Canker sores are frustrating and painful. If you find that you are getting mouth sores often, the solution may be as simple as avoiding spicy foods or acidic fruits, which can irritate the mouth. Also, try brushing and flossing immediately after a meal to help remove food particles stuck between the teeth. And stop with the use of a toothpaste or mouthwashes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical substance which can be hard on soft tissue, may be caused by canker sores.
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If you have stubborn sores, you could be deficient in certain nutrients, such as folic acid, iron or vitamin B12. Make sure that you are eating a well balanced diet (you can use folic acid from the beans and vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, and iron and B12, tuna, and eggs, among other foods). Consult your doctor if you think you have an addition. Stress can also cause the ulcers, so getting enough sleep and finding ways to tame tension can help prevent. Less often, ulcers may be associated with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) and HIV. So if lifestyle adjustments do not make the difference, it is worth seeing a doctor.
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Notice a canker sore develop? Try gargling with salt water. You can also use an over-the-counter topical ointment directly on the sore spot to relieve pain. Usually canker sores to hurt for just a few days and go away completely in a week or two. But if you have a serious, painful, your doctor may prescribe a special mouth rinse or corticosteroid ointment.
This article originally appeared on Health.com.