Kiwi fruit sliced segments, canker sores

Canker sores are common and can be quite distressing. Biting your tongue or cheek may be enough to set one off. But how can you prevent canker sores or encourage these aphthous ulcers, as doctors term them, to heal more quickly? Many readers find certain foods helpful:

Kiwi Fruit Helps Ease Canker Sores:

Q. My husband suffered from frequent canker sores for years. I read in your column that eating kiwi fruit might help prevent canker sores.

When I passed it along to him, he was extremely skeptical, to say the least. He still decided that it couldn’t hurt to try.

After getting on a regimen of eating one kiwi fruit every other day for breakfast, the canker sores stopped completely! On the rare occasions when he can’t eat kiwis for an extended period because of travel, a sore starts up. Eating kiwis for a few days straight heals it up very quickly. This might not work for everyone, but it certainly helped him.

A. Others report that kiwi fruit is helpful against canker sores. Some people are especially prone to aphthous ulcers, especially if the tissues in the mouth are injured by biting them inadvertently or scratching them with food such as pretzels or potato chips.

Recent research shows that certain microbial communities in the mouth may be linked to recurrent canker sores (BMC Microbiology, April 1, 2016). Perhaps the kiwi fruit changes conditions in the mouth and makes the microbes less prone to cause lesions.

Watch Out for Toothpaste:

There are several other tactics that readers have found helpful. One is to avoid toothpaste with the common detergent SLS:

“I used to have a lot of problems with canker sores until I heard a suggestion on The People’s Pharmacy several years ago to switch to a toothpaste that didn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is added to make toothpaste foam in your mouth. Since the switch, I rarely get canker sores.”

Other Foods That Might Prevent Canker Sores:

Another approach is eating green beans, canned or pureed. Sauerkraut juice can also be helpful, according to some readers. Wendy reported:

“Another quick remedy is cream of tartar dabbed on the sore until it goes away. Usually a day or so, 4 or 5 applications.”

MH said vitamins are worth a try:

“I have been using vitamin B2 for canker sores for years. It works great at healing the sores and at preventing them. This also helps prevent my migraines.”

Revised 4/14/16

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  1. Karen
    Madison, WI

    I had suffered greatly from canker sores for many years. I began to use anitseptic mouthwash (the inexpensive, generic kind, but it has to be antiseptic) over twenty years ago (not because of canker sores, I just thought it would be a good idea). I noticed after a while that I hadn’t had any canker sores since I’d been using the mouthwash, and have not had one since. I still use it at least once per day.

  2. SDW
    seattle, wa

    I also had many canker sores until I started a gluten free diet. Now when I get a sore it is due to accidently biting the inside of my mouth or hidden wheat products in a product – you would be surprised where it hidden. Wheat travels when it is processed in the same place as other products are made and may show up in them although not listed on the ingredient list.

  3. Jim

    I’ve had immediate relief by dabbing on milk of magnesia. Had an out break starting on my lip and dabbed on the MOM. Problem solved overnight. Completely, overnight. Last year I got the same results when I woke up with shingles one morning. Gone in 3 days. Pain relief was immediate and rash was gone in 3 days. MOM! Who knew…

  4. Keen Kin

    Kiwi fruit really worked! My housemate canker sores gone immediately! We didn’t know this at first but after he ate the kiwi fruits that I’ve bought few hours later he told me that kiwi fruit has treated his canker sores.

  5. Peggy L.

    Definitely L-lysine works for this as I have seen in many patients.

  6. Bob Puckett

    I have used banana for canker sores, very seldom get them any more. Just hold a chunk of banana against the sore for a while. It will hurt, but is very effective.

  7. ebm

    I bought some Kiwi capsules online at a vitamin distr./mfr, they are great for travel. Last night I had a sore at the tip of my tongue, I didn’t want to eat a kiwi and brush teeth again, so the caps came in handy. 2 caps and 1 Lysine cap (I only use capsule form for easy absorption) and the sore was gone in the morning.
    Kiwi and lysine work great for me. I get cankers from sweet/carb overload or when scratching or biting my

  8. Carolyn

    When I was growing up my dad kept alum lumps in a can. When we had a mouth ulcer we would apply a lump. Although the taste was terrible, the lump went away quickly. I don’t think I ever had to do it twice.

  9. Maey

    Before I was discovered I was gluten intolerant I too, had mouth sores, plus many other problems. Not eating any gluten, wheat, barley and rye solved the problem for me. I just recently heard the the number of people who have gluten problems are 1 in 30 in lieu of 1 in 100. Just imagine how much illnesses could be cured if one would not eat gluten.

  10. Howard

    When I get a canker sore, I apply a slightly dampened styptic pencil. The canker sore is usually gone by the next morning. It’s an old remedy.

  11. SLG

    Our orthdontist told us years ago to take amino acid L-Lysine (OTC) to prevent canker sores. All of us took 1 tablet per day while in braces and had no issues. Even now, if we feel one starting, all it takes is 1 or 2 days and it doesn’t erupt.

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