Cold Sores and Kiwi fruit

Happy New Year to all!  When last we blogged, we promised to discuss canker sores and kiwi fruit. 

We had heard that eating kiwi fruit daily helps prevent the development of canker sores.

In researching that surprising statement, we found the Internet full of home remedies forcanker sores – everything from swishing with maple syrup or molasses, rubbing the ulcer with banana, to rinsing with sauerkraut juice, buttermilk or even Pepto-Bismol.

What to think of these fantastic claims?  To the scientific literature we went, and behold, there was no basis in research for any of the above. 

What is known about canker sores (or aphthous ulcers) is that they may be related to stress, eating acidic foods, or vitamin deficiency. Nobody quite knows why some people get them, and there is no effective treatment once you do get one, other than Benzocaine or other topical gels to alleviate some of the sting.  They always go away in 10 days or so, so you know you will eventually get relief.

There has been some evidence of correlation between these ulcers and a common ingredient in toothpastes:  sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).  This additive creates the foaming action people love when they brush.  There are SLS-free toothpastes, which are worth a try if this is a problem for you.  Pronamel, which we usually have in the office, and some types of Sensodyne and Tom’s of Maine are examples of SLS free pastes.

The best prevention, though, is eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, and doing your best to eliminate stressors in your life.  Well that would solve all sorts of our problems, wouldn’t it?  It’s something to strive for in this new year.