Aphthous ulcer prevention

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


  • Regular use of mouthwash may help prevent or reduce the frequency of sores.[1]
  • In some cases, switching toothpastes can prevent mouth ulcers from occurring with research looking at the role of sodium dodecyl sulfate (sometimes called sodium lauryl sulfate, or simply SLS), a detergent found in most toothpastes. Using toothpaste free of this compound has been found in several studies to help reduce the amount, size and recurrence of ulcers.[2][3][4]
  • Dental braces are a common physical trauma that can lead to mouth ulcers and can be treated with wax to reduce abrasion of themucosa. Avoidance of other types of physical and chemical trauma will prevent some ulcers, but since such trauma is usually accidental, this type of prevention is not usually practical.
  • Take caution when brushing or flossing teeth, and be extra careful when using a toothpick.

Nutritional therapy

  • Zinc deficiency has been reported in people with recurrent mouth ulcers.[5]The few small studies looking into the role of zinc supplementation have mostly reported positive results particularly for those people with deficiency,[6][7]although some research has found no therapeutic effect.[8]


  1. Studies mostly agree that antiseptic mouthwashes can help prevent recurrences:
    * Meiller TF, Kutcher MJ, Overholser CD, Niehaus C, DePaola LG, Siegel MA. (1991). "Effect of an antimicrobial mouthrinse on recurrent aphthous ulcerations". Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 72 (4): 425–9. PMID 1923440. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
    * Skaare AB, Herlofson BB, Barkvoll P. (1996). "Mouthrinses containing triclosan reduce the incidence of recurrent aphthous ulcers (RAU)". J Clin Periodontol. 23 (8): 778–81. PMID 8877665. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
    But this is not accepted by all reports:
    * Barrons RW. (2001). "Treatment strategies for recurrent oral aphthous ulcers". Am J Health Syst Pharm. 58 (1): 41–50. PMID 11194135. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. Herlofson BB, Barkvoll P. (1996). "The effect of two toothpaste detergents on the frequency of recurrent aphthous ulcers". Acta Odontol Scand. 54 (3): 150–3. PMID 8811135. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. Chahine L, Sempson N, Wagoner C. (1997). "The effect of sodium lauryl sulfate on recurrent aphthous ulcers: a clinical study". Compend Contin Educ Dent. 18 (12): 1238–40. PMID 9656847. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  4. Healy CM, Paterson M, Joyston-Bechal S, Williams DM, Thornhill MH. (1999). "The effect of a sodium lauryl sulfate-free dentifrice on patients with recurrent oral ulceration". Oral Dis. 5 (1): 39–43. PMID 10218040. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  5. Wang SW, Li HK, He JS, Yin TA (1986). "[The trace element zinc and aphthosis. The determination of plasma zinc and the treatment of aphthosis with zinc]". Rev Stomatol Chir Maxillofac. (in French). 87 (5): 339–43. PMID 3467416.
  6. Merchant HW, Gangarosa LP, Glassman AB, Sobel RE (1977). "Zinc sulfate supplementation for treatment of recurring oral ulcers". South Med J. 70 (5): 559–61. PMID 870981. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  7. Orbak R, Cicek Y, Tezel A, Dogru Y (2003). "Effects of zinc treatment in patients with recurrent aphthous stomatitis". Dent Mater J. 22 (1): 21–9. PMID 12790293. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  8. Wray D (1982). "A double-blind trial of systemic zinc sulfate in recurrent aphthous stomatitis". Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 53 (5): 469–72. PMID 7048184. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

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