Young man checking tooth in bathroom

What Can I Eat With Canker Sores?

You don’t always appreciate how wonderful a healthy mouth is until canker sores shut things down for a while. Eating, speaking, and even swallowing can be a challenge due to the discomfort canker sores can cause. But before we talk about what foods are easier to eat with canker sores, lets go over some background info:

What Are Canker Sores?

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small sores that can form in the soft tissues in the mouth. They can occur on the tongue, inside the cheek, the floor of the mouth, and in the back of the throat where the tonsils are. Canker sores are usually less than 0.5cm, but in some cases can be much larger.

What Causes Canker Sores?

The exact cause of canker sores is unknown, but some possible contributing factors are stress, trauma to the soft tissues in the mouth, iron or vitamin B12 deficiency, hormonal changes, or certain foods or drinks (especially acidic ones)1

How Do I Treat Canker Sores?

Usually, no treatment is required. Canker sores will typically resolve on their own after two weeks. Even so, those two weeks can be pretty painful, especially if the canker sores are located in an area that affects your ability to chew and swallow. Rinsing with warm salt water and using an over the counter topical anesthetic can help with pain in the meantime. If the pain gets really bad, tylenol or ibuprofen could help. If canker sores are a continuous problem in your life, talk with your doctor or dentist to see what other options are available.

So back to the main question……..

What Foods Can I Eat With Canker Sores?

 Here are some ideas of foods that are easier to eat with canker sores, sorted by food group:

1. Fruits

  • Canned Pears
  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
  • Smoothies

2. Vegetables

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Canned Green Beans
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Soft cooked vegetables (like squash or zucchini)
  • Cooked spinach
  • Avocado
  • Vegetable soups 

3. Grains

  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Soft Bread
  • Muffins
  • Pasta
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Pancakes

4. Dairy

  • Yogurt
  • Custard
  • Pudding
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Milkshake
  • Ice Cream

5. Protein

  • Eggs (hard boiled, scrambled, or egg salad)
  •  Peanut Butter (creamy, not chunky)
  • Canned Tuna
  • Chicken (canned or rotisserie chicken works great)
  • Salmon
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Egg Salad and Avocado
  1. McBride DR. Management of aphthous ulcers. Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(1):149-160.

Tips For Eating And Drinking With Canker Sores:

  • Use a straw when drinking liquids, it will keep the sores from being in direct contact with what you’re drinking
  • Avoid things that are really hot
  • Stay away from foods that are very salty or spicy
  •  Avoid acidic foods or drinks (like oranges, lemon, pineapple, tomatoes, or vinegar)
  • Avoid foods that are rough (like crackers or crusty bread) and foods which contain a lot of nuts or seeds
  • Rinsing with salt water throughout the day can help manage the pain (a helpful recipe is mixing 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of warm water)

Kitchen Appliances Which Make Food Easier to Eat With Canker Sores

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A crock pot is a simple way to prepare meals in advance. Cooking foods, especially meats, at controlled temperatures for long periods of time makes them easy to chew and delicious!

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There is no finer way to puree foods than a Vitamix Blender. It can turn any food into a single, smooth texture which is easy to swallow.

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A food processor is a must have for finely chopping, slicing, and pureeing foods. It does all the work for you, which is especially helpful if your age or health status limits your ability to chop and slice foods by hand.

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