Canker Sores: Best Home Remedies and How to Prevent it

Canker sores are usually small but its big on pain. If you have a canker sore it will most likely become a history in a couple of weeks time. But, to go through the pain and irritation caused by it during that time span can become really stressful. Don’t worry luckily there are ways through which you can speed up the healing process and also there are ways to bring down the pain caused by it.

Why do we have canker sores?

Canker sores are called by different names such as mouth ulcer and as recurrent aphthous stomatitis medically. They usually occur inside your mouth in places near the lips, cheeks, gums, and around the tongue. It appears yellowish or white, in its initial stage, it will appear reddish. Size of a canker sore is usually small around 1 to 3 mm wide, but in some cases, it can appear quite big as well. There is no conclusive study on mouth ulcers that point to a particular reason for its occurrence. However, many researchers believe it has something to do with our immune system. Most people have canker sores when they are stressful or when they consume a certain type of foods (Mostly deep fried and oily foods).

Coat the sore

There are many ways through which you can coat the sore with a thin lining to reduce the pain and speed up the healing process and these are some ways recommended by Doctors.

  • Over the counter gels like Zilactin-B Canker Sore Gel and Colgate Orabase Soothe-N-seal can be used over the affected area to form a protecting lining over it. These gels have a long-lasting effect and very effective in reducing your pain. So you can use it before heading to work and before going to sleep at nights.
  • Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) tablets have a form of licorice that forms a protective layer over canker sores. Chew one or two 200 milligram tablets whenever you feel pain.
  • Aloe vera gel is also quite effective in sealing mouth ulcers, squeeze in some gel from aloe-vera leaf and use a cotton swab to dab some gel in place. If you do not have access to aloe-vera leaves then you can use 100 percent organic gel from the stores.
  • Vitamin-E is found to have healing and pain-relieving properties over canker sores. Cut open a Vitamin-E capsule and dab some of the liquid inside it over the sore.

Neutralize the painful acids

That stingy and painful feeling you get when you have canker sores is due to the presence of acids and digestive enzymes in the sores that is penetrating into tissues. You can neutralize this acid concentration through following methods and soothe your pain.

  • Pepto-Bismol, Tums, or Rolaids tablets will neutralize the acids present in your mouth. So chew any of these tablets and let it completely melt in your mouth. This will not only relieve your pain, it will also speed up the healing process. As for the dosage, follow the instructions given on the label.
  • Milk of magnesia can be used as a mouth rinse or it can be directly applied to the sores three to four times a day.
  • Place a damp tea bag over the sores for 3 to 5 minutes. Tea leaves are alkaline in nature so it neutralizes any acid present in the sore areas. You can use a warm damp tea bag to make it more effective.

Numb down the sores

Anbesol or Orajel is very effective in bringing down the pain and to make the sores feel numb. Dab on a little portion over the sores using a cotton swab.

You can chew on to pain-relieving lozenge like Chloraseptic to get a similar result.

When to seek Doctor’s Help?

If the pain gets to a level where it interferes and spoils your daily routine like eating, drinking, and speaking then its time you should consult a Dentist. Your canker sores or mouth ulcers might need Doctor’s attention when there is an outbreak of more than four sores at a time, when it doesn’t heal itself for several weeks, and when you get canker sores more frequently. Remember a Dentist can help you better with regards to this condition.

Keep the Bacterias at Bay

Sores can become a prime zone for bacterial infections, which can make it more painful and complicated. So here are some simple ways to prevent bacterial attacks.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse: Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant so it protects the canker sores from bacterial infections. Mix 60ml of hydrogen peroxide solution with 60ml of water, add one teaspoon of salt, and one teaspoon of baking soda, mix well and ensure all the salt has dissolved. Swish this solution in your mouth for 30 seconds and spit it out.
  • Goldenseal: This is a natural herb known for its anti-bacterial properties. Goldenseal Herb liquid is available in most drug stores. Just apply some liquid directly to the sores three to four times a day. Else, apply it one hour prior to your regular meals.
  • Tea-tree oil: Apply one or two drops of tea-tree oil directly to the sores multiple times a day or whenever it feels painful and stingy.
  • Calendula: Calendula has been traditionally used to treat mouth ulcers. Prepare some calendula tea by adding one or two teaspoons of calendula powder to a cup of water. Boil this water for 10 to 15 minutes and strain out the leaves. You can either drink this tea while letting it sit over the sore areas for few seconds or swish the tea around your mouth for few seconds before spitting it out.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt is a probiotic it contains good bacterias that help to prevent mouth ulcers or canker sores and also aids with faster healing of the sores. Always purchase a yogurt that live contains acidophilus (check the label) for best results. Include it in your regular diet every day.

Extra Measures

  • Lysine: Many researchers believe that canker sores occur due to a certain nutrient deficiency which can be cured by lysine, an amino acid. Have 500 milligrams of lysine supplement three times a day on an empty stomach. You can stop taking it after the sores have healed completely.
  • Echinacea: This traditional herb will help to strengthen your immune system and fights inflammation. So it effectively prevents sores. Whenever you notice a possible outbreak of a canker sore, take a 200 milligrams capsule three times a day after meals.
  • Vitamin-C is known to heal your mouth’s mucous membranes. So it will speed up the healing process. Natural source of Vitamin-C is citrus fruits. But taking citrus fruits while having sores can make it more painful. Instead, you can take it in supplement form. Doctors recommend taking 500 milligrams of Vitamin-C tablets three times a day usually after meals.
  • Zinc is an active nutrient that is found all over our body, it is very vital for proper functioning of our immune system and it is also known for its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. So it helps to stop canker sores in its path. Whenever you notice a possibility of an occurrence chew on to some zinc lozenges every day until the signs disappear.

How to Prevent it?

  • Many research has revealed that certain foods can potentially trigger a canker sore. This includes figs, citrus fruits, chocolates, oily foods, deep fried foods, green peppers, hot and spicy foods, chocolates, and strawberries. So have these food items in moderation. If you have canker sores more frequently, then avoid these food items completely for few days and check if it helps. Also, avoid these foods when you have a sore.
  • Some Doctors believe Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) present in certain toothpastes are the reason for mouth ulcers in some patients. This chemical is usually added to pastes as a foaming agent and it has no other use apart from it. So try to use SLS free toothpaste. You can even try herbal toothpaste for a change.
  • Sometimes accidental bites, tiny cuts, and scrapes that occur inside your mouth can lead to canker sores. So eat slowly and be mindful while chewing your foods.
  • Make use of toothbrush that has soft bristles. Hard bristled brush can damage your gums and internal tissues of your mouth which can lead to sores. Look for the mentioning has soft on the label.
  • If you wear dentures then make use of the one that fits your mouth perfectly, if possible get the one that is custom designed specifically for you. Bad-fitting dentures can damage the soft tissues inside your mouth which will lead to irritation and sores.
  • There is a popular belief that canker sores are caused due to deficiency of certain nutrients. So have a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients. If you are not sure try taking Vitamin-B complex and multivitamin supplements. Check the label for dosage information.
  • Stress is often associated with canker sores breakout. If you have a stressful routine daily, then try to practice Yoga, meditation, pranayama, and other stress-busting exercises to keep yourself more balanced mentally.

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