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Dental & Oral Issues




  1. Do you have any leads for us to get recipes for yummy liquid foods? Answer
  2. I have been suffering from reoccurring mouth ulcers for the last six months. Answer
  3. I have a horrible metallic "feel", not really a taste in my mouth. Answer
  4. A family member of a 71 year old woman who has no saliva glands says almost any food or drink she puts in her mouth causes her mouth to burn. Answer
  5. I have a friend that has suffered her whole life with strange, painful mouth sores. Answer
  6. Is there anyone who can help me find a way to make foods liquid enough for our son (18 years) whose jaw is wired shut? Answer
  7. His jaw isn't wired, but he has a broken nose, cheekbones and stitches in his upper lip. He says that his palate hurts when he swallows. Answer
  8. My son was recently the victim of a violent crime. He has facial injuries that make it difficult for him to eat. Answer
  9. I constantly suffer from canker sores. Could I be suffering from a nutritional deficiency? Answer


My son got his jaw broken a day after his 22nd birthday and will be wired up for 4 to 6 weeks. Do you have any leads for us to get recipes for yummy liquid foods?

Thanks.

Sorry to hear about that unfortunate event!

In the beginning though, you will find that fruit juices or drinks, milk based shakes and blended soups are better tolerated. Instant breakfast type drinks are usually pretty complete nutritionally if drank 3 to 6 times a day. That routine can get pretty boring after a few days though.

For more suggestions read below.


I have been suffering from reoccurring mouth ulcers for the last six months. My last attack has lasted 10 days and I currently have a total of 22 ulcers present. As you can imagine I am somewhat fed up. My doctor was not able to suggest a cure or able to recommend any thing that may ease the pain, can you help?

You don't describe what the mouth ulcers look like. If they are a small white ring surrounded by red swollen tissue, you may have canker sores which are caused by the herpes virus. (Not the same one that causes genital herpes.) Since your doctor is not able to suggest a treatment, I would suggest you get a second opinion from someone who can diagnose you what you have. Also talk to your dentist about any mouth issues that may be causing sores.

In the meantime to sooth your mouth, get some liquid Benadryl for internal use (not the spray on type for bug bites) and some liquid Maalox antacid. Mix small equal amounts of each (1 tablespoon) and swirl the solution around in your mouth. Spit it out. The Benadryl will numb the pain and the Maalox will coat your mouth.

There is no cure for herpes, but your doctor may give you a prescription that works to reduce the incidence. Some people notice that when they don't get enough vitamin C they have more outbreaks. Foods rich in vitamin C are citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, cabbage and spinach. You don't need an excess amount, just 75 milligrams per day which is the RDA for women 19 to 70+ years.


I have a horrible metallic "feel", not really a taste in my mouth. I went to my doctor and he said I need all my fillings out because of a leakage that can cause a problem with the "electrical" system in my body and possibly lead to cancer later.

I went to my dentist and he indeed said there could be an electrical something going on due to a crack in a filling. He found no cracks in my fillings and told me to get toothpaste for sensitive teeth. He did say that might help the electrical thing bouncing around between my teeth and the different metals that have been used over the years.

There are certain days it's worse and bothers me "mentally" because it's so constant. I really notice it if an electrical storm is approaching and at 6,000 feet. We do have those often. I notice it also more frequently in the bathroom while running the hot water in the sink, if I use certain hand lotions on my body and other things.

I have a neck injury due to a car accident where a woman ran a red light and caused my head to hit the driver's side of the window. I'm bringing this up because on bad days when my neck bones seem to "scrape" a lot I really feel that metallic feeling.

Please don't think I'm a mental case or making this up. Many professional people say it can happen, however don't know exactly what the cause is let alone how to treat it. I don't want to talk to strangers over the Internet because I'm sure I'd get a lot of "weird" suggestions. I'm not into that, although my symptoms may sound "weird". Do you have any suggestions?

I'm sorry I took so much space, but I don't know how to explain this otherwise. Thank you.

A metallic taste in your mouth can come from a deficiency of magnesium, zinc or other trace minerals. Are you taking any supplements with iron (ferrous), copper or zinc sulfate which can cause a metallic taste? Do you use any artificial sweeteners which can cause a bitter or metallic aftertaste?

Before you change your supplement use, you should really find the cause of the problem. Make an appointment with an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor.

Did you notice the metallic feeling in your mouth shortly after your car accident? Could there be a relationship between the two? Ask your doctor to investigate.

Medications can also cause a metallic taste in your mouth. Please review with your doctor all prescribed and over the counter medications as well as supplements (vitamin, mineral and herbal) you take. I found one article about a patient in Canada who experienced a metallic taste after a botulinum toxin A injection for wrinkles which went away with additional treatments. So make sure you tell your doctor everything so he / she can best diagnose your symptoms. Do you work near an MRI scanner? Have you had any radiation treatments for cancer to the head or neck area?

Have you tried toothpaste for sensitive teeth as recommended by your dentist? Many people have replaced the amalgam (silver) dental fillings for composite resin fillings (white) because amalgam fillings contain mercury. However there has been no research to conclusively link mercury containing amalgam fillings with any specific disease resulting in public health recommendations to remove amalgam fillings.


Yesterday I received a call from a family member of a 71 year old woman who has no saliva glands. Some years ago these were removed. Clinical symptoms are that almost any food or drink she puts in her mouth causes her mouth to burn. Daughter says mother's mouth looks raw and scalded. Mother is loosing weight, becoming malnourished. If daughter comes to talk about how to help mother, I want to be well prepared. Have some ideas of my own, like supplements, but also wondered if you have encountered such a case previously. Will be ever grateful for any suggestions.

Vitamin or mineral supplements won't solve the weight loss problem. This woman needs foods she can tolerate. A liquid meal replacement may be helpful until she can eat regular food again.

I have had patients with this same problem and have recommended artificial saliva. They tell me it has helped immensely. Patricia Sander, clinical instructor with the School of Dental Hygiene at the University of Minnesota recommends a formula for artificial saliva. A pharmacist can inexpensively mix it as follows: 20 cc of 0.9 to 4% methyl cellulose; 10 cc of glycerin; 60 cc of normal saline. (The 4 percent methyl cellulose will make the inside of her mouth more slippery than the 0.9 solution.) This formula can be put in either a spray bottle or squeeze bottle. At first, she may need 4 to 6 drops of the solution at a time. She should use it whenever her mouth feels dry during the day. The frequency of use of artificial saliva may decrease over time.

Commercially prepared formulas of artificial saliva are now available. She should ask her pharmacist to order a small bottle for her to try. Her mouth will feel soothed compared to the burning irritation she probably now experiences.

Also be sure to tell her to brush her teeth, gums and tongue frequently during the day. Her taste will be affected by an unbrushed mouth. She should visit her dentist regularly as saliva helps prevent tooth decay. If she has reduced amounts of saliva, she may experience more cavities than usual.

Hope this helps.


I have a friend that has suffered her whole life with strange, painful mouth sores. They are shallow, canker-like sores that appear weekly. They present themselves in the typical areas like inside the cheek and lips, but also, strangely, on her gums and roof of her mouth. Not a day goes by that she does not have at least one in her mouth and it has been as bad as 15 at one time. The pain can be so severe that she canšt speak.

The mouth ulcers are single or clustered shallow painful ulcers found anywhere in the oral cavity. The lesions are from 1 to 5 millimeters in diameter, have fairly even borders, are surrounded by a reddened area and are often covered by a white membrane. Lesions usually resolve themselves in 3 to 10 days, but are recurrent.

She has seen both medical and dental specialists about this problem and nothing has been found. Cultures have revealed nothing. Poor sleeping habits cause these sores to flare up. When she is sick with a cold these sores also will flare up. Any changes in her life, be it sleep, nutrition or stress are guaranteed to bring a heavy onslaught of the sores. Still, when her life is "normal" she still has one to three in her mouth.

Her diet is fairly normal. The only thing that stands out is that she drinks a lot of milk and eats a lot of grapes. Other than that, it is normal, mixed, North American diet.

Under the guidance of a doctor, she previously attempted a food elimination process for a short period of time with no positive results. Her oral hygiene is very good. She brushes two to three times a day and flosses once a day. She changes her tooth brush frequently.

Any suggestions on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Your friend may have canker sores which are caused by a herpes virus. She can get immediate relief by mixing equal parts of Maalox and liquid benadryl. (Buy benadryl that is meant to be taken internally usually a children's version, not the kind you spray on your skin.) She should swish this mixture in her mouth and then spit out. She shouldn't rinse mouth afterwards or eat to keep her mouth coated. The benadryl will numb her mouth and the Maalox helps coat it.

Unfortunately, this combo won't "cure" herpes caused canker sores. I am very surprised that doctors and dentists don't know what a canker sore looks like or that they are caused by the herpes virus. It remains dormant in a person's body until something causes a flare up.

If your friend eats typical American foods, does she eat foods high in vitamin C? I am guessing if the mouth sores bother her continuously, she may be avoiding citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime) and tomatoes which are good sources of vitamin C. Tell her she should make sure she gets at least her RDA of vitamin C daily (Recommended Dietary Allowance for women 19 to 70+ years is 75 milligrams) since it is a water soluble vitamin and not stored in the body. Non-citrus foods that are high in vitamin C are frozen sliced peaches, red or green peppers, papaya, cranberry juice cocktail, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, grape juice, broccoli, edible pod peas and kiwi fruit.

Another issue she could consider is a riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency though the sores you describe would not indicate riboflavin because she drinks milk which is a good source of riboflavin, I don't think she has a riboflavin deficiency. If however she abuses alcohol, she could be deficient in thiamin (vitamin B1), another B vitamin.


Is there anyone at my hospital who you know who can help me find a way to make foods liquid enough for our son (18 years) whose jaw is wired shut due to orthognathic surgery for orthodontic treatment? High calorie protein powdered foods are too thick even when thinned. He bas lost 15 pounds already (6 feet 1 inch now 140 pounds). At 20 pounds he has been re-admitted to the hospital.

I'm sorry to hear about your son. Unfortunately even with aggressive nutrition therapy, patients I have worked with often lost 10 pounds during the 6 weeks their jaw is wired because liquefied foods are lower in calories.

Please read suggestions below and let me know how he does.


Thanks so much for the speedy reply. Great suggestions!

His jaw isn't wired, but he has a broken nose, cheekbones and stitches in his upper lip. He says that his palate hurts when he swallows, which the doc says will go away when the swelling goes down. Also he can't close his jaw completely also due to the swelling. He can't use a straw (his choice) and he also feels like a gimp (his term) because he can't get a spoon fully in his mouth. I'll be so happy when he's fully recovered. His face was so swollen at first he looked like the elephant man. I have a food processor and a blender so maybe it won't be so hard after all giving him soft / drinkable family food. Again, thanks and have a wonderful holiday.


You're welcome. His broken nose may interfere with his sense of smelling foods which along with taste buds may affect his appetite and sense of taste. Soft, blended or liquid foods will be gentler to swallow. Ground foods may be a good option so he doesn't have to chew considering his jaw closure. Wouldn't want him to choke on large pieces of under chewed food either. Until the stitches in his lip are removed, he should be careful when eating tart foods like oranges, grapefruits and tomato products. Has he tried a baby sized spoon?


My son was recently the victim of a violent crime. He has facial injuries that make it difficult for him to eat. He's getting sick of Ensure, Ovaltine, pudding, mashed potatoes and creamed soups. He was already underweight (20 years old, 6 feet 130 pounds) and now with not eating enough, he's losing more weight. He lost a lot of blood and seems increasing tired. I'm very concerned but the doctor seems to think that when he's recovered enough he'll gain back the weight. My concern is that it will take him longer to heal due to lack of proper nutrition. Help! Any ideas for non-sweet, hot nutritious soft foods will be greatly appreciated.

I'm sorry to hear about your son. He can't afford to lose any more weight as he was underweight before he was assaulted. Unfortunately even with aggressive nutrition therapy, patients I have worked with often lost 10 pounds during the 6 weeks their jaw is wired.

Don't think low fat foods now, just offer him anything you are eating, but change the consistency to pureed or ground like baby food. Buy him whole milk rather than low fat milk. Gelatin can be drunk as a liquid before it sets. If flavored gelatin sets, heat it up slightly and it will melt again.

Using your regular recipes, blend small amounts of foods you cook for the rest of your family. You can put anything including pizza or spaghetti with meatballs in a blender. Just thin food down with tomato juice or sauce, chicken or beef broth, fruit juice or milk rather than water. Gravy makes a good thinning liquid and has lots of flavor. Taste blenderized foods for flavor and add extra seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic, vanilla extract, etc) to make flavors stronger. Meat is a good source of iron, but when blended alone is quite grainy so blend casseroles with meat.

For instance, you could blend a piece of apple pie with apple juice or melted ice cream thinned with milk to get it to the right consistency. Macaroni and cheese can be blended with additional cheese sauce. For Easter, try blending ham and scalloped potatoes separately or together with some ham broth (from a simmered ham) or thinned cheese sauce. Blend canned fruit with extra fruit juice or even blend vegetables with cheese sauce (broccoli with cheese sauce). Have you thought of borrowing or buying a juicer for fruits and vegetables? These appliances often come with recipe books. Get creative, but work in small amounts, just enough for 1 meal. Experiment and taste.

Food that would normally be served hot, heat the blenderized version. Food that is normally served cold, keep refrigerated until serving. Add extra butter, margarine or oil to the blenderized food to boost the calories. Use half and half to thin milk based foods.

Milk shakes with added malt would be OK, just let them melt to a thinner consistency. Try to find eggnog in the stores or make it yourself. Just remember to buy pasteurized eggs for homemade eggnog or heat the finished eggnog to 140 degrees then cool it in the refrigerator.

Is his jaw wired? If so, the doc may not want him to use a straw, but if he can use a straw, blend food so that it goes easily through a wide straw. Most people can put the straw through spaces created by missing teeth or between their teeth and inside cheek.

I wish there was a cookbook I could recommend, but don't know of one. Call a local hospital or nursing home and ask them if they know of a good cookbook for pureed or dysphasia diets (swallowing problems often created by a stroke).

Let me know how he does.


I constantly suffer from canker sores. Every time I bite my lip, go to the dentist, jab myself with the toothbrush, I inevitably end up with one. I've tried everything: lysine supplements, zinc, vitamin C, yogurt and antibiotics from my doctor when they get unbearable. These things may lessen the severity, but nothing really prevents an outbreak. Could I be suffering from a nutritional deficiency? And is there any way to determine this, i.e., see a nutritionist?

Rather than diagnosing yourself, I would recommend you see your dentist then your physician. Sores in the mouth could be something else like an abscessed tooth or gun infection or even a yeast or bacterial infection. For some people an upset stomach or stomach ulcers could be the cause.

If you do have canker sores, you may be deficient in iron, vitamin c, vitamin B12 or zinc. You state that you have taken vitamin C and zinc supplements, but not the dosage which could be the difference. Also, if you don't eat an adequate amount of these nutrients daily from food, you may develop a nutritional deficiency which is temporarily cured by the supplement until you become deficient again. Try a supplement with 100% of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for just these nutrients (iron RDA 19 to 70 year old males and females 51+ years is 8 milligrams and 19 to 50 year old females is 18 milligrams, Vitamin B 12 RDA males and females 2.4 micrograms and zinc RDA males 11 milligrams and females 8 milligrams) plus 500 milligrams Vitamin C for 3 days which should resolve any deficiency short term. Read my nutrition topics for food sources of these nutrients and long term improved intake of these nutrients. You could make an appointment to see a registered dietitian who could do a nutritional analysis of your food intake, make specific recommendations for nutritional deficiencies and also include your food preferences.

Canker sores in the mouth are caused by a herpes simplex virus that lays dormant for varying lengths of time. Factors such as stress (fever, infection, etc), dental problem, sunburn, food allergies, anxiety, menses, or a lower immune system can increase frequency of canker sores. Biting your lip or jabbing yourself with a toothbrush can also cause a canker sore outbreak in your mouth. It can spread if you touch your tongue to the canker sore and them elsewhere in your mouth. Unfortunately, it can be transmitted from person to person by kissing. There is no cure for herpes simplex.

While you have sores in your mouth, I would NOT recommend some foods that irritate canker sores like hot or spicy foods (Mexican or Indian foods) or acidic foods like citrus fruits (lime, lemon, grapefruit, orange, etc) or tomatoes. Milk will coat your stomach and may coat your mouth until you eat or drink something else, but will not necessarily make canker sores feel better.

You can rinse your mouth with a baking soda rinse (1/2 tsp of baking soda in 1 cup of water) every few hours. Another trick I learned from a dental hygienist is a mix of equal parts liquid benadryl and Maalox. Use the liquid benadryl that is intended to be taken internally even though you should spit it out. Swish this mixture in your mouth and spit out. The benadryl will numb the pain and the Maalox will coat your mouth, keeping the benadryl on the surface of the inside of your mouth until you eat or drink. Remember that benadryl can cause drowsiness, so make sure you don't swallow the benadryl especially if you are swishing your mouth with more than a single dose of benadryl. Limit the frequency of these topical applications during the day to every 3 - 4 hours. It won't cure canker sores, but at least they won't hurt as much.






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