Since I was young I remember getting canker sores. Most recently, I got four canker sores within a week! To be quite frank, they suck. It makes eating and talking very uncomfortable. It even made a kiss from my wife hurt. Needless to say, it’s no fun having them. My most recent experience prompted me to do a little experimenting and research into this rather annoying condition.
What they are
To begin we should clarify what canker sores are. They are small, shallow lesions or ulcers in the mouth. They occur on the soft tissue inside the mouth, making them different from cold sores, which appears outside of the mouth. Additionally, unlike cold sores, canker sores are NOT contagious. So feel free to still give out kisses, though, use precaution as they can still hurt.
This shouldn’t be a shock considering what we know of the stress mechanism and how it affects the body. Stress can be coming from many different areas in life. We have many blogs addressing the subject of stress that you can see here.
Lack of Nutrition
More specifically, Vitamin B-12, iron, zinc, and/or folic acid deficiency, although a general lack of nutrition contributes to this condition. Nutrition affects every single one of our cells. Each one of them need specific nutrients. When they don’t receive them, they grow sick, produce toxins, and can’t perform their functions correctly, to say nothing of them dying. A lack of nutrition cause cells in the mouth to be weak and prone to sores.
Weakened immune system
The immune system protects and helps heal the body. Bacteria in the mouth can cause canker sores if the immune system isn’t healthy. A weakened immune system can’t adequately detect harmful pathogens and kill them. Even if bacteria isn’t a problem, when the immune system isn’t up to par, immune cells are produced incorrectly. These cells sometimes attack healthy cells and tissue, thinking they are a threat. This can contribute the formation of canker sores. A lack of nutrition and constant stress severely weaken the immune system.
Canker sores can develop when we injure the inside of our mouth. This can happen by accidentally biting the side of our cheek or many other reasons (I tend to bite myself by accident). Once the injury occurs, the immune system moves into action to help in healing. However, if the immune system is compromised, healing can take much longer than it should.
How to treat/prevent
Although canker sores don’t present any serious health issues, they are bothersome and painful. Let’s talk about some ways to prevent them and how to treat them if they do occur. These points correlate with the common causes.
Learn to manage stress
As mentioned earlier, constant stress negatively affects the body. Since it’s particularly detrimental to the immune system, learning to manage stress is vital for improving any health condition, whether minor or severe. The following two blogs offer 2 tips for soothing stress and how we can avoid stress in a busy world.
Get enough sleep
Enough emphasis cannot be put on the importance of sleep in healing and preventing illness. Although canker sores aren’t a severe condition, we need to keep in mind what the body does as we sleep- heal. The healing and regeneration process (among other things) takes hours to complete. This is one of the reasons why adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night; children need 9-10. Additionally, regular good night’s of sleep strengthens the immune system, allowing it fight off any infections that might cause or prolong canker sores.
Stay well hydrated
This is as important as any of the other points. Water is used by the body at the cellular level for various purposes. One of these purposes is mitosis. Mitosis is the process by which cells divide themselves in order to have a replacement as they die. Mitosis is important for many reasons, but in this case it plays particular importance as the tissue in the mouth need to repair itself. Make sure to get 8-10 glasses of water every day. You’ll need more if you’re physically active.
Eat enough and eat healthy
As stated earlier, cells need nutrients to function correctly and stay alive. Nutrients are needed for mitosis as well. Some particularly good foods to eat to avoid canker sores are:
Fish- Particularly white fish such as salmon and tilapia
Dark leafy greens- Great examples are kale, spinach, and bok choy
These are just some foods to start out with. Visit our nutritional corner and Immune boosting nutritional guide for more ideas and insights. As a side note, if you currently have a canker sore avoid eating citric foods. Although normally healthy, the acids in citric foods actually further aggravates the sore.
In addition to what we eat is how often we eat. For good health in general and for healing we need 5 nutritious meals a day, each meal being spaced out 2-3 hours. This means 3 main meals and 2 snacks. We should also have our first meal within an hour and half of waking up and have our last main meal no later than 7pm.
When I had my several canker sores a little while ago I decided to experiment a bit. I gargled/swooshed a mix of water and Phytotherapi Infection in my mouth, focusing on the areas affected. By doing so I noticed they began to heal at a quicker rate than normal. Additionally, the solution had a soothing effect on my sores. The following solution will help when canker sores arise:
Solution: Add 1 drop of Phytotherapi Infection to about ¼ or ½ cup of water
Put part of the solution in mouth and swish/gargle for 10-15 seconds, focusing on the sore. Do this as many more times as needed until the solution is gone
Do this 2-3 times a day (I found morning, afternoon, and before bed to be best)
If you experience a burning feeling, that’s normal. The feeling will be similar to rinsing with mouthwash. Those who don’t like the feeling should dilute the solution a bit more with water.
Renewal Therapi can also be used as a similar solution. Instead of the two drops, use ½ a capful. This is a good choice for those who don’t like the “mouthwash” burn. However, this solution doesn’t provide as much of a soothing effect as the Phytotherapi Infection.
Another great aid is coconut oil. Putting coconut oil on the sore helps relieve the pain and disinfect. You may use as much as you’d like and as often as necessary.
Whether it’s healing canker sores or healing a chronic illness the principles are the same- give the body and mind the right environment and tools to heal and it will do so. Our bodies are divinely designed to heal. Although illness or sores may creep up on us when we least expect it, healing can occur and health can be ours as we seek to maintain balance in our lives and take care of our bodies and minds.