Home Remedies for Canker Sores
Canker sores (apthous ulcer or aphthous stomatitis), form small to medium sized sores on the soft tissue of your mouth. They usually appear on areas that do not have bone under them, for example your cheek, on top or under your tongue, throat, or inner surface of the lips. Approximately 20% of the population are affected by canker sore, with women getting more than men.
They appear without warning and can even make eating and talking troublesome. Canker sores are not contagious. They usually last about 2 - 3 weeks and go away on their own. They usually appear by themselves or may be in a cluster.
Signs and Symptoms of Canker Sores
Canker sores can be painful and have ulcers that appear cratered. They appear with a red border and are usually white, gray or yellow in the middle.
You may feel tingling, burning or prickling depending on the stage of the sores. Speaking may not be an issue, except if there are multiple sores. You may find it hard to eat during the painful phase, specially if they are also present in the throat.
What Causes Canker Sores?
It's not clear what exactly causes canker sores. We do know there are several factors that may contribute to their outbreaks:
Trauma in your mouth from biting on hard, crunchy food; injury while brushing your teeth, biting your cheek
Food sensitivities, such as nuts, spicy or acidic foods, chocolate, strawberries, eggs
Weak immune system or autoimmune disorders due to certain illness such as inflammatory bowel diseases, Behcet's disease, fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, lupus erythematosus
Toothpaste and mouthwash containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
Braces that irritate the gums
Poor fitting dentures or sharp broken tooth or filling
Hot food or drinks
Hormonal changes may be the reason why they appear in women more than men
Treatment with Drugs
The risk of canker sores is that they may recur either rarely or frequently in your mouth. If they become large and very painful, your doctor or dentist may recommend certain drugs to help with the symptoms:
Mouthwash containing steroid dexamethasone to help with inflammation and soreness. Antibiotics such as tetracycline in liquid form may also be prescribed. However, tetracycline is known to stain teeth in children.
Over-the-counter and prescription pastes such as Orabase with benzocaine, Aphthasol (amlexanox) and Lidex (fluocinonide) may relieve pain and speed healing.
According to American Academy Physician, to apply medicine that needs to be applied directly to the sore, dry the sore with a cotton swab. Dab another cotton swab in the medicine and apply to canker sore. They recommend not eating or drinking for 30 minutes to allow the medicine to penetrate the sore and not be washed away.
Natural Remedies for Canker Sores
Canker sores generally last about 2 to 3 weeks, even without any care. The following are are some steps to help you during the process or to help prevent their recurrence:
Avoid any toothpaste or mouthwash with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
Avoid hot foods or drinks, spicy and salty foods, citrus, nuts, chocolate
Use baking soda toothpaste such as Cleure
Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 1 part water and apply with cotton swab
Take over-the-counter amino acid L-lysine daily (500 mg), or take 1000 mg during outbreaks
Apply ice to the lesion
Take supplement L-lysine 500 mg daily to prevent outbreaks. During outbreaks, take 1000 mg for rapid healing of the sores. L-lysine is very effective towards preventing both canker sores, and cold sores (caused by herpes simplex virus). (webMD)
More Oral Health Articles by Dr. Flora Stay
How the Mouth Affect's Women's Health
Gum Disease and Heart Disease
Toothpaste Ingredients to Avoid
Get Rid of Constant Bad Breath
Dry Mouth & Mouth Sores
Healthy Snacks for Healthy Teeth
How to Brush and Floss Your Teeth Properly