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Mouth Ulcers

Commonly referred to as canker sores, mouth ulcers (or aphthous stomatitis) appear as several painful white or yellowish raised spots. In severe cases, a dozen or more may arise, either as sores scattered through the mouth or as large clusters. They tend to be acutely painful for the first few days, last about 1 to 2 weeks, and then heal without consequence. Larger ulcers may last weeks or months and may also be accompanied by fatigue, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

Although the cause of mouth ulcers is unknown, physicians believe that an abnormal immune response or a viral infection may be the problem. Stress or local trauma, such as from ill-fitting dentures, may precipitate an attack. In unusual cases, mouth ulcers may be a symptom of a systemic disorder, like allergic reactions to foods, anemia, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or lupus. Deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, and folate have been associated with an increased risk of mouth ulcers; eating foods high in these nutrients may help to prevent occurrences.

MOUTH ULCERS AND NUTRITION

During attacks, avoid any food or beverage that may irritate the sores. The most common offenders are hot beverages, alcohol, salty or spicy foods, and anything acidic.

Try a diet of bland soft foods

If painful ulcers interfere with eating trying sipping liquid or pureed foods through a straw. Foods that cause the least pain include jello, yogurt, custard, rice, and poached chicken.

For recurrent or severe ulcers, a dentist may prescribe a protective paste to speed healing.

     
     

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