Ease Canker Sore Grief by Eating More Yogurt

Most Americans have experienced the sting and annoyance of a canker sore one or more times in their lives. While it’s not the end of the world, it certain can interfere with our daily lives, especially with two of our favorite pleasures, eating and talking. Canker sores, as opposed to cold sores, are small white ulcers with a red border that can appear on the inside of the mouth area. Just why aphthous stomatitis, their technical name, make an appearance is kind of a mystery. Among the possible causes are food allergies, heredity, stress, physical abrasions or cuts in the mouth and vitamin deficiencies.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus: “Good” Bacteria

Yogurt is a good probioticAlthough they will usually clear up on their own in time, one thing you can do to both help heal your current ulcer and prevent a return engagement is to eat yogurt on a daily basis. Yogurt contains “good” bacteria called lactobacillus acidophilus, which supports colon health, helps maintain beneficial bacterial in the intestinal tract, aids digestion and stimulates the production of immune system boosters including immunoglobulin antibodies.


This friendly lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria is also known as a probiotic.  Probiotics are live organisms that are naturally found in the digestive tract.  When you ingest them they colonize in the intestines and elsewhere and will flourish unless they are destroyed by antibiotics, stress, poor diet choices or other factors that can create a bacterial imbalance. This is why it is often recommended to eat yogurt when taking antibiotics for an infection.

In addition to being good for your overall health, this friendly bacteria has been known to help heal canker sores and eliminate the pain. The exact way this helps isn’t clear, but for many people it is quite an  effective remedy. The acidophilus seems to provide relief by killing off the “bad” bacteria in the canker sores.

Yogurt is one of the best sources of lactobacillus acidophilus. When trying this out as a remedy, the key is getting enough of the  live bacteria to be effective. When you have an active canker sore, experts  recommend eating at least 8 ounces of unflavored yogurt every day until the ulcer heals. In fact some people actually swirl the yogurt around their mouth before swallowing to thoroughly coat their mouth including their gums, roof of mouth, tongue and throat with this beneficial bacteria to help rebalance their oral flora and kill the bad bacteria that may be contributing to their mouth sores. To keep your ulcers away, Jerome Z. Litt, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, suggests eating about 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt per day as a preventative. If you really hate yogurt, there are some excellent probiotic capsules that will do the same thing. Several good brands include Enzymatic Therapy Acidophilus Pearls and New Chapter Probiotic All-Flora.

Read the Label

Not all yogurt is the same. It’s important to eat plain yogurt with live acidophilus cultures, not the popular fruit-flavored, sweetened types. When buying yogurt, be sure to read the product label and look for the words “live active cultures of lactobacillus acidophilus.” One of my favorites is Greek yogurt, which contains live cultures. If you don’t like plain yogurt, you can buy lactobacillus tablets or capsules at most health food stores.

If such a simple, inexpensive and effective remedy could help you heal your canker sores and prevent you from getting them over and over again, it is well worth trying.

8 comments for “Ease Canker Sore Grief by Eating More Yogurt

  1. Sandra Stevens
    September 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    my grandson had been having radiation treatments for nonhodgkins lymphoma and his mouth his full of painful mouth ulcers. I need the booklet to give to him so he can see how the yogurt and other information will help him. Thank you very much.

    • Michael
      October 18, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      I have gotten canker sores since I was a little boy the most I’ve ever had was about -5 in my mouth at once. (I don’t know how in the world I got them, they just appeared.) But I would try different things like gargling salt water( which was painful and made it worse each time gargling) but it didn’t even really temporary relieve the pain. The best thing I’ve ever used to help numb a canker sore the fastest and best is ‘Oikos traditional greek yogurt (I use the pumpkin pie one because it still tastes good. But on the package like the article says, it says “Contains active yogurt cultures” and ‘Partially produced with genetic engineering” literally I only ate a tiny little bowl of it (hold a spoon of it in your mouth for like 10 seconds at a time, and let the yogurt’s good bacteria do it’s work.

  2. Marty
    May 21, 2015 at 5:30 am

    I wasn’t aware canker sores had bad bacteria in them. Do you have a source or citation for that?

  3. Barbara Brant
    January 9, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Greek yogurt worked wonders for my painful canker sore. I developed a horrible one after I accidentally bit the inside of my cheek while eating. I held the yogurt as long as I could on the area of the sore and around my entire mouth before swallowing.

  4. Soni Biehl
    February 9, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Since this is the only way I can make a comment, I guess I have to do this although, I wanted to leave you a private note. You need to tell people that some people GET ulcers from yogurt. I do and I just read another person on line saying the same thing. I was trying to find out why when I saw this page and I thought you better not tell people that it’s a sure fix.

    • Valerie Grant
      February 9, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Soni, it’s possible that you may have an allergy/sensitivity to either dairy or yogurt or the specific yogurt you are eating. The article doesn’t say yogurt is a sure fix, but many people do find it helpful. Sorry to hear it has the opposite effect for you. Different things work for different people.

  5. Soni Biehl
    February 9, 2017 at 11:37 am

    I get ulcers from yogurt.

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