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You are here:Home > Health Topics > *Canker Sores

Home Remedies for Canker Sores

Canker sore home remedies and relief can be easy. Just what are these recurring and annoying sores and how can you find a simple way to get rid of them?

Canker sores (apthous ulcer), form small to medium sized lesions 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, or inner surface of the lips.

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.

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

  • Poor fitting dentures or sharp broken tooth or filling

  • Hot food or drinks

  • Stress

  • 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.

    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

  • Read more
    Health Articles by Dr. Flora Stay
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