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Diet for Mouth Ulcers

by
author image Heather Gloria
Heather Gloria began writing professionally in 1990. Her work has appeared in several professional and peer-reviewed publications including "Nutrition in Clinical Practice." Gloria earned both a Bachelor of Science in food science and human nutrition from the University of Illinois. She also maintains the "registered dietitian" credential and her professional interests include therapeutic nutrition, preventive medicine and women's health.
Diet for Mouth Ulcers
Oatmeal is a good breakfast choice for people with mouth ulcers. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Mouth ulcers are sores or open lesions in the mouth caused by a variety of conditions including cancer, infections, immune system problems and damage or abrasions related to braces or dentures, self-inflicted bites or other problems. You might experience pain and discomfort due to a mouth ulcer. If you have one, a diet that focuses on avoiding irritants and keeping the mouth clean helps to promote healing.

Significance

Diet for Mouth Ulcers
oral hygiene can help mouth ulcers to heal Photo Credit Okea/iStock/Getty Images

Common irritants of mouth ulcers include hot, spicy, salty, acidic and abrasive foods and beverages. A good rule of thumb is that if a food or drink causes discomfort, it should be avoided until the mouth ulcer heals. Since oral hygiene also plays a role in mouth ulcer healing, it also helps to brush or at least rinse with antiseptic mouthwash after every meal or snack. MedlinePlus, notes that good oral hygiene may prevent some mouth ulcers from developing in the first place.

Foods to Enjoy

Diet for Mouth Ulcers
ice water washes away irritants Photo Credit Top Photo Group/Top Photo Group/Getty Images

Cold foods and beverages can soothe painful mouth ulcers. Cooking foods—especially fruits and vegetables—reduces their abrasive qualities. Fresh or frozen foods are good choices because they contain less acid than canned food and less salt than processed foods. Grain dishes and plain, unseasoned meat also help because both meat and grains contain little acid. Sipping ice water, iced tea or cold milk during meals washes away debris and irritants from other foods.

Foods to Limit

Diet for Mouth Ulcers
preserves and sweets should be limited by those suffering from mouth ulcers Photo Credit Wiktory/iStock/Getty Images

Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients that support the immune system, but many of them contain acids that can make mouth ulcers worse. Fruits and vegetables that should be limited until symptoms subside include apples, apricots, mangos, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, berries and tomatoes. Juices, sauces and preserves are often more irritating than the whole fruit. It’s particularly important for people with mouth ulcers to limit sweets because bacteria in the mouth ferment them to acids that delay mouth ulcer healing and contribute to tooth decay.

Foods to Avoid

Diet for Mouth Ulcers
vinegar based salad dressings and nuts should be avoided avoided Photo Credit Rohit Seth/iStock/Getty Images

Salty foods such as pretzels and heavily spiced foods such as curries make mouth sores sting. Highly acidic fruits such as lime, lemon, pineapples, grapefruit and pomegranates have the same effect. Pickled foods and foods like salad dressing that feature vinegar as a main ingredient should also be avoided because of their acid content. Nuts and seeds are abrasive, scratching and scraping mouth ulcers, and often leaving small, hard particles behind.

Considerations

Diet for Mouth Ulcers
a paste made from baking soda can provide relief Photo Credit Vitali Dyatchenko/iStock/Getty Images

If you experience persistent discomfort, the American Dental Association recommends over-the-counter medications that contain numbing agents. In some cases, applying a homemade paste made from baking soda or crushed antacid also helps. Diet does not replace conventional medical treatment for mouth ulcers or any other problem. Consult a doctor or dentist if you experience severe, recurrent ulcers especially if they remain for longer than two weeks.

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