Canker sores are the most common mouth ulcers. The sores can be irritating and uncomfortable. However, there are a few home remedies that you can try to help you ease your discomfort and manage the sore before it spreads. In this article, we will discuss what canker sores are and how best to soothe them.
What Is a Canker Sore?
Canker sores or aphthous ulcers are tiny yellow or white ulcers that form inside your mouth. Sore develops around the soft tissue inside your mouth, lips, cheeks, and tongue.
A canker sore lasts about a week or two before it disappears and might not require any medical attention. However, if your sore continues to grow or lasts for more than two weeks, you should schedule an appointment with your orthodontist.
Common signs of a canker sore include:
- Having a burning or tingling sensation around the sore.
- Small yellow or white oval sores with a reddish or brown edge inside your mouth.
- Thirdly, a painful sore or sores might appear alone or a cluster around soft tissues on your tongue, the cheek, or under your lip.
Other uncommon symptoms include fatigue, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.
What Causes Canker Sores?
There are a few factors that experts believe cause canker sores. They include:
- Bacterial and viral infections
- Mouth injury
- Food allergies
- Mineral and vitamin deficiency
Difference Between a Canker Sore and Cold Sore
Most people might confuse a canker sore with a cold sore, but they are not the same.
Canker sores are small ulcers that are shallow and develop on the inside of the mouth. Likewise, canker ulcers are not contagious and cannot be passed around.
On the other hand, cold sores or fever blisters are caused by a viral infection and are highly contagious. The group of blisters forms on the outside of your mouth, around the lip, under the nose, or chin. The blisters fill up with fluid causing a tingling or burning sensation.
What Are the Home Remedies to Cure Canker Sores?
Oral hygiene is crucial to managing or soothing your canker sore. You should not substitute your daily oral routine for other treatments unless your dentist advises you. Always brush your teeth twice a day, and remember to floss.
That said, there are a couple of remedies to ease the pain from your sore. Your options include:
Rinse with warm saltwater
Saltwater is a good way of promoting oral health and healing. By rinsing your mouth with the salt solution, you cleanse unwanted bacteria from your mouth that might cause inflammation and swelling. However, it is essential to note that salt solution should not replace your mouthwash.
Secondly, over-the-counter (OTC) mouthwash is another option you should try. Mouthwashes have antiseptic properties that help kill germs and bacteria in your mouth and prevent the spread of infection.
Likewise, deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) mouthwash has an anti-inflammatory property that reduces swelling and inflammation caused by the sore, providing relief from the pain.
Rinse with baking soda
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) reduces acidity in the mouth. High acidic levels in your mouth make it easier for bacteria to grow. By rinsing with baking soda, you help prevent the growth and spread of bacteria, which can lead to infections. In addition, the newly attained low acidic levels promote faster healing and healthy gums.
Drink chamomile tea
Few people know that chamomile is good for oral health. Chamomile has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, ideal for soothing your canker sore.
Drinking two or three cups of chamomile tea will help reduce swelling caused by the ulcer and also kill bacteria that can cause an infection.
Apple cider vinegar
If you have apple cider vinegar in the house, you have an added option to relieve canker sore pains. Apple cider vinegar is well known for its anti-bacterial properties that help prevent oral infections.
You can use a cotton swab dipped in vinegar to gently clean the ulcer, or add a spoon full of vinegar to a glass of water and use it to rinse your mouth. However, frequent use of vinegar can wear out your enamel, so you should not overuse it.
Use aloe vera
You can also use an organic aloe vera gel for its anti-inflammatory properties. Applying a little aloe gel to your ulcer will help reduce the swelling and the tingling or burning sensation.
Take nutritional supplements
As we learned earlier, mineral and vitamin deficiency can lead to weakened immunity, increasing your chances of getting a canker sore. Zinc supplements are an excellent way to boost your body’s immunity and help fight off bacteria in your mouth. Likewise, the supplements will also speed up your healing time if you have an ulcer.
Avoid certain foods
We all know that your diet plays a huge role in determining your oral health. You should avoid salty or spicy foods and acidic drinks if you have a canker sore. These foods irritate your ulcer and increase the time needed for healing.
Likewise, you should avoid tough food, which might cut or scratch your gums. Any scratches to your gum cause more irritation and increase the chances of bacteria getting into the wound, leading to further infections.
Using milk of magnesia
Milk of magnesia is a liquid magnesium hydroxide suspension used to reduce the high level of acidity. Rinsing your mouth with the suspension helps reduce the growth of bacteria in your mouth, preventing infections. You can also use a cotton swab dipped into the milk of magnesia to gently clean the canker sore.
Applying a cold press
Cold presses are an excellent way to relieve canker sore discomfort. The press will numb the area as well as reduce swelling caused by the ulcer.
Canker sores can be painful and irritating. However, you have a few workable options to help you improve your oral health and make the pain bearable. Always consult your dentist if your sore does not heal after one to two weeks or if you have any questions about your oral health.