Canker sores, also known as mouth ulcer, are disruptions of oral mucosa that forms on the inside of the lips, cheeks and under the tongue. It has a yellow to white center with a defined red border. It is usually five millimeters in diameter and causes a burning sensation that gets worse with time. Canker sores or mouth ulcer are not contagious.
Canker sores are of two types- simple canker sore and complex canker sore. Simple canker sore affects people aged between 10 to 20 years and lasts for a week. Complex canker sore usually affects people who have had them before.
Causes of canker sores:
The exact cause of canker sore is unknown. Some common triggers include:
- Citric and acidic foods
- Poor diet
- Gluten intolerance
- Immune system problems
- Drugs, particularly for rheumatoid arthritis
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Celiac disease
- Bowel disorder
- Autoimmune diseases
- Minor injury in the mouth
Symptoms of canker sore:
- A painful sore inside the mouth
- A tingling or burning sensation in the mouth prior to the appearance of the sores
- Physical sluggishness
- Swollen lymph nodes
Canker sores are a short-lived misery. They usually heal within a week or two on its own. Yet, canker sores are a complete nuisance. Following the below mentioned home simple remedies can help you rid of canker sores and the discomfort associated with it.
1. Milk of magnesia:
Make a remedy by combining milk of magnesia with Benadryl. Milk of magnesia contains ingredients that coat the wet tissues of the mouth. Benadryl on the other hand, acts a topical anesthetic and antihistamine, reducing the inflammation. The antacid effect of both these ingredients will neutralize the acidic environment, killing the bacteria in the mouth. Apply the mixture on the canker sore using a cotton swab. Do not swallow the mixture as it could end up numbing the reflex that keeps the windpipe closed.
2. Aloe vera:
Aloe vera has some excellent curative powers. The antibacterial properties of aloe Vera can effectively reduce the pain and discomfort associated with a canker sore. Applying aloe vera gel directly on the canker sore can also help reduce the pain and dissolve the canker sore.
3. Hydrogen peroxide;
Hydrogen peroxide is antiseptic in nature. It reduces the amount of bacteria in the mouth, helping you treat canker sore. Combine 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of making soda and 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide. Mix well and rinse the mouth with it four times daily. If you find the taste too strong, dilute it with 2 ounces of water. Alternatively, pour a little hydrogen peroxide in a plastic soda cap and dilute with an equal amount of water. Dip a cotton swab and dab it on the canker sore. Repeat this method several times a day. Make sure you do not swallow the hydrogen peroxide. Do not use hydrogen peroxide for more than 2 days a week as repeated use can prolong the ulcer due to the presence of chemicals in it.
Besides being used as a turkey and chicken filling, sage can also help to calm canker sore. Its calming properties instantly relieve the pain associated with canker sores. Add 3 teaspoons of sage leaves to one pint of water. Simmer for about 10 minutes and leave it aside to cool. Rinse your mouth with it several times a day. Rubbing sage leaves or powder directly on the sore can also help. You will get relief in just a matter of a few days.
Ice will not cure the canker, but will make the patient feel better. You can also stop the canker sores from developing if you start applying ice regularly. It also soothes the pain and reduces inflammation. Apply some ice on the sore or rinse your mouth with ice-cold water.
A dose of aspirin can help relieve pain that accompanies canker sore. Aspirin should not be given to children. In addition, pregnant women should consult their doctor before taking aspirin and other painkillers.
7. Baking soda:
Baking soda is one of the most popular remedies for treating canker sore. Make a paste using baking soda and water and cover the canker sore with it. Alternatively, add some baking soda to warm water and rinse your mouth with it 3 times a day.
8. Salt-water solution:
Mix a teaspoon of salt with one cup of warm water. Stir the solution so that the salt crystals dissolve completely. Rinse with it several times a day to disinfect the mouth and relieve the pain inflicted by the sore throat. You can also place a pinch of salt directly on the canker sore. This might be painful, but will definitely speed up the healing process.
A goldenseal mouth rinse can effectively treat canker sore. Take one cup of warm water and add ½ teaspoon and 1 teaspoon of goldenseal powder toit. Rinse your mouth with this solution twice a day for beneficial results.
The soothing properties of honey can help relieve pain and inflammation caused due to canker sore. Turmeric, on the other hand is well known for its antiseptic properties. Mix 1 teaspoon of honey with 1/4th teaspoon of turmeric. Apply this smooth paste on the affected area. Leave it for 20 minutes. You can also apply just raw honey on the canker sore.
The anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of coriander can effectively treat canker sores. Boil 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds in a cup of water. Strain the solution and use it as a rinse several times a day.
12. Licorice root:
The medicinal properties of licorice root are very effective in treating canker sores. It contains glycyrrhizin, an anti-inflammatory substance that can calm and soothe the affected area. Boil one tablespoon of crushed licorice root in two cups of water for 30 minutes. Strain and use this solution as a mouth rinse. You can also apply licorice root extract to reduce the size of canker and speed up the healing process.
13. Tea bags:
Tea contains tannic acid, an astringent that can help to reduce the pain and inflammation related to the canker sore. After making the tea, put the wet green tea bag in the refrigerator for a few hours. Place the chilled tea bags gently over the canker sore for about 20 minutes. Repeat this several times a day until the canker sore is gone.
The sulfur compounds in onion kill the canker sores causing bacteria effectively. Press a small piece of raw onion against the canker sore. Hold for about 10 minutes, so that its juice gets completely absorbed into the sore. Then wash it off with cold water. It might sting initially, but the sensation will subside soon. Do this for three to four times a day. You can also apply fresh onion juice on it.
Myrrh contains tannins, which can curb the growth of germs in the mouth. Add 200 mg of myrrh extract to warm water and wash your mouth with it thrice daily.
- A diet can have a major impact on the canker sore. Increase your vitamins and minerals intake. Lack of B complex vitamin, folic acid, and iron can lead to canker sore. Take vitamin and multiple supplements every morning. L-lysine supplements contain essential amino acids that aid tissue growth and repair. This will reduce the occurrence and expansion of canker sores.
- Drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins and help the body heal itself. Water will also release the water-soluble vitamins in the body, preventing canker sores.
- Brush your teeth gently using a soft toothbrush and gentle toothpaste without any foaming agents. Do not forget to floss daily.
- Do not use toothpaste and mouthwash that contain sodium lauryl sulfate as it can aggravate the condition. Use natural and herbal toothpaste instead.
- Keep stress at bay. Just like acne and eczema, canker sore is also exacerbated by an intense emotional stress.
- Alcohol and cigarette smoking can irritate a canker sore, so abstain from them.
- Do not pick the canker sore, as it will worsen the condition.
- Chew slowly as people often get canker sore by accidentally biting the inside of the cheek or lip while chewing.
- Ill-fitting dentures are also responsible for canker sore throat. Talk to your dentist to get it properly fixed.
- Do not play around the canker sore with your tongue as this can prolong the healing process.
- Stay away from hot and spicy food. They will burn and sting the canker sore badly. Scratchy and rough foods can also worsen the situation.
Visit the doctor:
- If the sores are large and painful
- If the sore is unusually large and spreading
- If the sore lasts more than 3 weeks
- If the sore is accompanied by intolerable pain and fever
- If you face difficulty in drinking fluids
- if you are suffering from frequent sores and none of the fixes is working.