The summer is over, and now that winter is on the way, people should start thinking about how they are going to protect their mouths from canker sores. While there are many products that can help you get rid of canker sores, these small nuisances can still be quite painful and leave you wishing you had done more to prevent them.
While many people may believe that canker sores are an inevitable part of dealing with the harsh winter winds and the cracked skin that comes along with it, that's simply not true. There are steps that you can take to try and ward off canker sores so that you don't have to hide your smile this winter.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that people who are prone to canker sores avoid foods that can irritate their mouth. This includes salty snacks such as pretzels, nuts, chips and crackers. Also, acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes may cause irritation, which is why you may want to steer clear of them, especially if you feel a canker sore coming on.
Furthermore, a nutritional imbalance may increase your risk of developing a canker sore, so be sure to eat a diet rich in healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Practice proper dental habits
Regular brushing, flossing and trips to the dentist can help remove leftover food particles that may irritate the mouth, which is why it's important to always practice proper dental care techniques.
Furthermore, you may want to make sure you're using natural dental care products, such as alcohol-free mouthwash. According to the Mayo Clinic, toothpaste and mouth rinses containing sodium lauryl sulfate may possibly trigger a canker sore. The Natural Health Information Center reports that this ingredient is a foaming agent that can be found in many soaps, shampoos and laundry detergents, and well as toothpastes. Do you really want an ingredient used to clean your clothes inside of your mouth?
Also, if you have orthodontic appliances inside of your mouth, such as braces or a palate expander, you may want to ask the dentist about wax coverings that you can place on the sharp edges of these dental tools to keep them from cutting the inside of your mouth.
Try to stay stress-free
Along with diet and dental health techniques, stress is also a well-known cause of canker sores. During the winter, it can be particularly difficult to relieve anxiety when you're shoveling snow and shivering whenever you have to step outside. Also, the holiday season can cause a great deal of stress. Luckily, it's early in the season, so you should start looking into calming practices now.
One of the best ways to relieve anxiety is to exercise. However, you have to be careful, since working out may lead to dry mouth and dehydration, which will increase your chance of developing a canker sore.
WebMD offers some other helpful tips to relieve stress. For example, if you feel stress building up inside of you, then let it out. Talk to someone, whether it's a friend, family member or professional counselor, and let them help you get things off of your chest. Also, meditation, yoga and massage have all been shown to reduce anxiety, so the winter may be a good time to give these practices a try.
Canker sores can be extremely painful and embarrassing, but they don't have to be a part of your life. With the right oral care products, you can quickly make them a thing of the past.