The high acid content of citrus fruits such as lemons, limes and grapefruits may cause ulcers known as canker sores on your tongue, at the base of your gums, or inside your cheeks and lips. These sores are often painful and may make eating difficult, but the good news is that you don't have to give up citrus fruits. If you tend to get canker sores, there are ways to help heal them and prevent them from developing.
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In "The People's Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies," Joe and Terry Graedon recommend supplementing with vitamin B-12 to help your canker sores heal faster. Vitamin B-12 has a therapeutic effect on canker sores, according to the Graedons. A study published in the February 2009 issue of the "Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine" appears to confirm this claim. In the study, taking B-12 reduced the duration of canker sores in people who had recurrent outbreaks.
Try Baking Soda
When you eat too much citrus, the acidity throws off the pH balance of your mouth, according to "The People's Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies." A good home remedy to help get rid of canker sores is to add a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda, to an 8-ounce glass of water and drink it. This helps heal the canker sores by neutralizing the acidity and increasing the pH level in your mouth.
Anything that irritates the membranes of your mouth may make canker sores worse and increase healing time. For this reason, it's important that you temporarily eliminate substances that may aggravate your tongue and mouth. According to "The People's Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies," you should steer clear of alcohol, as it is a major irritant and may worsen your canker sores. Eliminate acidic foods, such as pickles, sauerkraut and of course citrus fruits, until your canker sores have healed.
Preventing Canker Sores
Adding a pinch of salt to your citrus fruit prior to eating it helps buffer the acidity, according to "The People's Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies." This buffering effect reduces the risk of developing canker sores from eating too much citrus. Another preventative method is to have a small amount of apple cider vinegar after eating citrus fruit. As with baking soda, apple cider vinegar neutralizes acid and has the capacity to increase pH, which helps reduce the development of canker sores.