Canker sores can make talking and eating painfully uncomfortable. These sores are about less than 1 centimeter in diameter. Despite its size, it can greatly affect your quality of life when inflicted by them.
Although they heal in one week on their own, using a canker sore treatment could ease your discomfort and speed up the process of healing.
What are Canker Sores?
Canker sores, or recurrent aphthous stomatitis, are the most common mouth ulcer. They are characterized by small, shallow lesions inside the mouth and gums. They can form on your tongue or inside your lip or cheek. They are oval shaped with a white or yellow center and a red border. They can appear alone or in clusters and are extremely irritating. These sores are not contagious and should not be confused with cold sores. The common type of canker sores heals in less than a week without causing any scars.
Canker Sore Treatments
To avoid scarring, it is best to leave canker sores to heal on their own. But, there are ways to prevent infection, reduce pain and accelerate healing. These treatments include:
- Use Medicated Mouth Rinses. Medicated mouth rinses can be used to calm canker sores. Pick out products that contain steroid dexamethasone which can help reduce pain and inflammation. Mouth rinses that contain lidocaine can help reduce pain.
- Use Home Remedy Mouth Rinses. Aside from medicated mouth rinses that your dentist may prescribe, there are some ingredients that you can use to prepare a mouth rinse.
Salt Rinse. Salt is known as a natural disinfectant. At the first signs of canker sores, use the salt rinse. Mix 1 teaspoon natural salt with a half a cup of warm water. Swish the solution inside your mouth for 30 seconds before rinsing it with fresh water.
Baking Soda Rinse. Baking soda is an alkaline base that can help neutralize the acids in your mouth. It can speed up the healing process of your canker sores because it kills bacteria, too.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse. The acid in the apple cider could help kill the bacteria in your mouth and help cure your canker sore. Simply mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and use it as a mouth rinse.
- Take Vitamin B12 Supplements. Aside from the benefit of Vitamin B-12 for the normal function of the brain and the creation of red blood cells, this vitamin can also help with your canker sore. Taking this supplement can help reduce the amount of pain. Regular intake can reduce the occurrence of canker sores in a month.
- Take Zinc Supplements. Although there is no exact cause of canker sores, one factor that may cause these ulcers is zinc If you suffer from canker sores often, you might be lacking in this vitamin.
There is also a zinc lozenge that you can take. Consult with your doctor or dentist before taking zinc lozenge. Coldeeze lozenges can also help prevent them.
- Use Topical Products. You can use over-the-counter gel or paste to be applied directly on the canker sore. The product can numb the pain and prevent the ulcer from being irritated by spicy or acidic foods.
- Use Milk of Magnesia. Milk of magnesia contains a laxative and an acid neutralizer called magnesium hydroxide. Because it’s an acid neutralizer, it may change the pH levels in your mouth and kill the bacteria causing ulcers.
To use, apply milk of magnesia directly on your canker sore. Let it sit for a few seconds before rinsing. You may use it up to three times a day until your sores are gone.
- Drinking Chamomile Tea with Honey. Honey has antiseptic properties and may be applied directly on the ulcer to ease discomfort. Combined with chamomile tea, which also has anti-inflammatory properties, they will help your canker sores heal faster. Make sure to cool down the tea before drinking.
- Avoid Salty, Spicy and Acidic Foods. Canker sores can make eating difficult. To reduce the discomfort, avoid foods that may irritate them further. Irritation and infection may lead to a longer healing time. Hot drinks and food should be taken with caution as well.
- Use Ice to Numb the Mouth. To relieve pain and discomfort, you can numb your mouth with the use of ice. An ice cube can be applied directly on the ulcer. The cold will numb the sore and reduce irritation.
- Cayenne Paste. You should avoid eating spicy food when you have canker sores. Spicy food can irritate them and make them more painful. Cayenne pepper is an exemption to this. Cayenne contains capsaicin which inhibits the substance that causes inflammation. Capsaicin also prevents bacterial growth.
To use it to treat canker sores, make a paste with cayenne pepper and water. With the use of a cotton swab, apply the paste directly on the ulcer. To speed up the healing and reduce irritation, apply the paste 2 to 3 times a day.
- Eat Cultured Probiotic Yogurt. Probiotic yogurt is rich with good bacteria that helps with better digestion and better health of your mouth. Eat daily to help with the canker sore.
- Cover with Bandage or Patch. Some patches and bandages are specially designed for canker sores. They can stick to the inside of the mouth to help prevent the ulcer from irritation and infection.
- Use Aloe Vera. You may apply aloe vera gel directly on the ulcer. The properties from the aloe vera can help reduce inflammation, pain, and irritation
- Use Coconut Oil. Coconut oil has been found to contain antimicrobial abilities. By applying it on the canker sore, it will prevent the spread of bacteria and help to speed up healing. It is also known to anti-inflammatory properties that can ease irritation, inflammation, and pain.
- Take Oral Medications. Oral medications are your last resort and should be taken only when canker sores are severe or do not respond to topical treatments and common remedy. Visit your doctor or dentist to be prescribed with medicine.
Canker sores are common and aren’t cause for concern, but the health of your mouth is very important. These treatments will help reduce your discomfort and the time for the ulcers to heal. If you notice that your canker sores are not responding to treatment, visit your doctor or dentist for further advise.