A possible remedy for canker sores

Q. I am desperate for a remedy for canker sores. My mouth is just full of them and they are so painful I am having trouble eating. My doctor prescribed Aphthasol, but it didn't help. My dentist has offered antibiotics and strong steroids, but nothing has worked.

A. Physicians don't know what causes canker sores (aphthous ulcers), but a deficiency of folic acid, vitamin B-12 and iron may contribute. Prescription treatments are not always effective.

We recently heard from D.W. in Garland, Texas, whose mother was a dental assistant in the 1930s. In those days, the dentist recommended swishing the mouth with sauerkraut juice several times during the day, swallowing about a tablespoon. D.W. says the sores should start improving within a day or so.

A more drastic approach involves the recently approved drug Thalomid (thalidomide). Researchers have demonstrated that this medication dramatically improves severe canker sores in HIV-infected patients. Of course, no woman should take thalidomide if she could become pregnant, since it causes terrible birth defects.

Write to the Graedons in care of The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or e-mail to pharmacy@mindspring.com.

King Features Syndicate

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