5 Simple Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW to Have Fewer Canker Sores in 2012

So we’re a few weeks into 2012 and most of us are still holding on to the last vestiges of optimism that this year’s going to be better than last year.  We’ve probably already broken a resolution or two, but that’s okay, because this year just has to be better, right?

…I mean, right?

Well, I don’t know about you, but a year with fewer canker sores would go a long way toward my year being better.  And while there’s a plethora of products and theories to try throughout the year, I thought I’d start things off with just a handful of simple, easy things you can do right now that could make a big difference moving forward.

And by the way, while everybody’s different and some of these may apply to some more than others, these are fairly general things that anyone can try.  So I say why not?


1. Stop using SLS toothpaste

The Sodium Lauryl Sulfate debate has been something of a hot one, with some people claiming that works like a charm and some (like myself) seeing no difference at all.  Even established scientific studies completely contradict each other, with THIS ONE claiming a “statistically significant difference” and THIS ONE that saw no difference whatsoever.

I’ve been conducting experiments on myself and have so far not seen any difference with SLS-free toothpaste.

So what gives?  What does all this mean?  To me, it just means that SLS affects some people and doesn’t affect others.  The only way to know for yourself is to try it.  There are a lot of SLS-free toothpastes to choose from, give one or two a shot this year and see if it makes a difference.


2. Take a combination of B Vitamins and Iron

It doesn’t get much easier than popping a pill or two every day.  Supplements have been shown to greatly reduce canker sores in some people, and the most popular pills to pop seem to be Vitamin B12, Vitamin B, Iron, Lysine, and Folic Acid.

To start with, I’d recommend B, B12, and/or Iron.  Studies such as THIS ONE have shown statistical correlation between canker sore sufferers and B12 and Iron deficiencies.  While Vitamin B landed as the top supplement on the mouthulcers.org survey for prevention of ulcers.  While you could change your diet to include more meats and milk and tuna to get your B12, I recommend just getting some supplements, that way you can keep track of exactly how much you’re consuming and don’t have to run around and restock your kitchen.


3. Rinse after you eat

Almost without fail, every canker sore begins as a trauma in your mouth.  Sometimes it’s you biting the everliving frack out of your cheek, sometimes it’s too small to even see or feel.  So it’s important to rinse your mouth out after you eat to clear all the tiny food particles out of your mouth and prevent them from scratching or otherwise irritating the lining of your mouth.

It doesn’t have to be a big production.  Just swishing around with water is better than nothing.  Add a little saline to the water to make it salty is even better, or if you want to go totally pro about it, you can get your hands on some mouthwash or even better, one of the many canker sore-related mouthwashes out there like Peroxyl.

Just make it a habit.  See what kind of difference it makes.  Can’t hurt!


4. Chill Out!

Oh, the stress thing.  Whether you’re the type who swears that your ulcers are brought about by stress or if you swear it makes no difference, the bottom line is, it’s always a good idea to cut stress out of your life.

Easier said than done, right?

Look, there are moments in your life where you’re just going to be stressed, no way around it.  Things like divorce, layoffs, deaths in the family, these things are going to cause added stress and all you can do is just push through to the other side.  I’m not talking about that.  I’m talking about the average stress level in your daily life.

It’s bad.

It’s not about reorienting your whole world (though sometimes that’s not a bad idea), it’s just about taking a little time for yourself throughout the day, even if it’s just closing your eyes and listening to your favorite song, to lower your stress levels.  Take a walk.  Engage in a ridiculous hobby.  Listen to a meditation podcast for 10 minutes.  Hell, have a drink if that’s what it takes.  Chronic stress packs a wallop to your entire body, especially your immune system.  That means more canker sores and more illness.  You know what makes you feel better.  Make it a priority.

And if you do need to rearrange your life, do it!  Here are some of my favorite websites about simplifying your life and finding your happy place.  There are a ton of tips to help take the pressure off and have the kind of life you want:

The Positivity Blog

Zen Habits

Life Optimizer


5. Eat more soup

I don’t spend a lot of time on this blog telling people what to eat because I don’t think it’s much of a life if all you can do is munch on leaves.  If you cut out everything people tell you causes canker sores, you wouldn’t be able to eat anything.

But one thing I do know will cause more canker sores than you could possibly imagine?  Hard foods.

If you have RAS and eat a lot of tortilla chips, no offense, but you deserve what you get.  You might as well be chewing on glass.

Don’t forget the hollandaise

Just as diabetics need to be aware of a food’s sugar content, you need to be aware of its hardness when you eat, and avoid stuff that is especially hard and sharp. And if you do, for the love of God, rinse your mouth as soon as you’re done, and get those hard particles out before they rub in a new canker sore.

And that’s it!  Five fairly simple little changes you can do to start making a difference to your canker sores.  Give it a try and see what happens!

I wish all of you a fantastic and pain-free 2012!

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Showing 2 comments
  • Tex

    About the B12. I can attest to it making a differnce. I typically get sores if I go more than four weeks without an injection.

    It is important to note that if your body is not producing enough “intrinsic factor” then oral B12 supplements will not make a difference since you will not absorb the B12. Injections are the only option. I usually inject half sub-q and half IM in order to get both a quick and long-term absorption.

    I learned that B12 made a difference after 10 years of suffering. I was highly stressed in school and it was not uncommon for me to have four or more ulcers simultaneously. A month without an ulcer was unheard of. It took me about a year to realize the B12 made a difference, mainly because I forgot to take it most of the time.

    Another thing that I have found is that if I wait too long for an injection and a canker sore starts to form- no amount of B12 reverses the process. Just like Canker Boy, I go into an “ON” state where I may suffer from multiple ulcers for weeks or months. I usually inject B12 weekly during those phases anyway, out of desperation. My point is, if you have low IF, inject every month for a few months before giving up hope.

    I could kick myself for every time I realize that it’s time for an injection and then put it off. Seriously not something to procrastinate on.

    I hope this helps someone. For anyone who tries and doesn’t find relief, I can only say I know how you feel, having run the gauntlet of hopes and prayers only to be crushed down time and time again myself.

    • Joe Scott

      Hi Tex!

      Thanks for the comment!

      That’s very interesting about the “intrinsic factor”. I’ll have to do some research on that.

      I haven’t put up my full review of using B12, but like you, I’ve had amazing success with it. I had a decent amount of success with iron, as well, though that can be kind-of dangerous in some people. I’m sorry you have to inject it! That doesn’t sound fun.

      But at least you’ve found something that works, that’s awesome.

      Thanks for sharing!

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