Canker sores are viral infections of the mouth. They can occur on the cheeks, lips, gums, tongue, or soft palate. Heredity plays a role: You have a 90 percent chance of having canker sores if your parents had them. They are more common in adolescents, and women are twice as likely as men to get them. Canker sores are thought to be a result of stress, an immune system defect, food sensitivities, or deficiencies in some vitamins or minerals. Canker sores generally go away on their own in 5 to 10 days. In this section, I’ll show you how to eliminate them more quickly and sometimes prevent them from occurring.
- Tingling or burning in the mouth (6 to 24 hours before lesions appear).
- Small, painful craters, single or in clusters, that last 5 to 10 days.
Diet: Certain foods may cause or promote canker sores, including coffee, spices, and citrus fruits. Milk and gluten (wheat) products may also be factors. To see whether specific foods in your diet are causing your canker sores, eliminate them from your diet, then reintroduce them to see whether sores come back. If they do, avoid the foods altogether, or try step 4.
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Your Balanced Healing Action Plan for Canker Sores
Step 1: Take Appropriate Chinese Herbal Remedies
Chinese herbal formulas work very quickly, healing sores usually in 12 to 24 hours. I recommend formulas called Astra Isatis (containing Isatis and Astragalus herbs) and Power Mushrooms (containing Ganoderma, Tremella, Poria, and Polyporus) for their immune enhancement effects. You can also use Long Dan Xie Gan Wan. Other beneficial herbal formulas include Liang Ge San or Zhi Bai Di Huang Tang. Consult a practitioner qualified in Chinese herbal medicine to determine which Chinese herbal formulas are the best for your particular syndromes.
Step 2: Take Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice and Lysine
If step 1 doesn’t help or gives you only partial relief, take deglycyrrhizinated liconce, which is effective in reducing the severity and duration of canker sores because it helps the immune system work better. Most sores are healed within three days, at a dosage: 380mg tablets, one to two tablets twice daily. It can also be used as a mouthwash, which must be prepared by a pharmacist. For best effects, use licorice in combination with step 1. Lysine (1,000mg three times daily) works against viral growth and can also be effective,either alone or in combination with licorice and/or step 1.
Step 3: Take a High-Potency Multivitamin to Prevent Recurrent Canker Sores
Because nutritional deficiencies may play a role in canker sores, a high-potency multlvitamin, especially one containing vitamins C and B complex, folic acid, zinc, and iron, can decrease the duration and frequency of outbreaks. Take three to six tablets per day.
Step 4: Follow the Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Treatment (NAET)
If your canker sores are a chronic problem that do not respond to the other measures, food allergies may be the underlying cause. I recommend the Nambudripad Allergy Eliminati, Treatment (NAET), which combines acupuncture, kinesiology, chiropractic, herbs, a nutrition to desensitize you to foods to which you are allergic. It may take several months for its effectiveness to be observed, depending on how many allergens are sensitizing you.