Canker sores (commonly referred to as mouth ulcers) are open sores which appear on the inside of the oral cavity. That includes the mouth, tongue and the lips.
Mouth ulcers can cause acute discomfort to the affected person. In extreme cases, the terribly debilitating sores might make it difficult for him/ her to talk or eat comfortably.
What Causes Mouth Ulcers?
Mouth ulcers are usually caused by a damage to the mucous membrane lining the above referred parts of the oral cavity. Now, the reasons which can cause damage to this mucous membrane include:
- Stress or emotional trauma
- Wounds inside the mouth which might be self inflicted (e.g. habitual biting or while brushing) or accidental (biting off the tongue or lips accidentally while eating or speaking)
- Weak defense mechanism or immune system
- An allergic reaction or a reaction to some other food or biological agent
- Dental trauma
- Deficiency of some vital vitamins or minerals
Since these sores are capable of causing acute irritation and can make the life of the affected person difficult as long as they last, it is best to take certain precautionary measures to avoid their surfacing up in the first place.
How to avoid mouth ulcers?
The first step towards avoiding mouth ulcers involves pinpointing the exact cause responsible for them.
Try to find out which of the causes listed above is the trigger for your canker sores or mouth ulcers, to be able to avoid them in future.
- Since stress is the major cause which has been known to cause sores inside the mouth, try to ease out things. Try practicing relaxation techniques like meditation. Yoga, in particular, has been known to provide succor to millions across the world. Other exercises like light walking, swimming, dancing, etc have also been known to help de-stress a worked up person.
Trying to weed out stress can have millions of other health related benefits besides simply helping with mouth ulcers.
- Acidic foods, extremely spicy foods and other foods which contain sodium based enzymes which are capable of causing damage to the lining of the mouth should also be avoided.
- Mouth ulcers caused due to dietary deficiencies can be avoided by improving diet and eating habits. Replacing junk foods and fast food with fresh fruits and vegetables which have been proved to be among the best known sources of vitamins is the easiest and best of all options. Also much more economical than trying over-the-counter supplements.
Including meat for meeting protein requirements and dairy products for calcium needs has also been known to help in avoiding mouth ulcers.
Dairy products especially are very useful in helping avoid and in treatment of motuh ulcers because they contain acidophilus, a bacterium which has been found to help in fighting all infections of the oral cavity.
- Try to give up habits like biting the inside of lips or side of tongue as well. If mouth ulcers are already giving you a tough time, brush your teeth very gently so as to avoid further damage to the mucous membrane and also to expedite the process of healing the exsiting sores.
Some people also inflict sores upon them from time to time due to over enthusiastic brushing. Avoid that by improving your brushing technique. Talk to your dentist to help you with that.
Also choose your brush carefully and replace it from time to time to make sure that its edges or frayed bristles are not causing any injury inside your mouth.
- Avoid talking while eating and also eat slowly if you have noticed that you bite your tongue too often while doing so.
- If you have a tendency to develop mouth ulcers at regular intervals, you should rinse your mouth regularly. Adding a teaspoonful of salt to warm water used for rinsing mouth can help in avoiding mouth ulcers and also in preventing the formation of new ones.
- Avoid any tooth pastes which contain Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS) which has been proved to be a cause of mouth ulcers in lots of people. SLS can damage the inner mucous membrane of the mouth and make you more vulnerable to ulcers in future and also cause irritation in existing ones.
Keeping all these precautions on mind can help prevent mouth ulcers to a great extent.