, thank you, thank you.

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