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Track the Cause of Your Canker Sores with a Canker Sore Diary

(Canker sores = Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis = RAS = aphthous ulcers = oral ulcers = mouth ulcers)

Research has identified several factors which may contribute to canker sores. An effective technique in identifying and eliminating these factors from your life is the use of a Canker Sore Notebook.

   A canker sore diary is a simple journal in which you record exposure to those factors which may be contributing to your canker sores. By keeping track of these factors and your canker sore occurrences you may be able to identify and dramatically reduce the number of canker sores you experience.

Below is a sample outline of how such a diary page might look. If you have not read the Introductory Article or the Preventing Canker Sore articles, you may want to review those first.

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Make sure to write in your diary daily keeping track of items such as the type of toothpaste you used, food you ate which might contribute to canker sores, the stressful situations you encountered, etc.

When you do experience canker sores:

Record the number of canker sores as well as the location of each one. Also make sure to write down the estimated size and rate the pain associated with each sore on a scale of 1 to 10. On a daily basis, indicate changes in size, color, or pain associated with each canker sore.

Keep track of the medications / treatments that you use indicating amounts anCanker Sore Diaryd times at which medicines / treatments were applied.

By systematically recording data like this in your diary, there is a good chance that you will be able to identify and eliminate some of the factors which initiate your canker sores. Additionally, by carefully recording the treatments / medications that you use and daily changes in canker sores, you will also be able to experiment with and determine which treatment / medicine is most effective for you.

Canker Sore Diary

January 20, 2007

SLS Free Toothpaste or SLS Containing Toothpaste

Keep track of whether or not you used an SLS free or SLS containing toothpaste. We suggest that you try using an SLS free toothpaste on a trial basis to see whether or not this results in a reduction of canker sores.

I am still using toothpaste containing SLS. The brand is Brand X Tarter Control toothpaste. I brushed my teeth three times today. I plan to switch to an SLS free toothpaste soon.

Foods Eaten Today

Research has shown that sensitivity to certain foods may trigger canker sores in some people. The foods often implicated are listed below. Keep track of the amount of each of these suspect foods you have eaten during the day.

Nuts: I ate a small bag of peanuts



Oranges: I ate two oranges this afternoon




French Mustard:

Peanut Butter: I ate two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch today.



Wheat Products:

Chocolate: I staid late at work to finish project. I had two chocolate bars to hold me over until dinner


Whole Milk: Two glasses of milk with breakfast

Stressful Events That Happened Today

Stress has been shown to be a factor in causing canker sores. Keep track of stressful events such as job challenges / conflicts, financial pressures, etc. Also remember to record "good stress" such as marriage, a promotion, a birth, etc.

Boss is really getting on my case. Keeps looking over my back to make sure the project gets done on time. I'll probably have to spend a few late nights at the office. Little Billy is failing geometry and the in-laws want to come by this week.

I'm excited that Sally got accepted to Harvard. We will be celebrating this weekend.

Nicks, Bruises, or Trauma to Inside of Mouth

Minor trauma to the inside lining of the mouth can rapidly lead to canker sores. Keep track of things you do that might cause trauma to the inside of your mouth. These include:

Eating hard candy, pretzels, or potato chips:
I nicked the inside of my mouth twice today eating a hard peice of candy

Biting inside of mouth

Brushing too hard
I am definitely brushing my teeth too hard. I am planning on purchasing the Alert Toothbrush soon.

Canker Sore Outbreaks

In this section keep note of any canker sore outbreaks. Indicate the day the canker sores began, their location, and size. Rate the pain associated with each canker sore on a scale of 1-10 (1 being least, 10 being worst).

Today is the fourth day that I have had a canker sore outbreak. I have about three small ulcers on the lower right inside of my cheek.

Canker 1:
About 5 mm in width, very red outline, pain=4, second day sore has been present.

Canker 2:
Farthest back in mouth, 7mm in width, slight red outline, pain=8, second day sore has been present.

Canker 3:
About 2mm in width, covered with greyish membrane, pain=3, fourth day sore has been present.


Indicate any medications or treatments that you have been taking to treat your canker sores. Record amounts and times applied.

Today I applied Zilactin gel 3 times (once after breakfast, once mid-day, once before dinner) It worked OK, reduced pain for about 3 hours. I think I will try one of the antimicrobial mouthwashes during the next outbreak. A friend said that it worked well.