7 Foods to Avoid with Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers can be extremely painful, making it difficult to speak, eat, drink, and even smile. These sores are often caused by stress or injury, but can also result from certain medical conditions. If you are experiencing mouth ulcers, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk these sores pose, including avoiding certain foods. Read on to learn more about seven foods to avoid with mouth ulcers.  

Can Food Cause Mouth Ulcers?

The truth is, there is no definitive answer to whether or not there are foods that cause mouth ulcers. In some cases, it's suspected that ulceration may be due to food allergies or sensitivities. However, according to Mayo Clinic, certain foods are more likely to trigger ulcers than others, especially foods that are hard and sharp. Highly acidic and abrasive foods can also cause damage to the delicate tissues inside your mouth. 

What Can You Do About Food-Related Mouth Ulcers?

1. Keep your mouth clean

    One of the first things you can do to deter food-related mouth ulcers is to keep your mouth clean. By keeping your mouth clean, you can help reduce your chances of infection and help the delicate tissues of your mouth heal faster if you begin experiencing mouth sores. 

     2. Brush your teeth frequently

    Try to brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily, carefully avoiding the ulcers and brushing slowly. If flossing is too painful, consider using a water pick. The water pick will help remove plaque and bacteria without irritating your ulcers.

     3. Rinse with saltwater

    Use saltwater rinses to help keep your mouth clean instead of strong alcohol-based rinses like Listerine, which can further irritate your mouth. A homemade solution can be made by mixing a teaspoon of salt with eight ounces of water. Once created, you can rinse with the solution several times a day, making sure to spit it out each time. 

    4. Try ice chips

    Sucking on ice chips or ice pops can help soothe the pain of mouth ulcers. In addition, the ice can help numb the area and reduce swelling.

    5. Rinse with cold water

    Rinsing your mouth with cold water several times throughout the day can also help to numb the pain and reduce swelling.

    6. Take over-the-counter pain relievers

    If you are in a lot of pain, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Be sure to follow the directions on the package and do not take more than the recommended dosage.

    7. Use a topical gel

    There are several over-the-counter topical gels that can help coat and soothe your mouth ulcers. Follow the directions on the package when using these products to maximize pain relief.

    8. Avoid triggering foods

    One of the best things you can do for food-related mouth ulcers is to avoid the foods most likely to irritate or cause damage to the delicate tissues of your mouth. If you aren't sure what foods might be causing the ulcers, try to keep a log and see if you can identify any patterns or food combinations that might be triggering the ulcers.

    What Foods Should You Avoid When Having Mouth Ulcers?

    Below is a list of 7 foods to avoid with mouth ulcers. Starting with this list can help you identify trigger foods faster.

    Spicy foods

    Spicy foods can cause irritation and inflammation, which can make mouth ulcers worse. If you have an open sore, spicy foods can also be painful. To avoid aggravating your mouth ulcers, steer clear of chili peppers, curry, wasabi, and other spicy foods.

    Citrus fruits and juices

    Citrus fruits are one of the most common causes of mouth ulcer outbreaks because they contain citric acid. Citric acid exists in many different types of fruits and vegetables, particularly oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. Eating these fruits can severely irritate ulcers, sores, and even the healthy tissue of your mouth.

    Coffee and caffeinated tea

    Coffees and caffeinated teas are acidic in nature. In addition, they are high in salicylates, which can irritate your gums, tongue, and cheeks. If giving up coffee and caffeinated tea feels daunting, try to limit your intake or consider switching to decaffeinated options.


    If you have mouth ulcers, avoid raw tomatoes or any tomato-based product. In addition to being acidic in nature, they are also full of fiber which may irritate your mouth even more.

    Sodas and other carbonated beverages

    Carbonated beverages are acidic and can irritate the delicate tissues and ulcers in your mouth, while the sugar content can promote the growth of bacteria that can cause infection. 


    Alcohol is acidic and can irritate the delicate tissues in your mouth and those along your gastrointestinal tract. It can also cause damage to the protective lining in your mouth, making it easier for bacteria to infect the area, causing pain and inflammation. Additionally, alcohol can dry out your mouth, making healing more difficult.

    Hard or crunchy foods

    These foods can cause damage to the delicate tissues inside of your mouth, as well as aggravate any existing ulcers by creating microtears. 

    More Tips for Eating with Mouth Ulcers

  1. Cut your food into small pieces: Prepare and cut your food into smaller pieces than you usually would to make it easier to chew and swallow. This will help prevent pieces of food from rubbing against the inside of your cheeks and irritating the ulcers in your mouth.

  2. Eat soft and bland foods: Soft and bland foods are gentle on your mouth and will not aggravate or further damage the delicate tissues that are already inflamed. Foods like broth, cottage cheese, and yogurt can help provide some relief from the pain.

  3. Avoid smoking: Smoking can affect healing and make the pain worse. Smoking can also increase your risk of developing an infection. If you are struggling with mouth ulcers, it is best to avoid tobacco products all together.

  4. Drink lots of liquids: Drink lots of fluids to help soothe your mouth and remain hydrated.

  5. Look into alternative treatments for mouth sores: Many new products, like Healios, are made from natural ingredients that can help soothe and treat your mouth ulcers.

  6. To find out more about how to manage mouth sores with natural ingredients, visit Enlivity.com. Enlivity’s Healios is a nutrient-based solution for cancer patients at risk of developing or currently experiencing oral mucositis, a side effect more commonly known as cancer mouth sores. 

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