Mouth ulcers can pose quite a few problems, being painful every time you have to taken in something through the mouth. When you have mouth ulcers that are severe, recurrent or lasting more than 2 weeks, you need to seek consultation with a doctor.
This is especially so because mouth ulcers are sometimes symptomatic of some other underlying illness like celiac disease. Take heart though that more often mouth ulcers do respond to simple dietary measures.
Foods to be Avoided
Citrus fruits are acidic and tend to exacerbate the ulcer. Examples of such fruits to avoid are orange, lime, lemon and grapefruit.
In addition to citrus fruits, there are other foods that cause acidity and so are not advisable to take when you have mouth ulcers. They are tomatoes, pickled foods, and salads having vinegar dressing.
Salty and Spicy Foods
Salty foods and spicy foods can make the mouth ulcers sting. So avoid foods like pretzels and heavily spiced curries.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds need to be avoided as far as possible. The reason for this is that they are abrasive, and so lead to scratching and also scraping of the mouth ulcers. They also leave behind small but hard particles.
Foods with Gluten
Celiac disease is an intestinal disease, but can also cause mouth ulcers. If celiac disease is the cause of your mouth ulcers, then you need to avoid gluten. Foods containing gluten are wheat and many cereals.
Caffeinated Drinks and Alcohol
Caffeinated drinks like coffee and colas, and alcohol can worsen the condition. So, avoid them as far as possible till the symptoms subside and the ulcer resolves.
Foods to be Taken in Limited Quantities
These need to be taken in moderate quantities because many of them are acidic to a certain extent. So, go easy on your consumption of apples, mangos, apricots, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums and berries.
Consumption of sweets tends to leave behind particles of sugar in the mouth. Sugar is a fertile ground for bacteria to colonize in the mouth and delay the healing of the mouth ulcers. So, limit your intake of sweets.
Foods that are Helpful
Intake of foods that are rich in iron goes a long way in combating the mouth ulcers, particularly if you are having heavy monthly periods that deplete the body stores of iron, or symptoms of iron deficiency such as weakness, tiredness or breathlessness. Such foods include green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, pulses and meat.
Vegetables and Meat
Vegetables that are cooked tend not to have abrasive qualities and are good for your health in general. Meat or non-vegetarian food in general tends to be acidic. But unseasoned meat tends to have a neutral pH and so is not harmful.
Onion and Garlic
Onion and garlic are rich in antioxidants that help fight the disease. So, you can either eat them raw or use them liberally in your cooking.
Cold Beverages and Foods
Cold food items soothe away the pain of mouth ulcers. So, having iced tea, cold milk or ice cream is a good idea.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Deficiencies of vitamins like C and B12, and of minerals like zinc are thought to contribute to ulceration in the mouth. So, taking vitamin and mineral supplements can help.