Prevention

children prone to canker sores should avoid coffee, spices, citrus fruits, walnuts, strawberries, and chocolates. instead, eating at least four tablespoons of plain yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus daily introduces helpful bacteria into the mouth to fight canker sore bacteria. To prevent outbreaks and to heal severe ones, a prescription anti-inflammatory steroid may help.

children should avoid commercial toothpastes and mouthwashes and brush teeth with baking soda for a month or two. The mouth should be rinsed with warm salt water. Specifically, scientists found that toothpaste with the detergent sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) was linked to canker sores in susceptible children. in a study of 10 people prone to sores, brushing with SLS-free paste for three months led to a 70 percent decrease in the number of canker sores. Scientists suggest that SLS may dry out the mucous layer of the mouth, leaving gums and cheeks vulnerable to irritants.

carbon monoxide poisoning A colorless, poisonous gas that is produced by the incomplete combustion of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Nearly 5,000 people in the United States are treated each year in the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning; this number may be quite low, since many people mistake the symptoms of poisoning for the flu and never get treated. Unborn babies, infants, and children with anemia are especially sensitive to carbon monoxide poisoning.

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