The Cure

How to get rid of canker sores forever

If you want to know how to get rid of canker sores follow these steps. The very first thing you need to do is throw away your toothpaste. Most commercial toothpastes contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is a major culprit in canker sore formation.

What are canker sores?  Click here to find out.

Derived from coconut and/or palm kernel oil, SLS is a caustic detergent used in toothpastes, shampoos and some mouthwashes, valued for its thickening effect and its ability to create a lather.

It is suspected that one of the side effects of SLS in toothpaste is that over time it tends to remove mucin, which is a natural protective film in the mouth. This opens the door for canker sores.

Although it is not fully understood, the removal of this natural barrier may make the mouth more susceptible to bacteria or viruses, which might then lead to mouth sores as a defensive response by the immune system.

The best treatment strategy is three-pronged:

  1. Only use SLS-free toothpastes
  2. Boost your immune system
  3. Avoid food allergens

There are some good toothpastes available for daily canker sore prevention that don’t have SLS as an ingredient.

woman brushing teeth

The most important tip: switch toothpastes to banish your canker sores forever.

I must emphasize that to rid yourself of canker sores, you have to stop using any toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate …forever.

That includes some natural toothpastes too.  Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s automatically better for you.

Tom’s of Maine is a case in point.  They make some excellent products, but they only have a few toothpastes without SLS, which they only recently started making.

Other companies have made excellent toothpastes without the dreaded SLS for years. These products work great and still have the taste and foaminess you would expect.

(See our canker sore toothpaste reviews here.)

Boosting your immune system

There is some evidence that mouth sores are caused by or exacerbated by some sort of microorganism. If that’s the case, you should do all you can to help your immune system fight off the invaders.

Fortunately there are lots of things you can do to help. This includes eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding junk food, getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of clean water, exercising regularly and through stress management.

Other canker sore suspects

It is also recommended that you stay away from acidic foods or any foods you may be allergic to while you are adjusting to life without your old toothpaste. After a few months, you should be able to introduce foods that may have previously contributed to canker sore formation.

If you’re not aware of what foods you could be sensitive to, it’s a safe bet to avoid the most common food allergens.  Although it’s possible to be allergic to any food, there are eight culprits that reportedly account for 90% of all food allergic reactions:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • peanuts (which are legumes, not nuts)
  • tree nuts (walnuts, cashews, etc.)
  • fish
  • shellfish (shrimp, crayfish, lobster, crab, etc.)
  • soy
  • wheat

Acidic foods have also been implicated in formation of mouth ulcers, so it would be wise to avoid pineapple, citrus fruits (and juice) and cooked tomatoes because of their acidity – at least until the natural balance in your mouth has been restored.

The more accurate way to have food allergy testing done is through your doctor or keep a food diary to see what might be triggering the sores.

Pay particular attention to any foods that cause even minor lip swelling, mouth or throat itching or a runny nose. These could be allergy indicators.

Oddly, sometimes the foods that initiate an allergic response are those foods that we eat often. It seems that the old adage is true: “Variety is the spice of life.”

As long as you don’t overdo it with offending foods (like several times a day), you should be fine.  If you’re like me, without SLS in your life you’ll be able to eat most anything without getting a canker sore.

My experience

I can tell you from personal experience that SLS contributes to canker sore formation. Anecdotal? No question. So try it for yourself. Dump your commercial toothpaste for one of these SLS-free toothpastes for a few months and watch them disappear.  Then, if you dare, go back to your old toothpaste for a few weeks and see what happens. They will return.

If you’re just looking for immediate relief from pain and treatment for an existing sore, click here.

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