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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
General Health Channel
Reported June 24, 1999

Cinnamon Sores

Television News Service/Medical Breakthroughs
©Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc. 1997

Cinnamon can irritate the mouth's lining, causing a burning sensation. Cinnamon gum and candy may look harmless, but they can cause white spots and sores in your mouth.

Pat Anderson, Had Mouth Sores:
"It was just a normal checkup, then the dentist noticed the spots on the inside of my cheek."

The spots in Pat Anderson's mouth looked like pre-cancerous lesions, or an early sign of lupus -- a disease where the body's tissue gets inflamed. It turned out Pat was using too much cinnamon.

Pat Anderson:
"I was chewing a lot of cinnamon gum."

In fact, he was chewing 18 pieces of gum a day. Dr. Miller, an oral pathologist, said the cinnamon caused the spots.

Richard Miller, M.D., Oral Pathologist, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY:
"Some people will tell us, 'Well I know as soon as I put cinnamon in my cheek or something like that it burns a little bit, but I didn't think it was ever going to hurt me.'"

The researchers found cinnamon gum, hard candy and breath mints as well as jaw breakers and antacids can lead to mouth sores.

Richard Miller, M.D.:
"The active ingredient called cinnamic-aldehyde that is the allergen or irritant involved."

Pat Anderson:
"You know, anything in excess is bad. Certainly cinnamon gum is."

After Pat stopped chewing cinnamon gum for a month, his mouth sores disappeared. The researchers also reported that people who are trying to quit smoking have the most mouth problems because they chew a lot of gum.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Randi Hansen
218 Abell Administration Building, HSC
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
(502) 852-7504
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