Canker sores are small in size, but they can become quite painful. These small ulcers appear on the inside of your mouth and can make everyday activities like eating or talking unbearable. Often appearing at any time and for no apparent reason, canker sores typically go away on their own with time.
If waiting it out seems like an intolerable task, here are a few home remedies and treatments for how to heal canker sores naturally and as swiftly as possible.
What Is a Canker Sore?
Canker sores have the appearance of small white or yellow-shaped ulcers that can develop on the tongue, gums, or inside of the cheeks and lips. This type of mouth sore is typically accompanied by a burning or tingling sensation on and around the ulcer. Consuming certain foods, like citrus and acidic fruits, can increase pain or discomfort. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious and will only develop inside the mouth.
Typical symptoms include:
- A small yellow or white round ulcer(s) in the mouth
- Stinging or tingling sensation in your mouth
- The ulcer has a red rim around it
- Feeling sick
- Swollen lymph nodes
Common Canker Sore Triggers
As previously mentioned, canker sores can pop up at any time. However, a few things that are thought to trigger canker sores are:
- Toothpaste or oral rinses containing sodium lauryl sulfate
- A diet lacking zinc, iron, folic acid, or vitamin B-12
- Injuries caused by dental work
- Braces or ill-fitting dentures
- Biting your tongue or cheeks
- Allergic reactions to bacteria
- Hormonal changes
- Stress and anxiety
- Quitting smoking
- Food hypersensitivity (common culprits include citrus fruits, eggs, nuts, cheese, chocolate, and spicy foods)
Home Remedies and Pain Relief
Pain and discomfort from canker sores typically last one to two weeks. Effective home remedies can be useful in finding relief from associated pain and discomfort.
Over-the-Counter Gels - Over-the-counter pain medication can alleviate this type of discomfort while the sore heals.
Antiseptic Mouthwash - Using an antiseptic mouthwash can help to kill lingering bacteria while promoting healing.
Salt Rinse - Utilizing a warm salt water rinse can shorten the healing process while also providing relief.
Hydrogen Peroxide - Rinsing your mouth with hydrogen peroxide can help to promote healing while reducing discomfort.
Baking Soda - Baking soda may help reduce inflammation by balancing your pH.
Alum Powder - Alum powder has astringent properties that can shrink and dry out canker sores.
Yogurt - The live probiotic cultures in yogurt can combat H. pylori bacteria and IBS, which can trigger canker sores.
Honey - Applying honey to a canker sore can ease pain and reduce its size due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Coconut Oil - Research has shown that coconut oil has antimicrobial abilities. That means it can stop bacteria in its tracks and can keep a sore from becoming infected. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce redness and pain.
Determine the Cause To Prevent Recurrences
One can do several things to prevent the recurrence of canker sores in the future.
Avoid Trigger Foods
The easiest step is to avoid eating foods that have proven to irritate your mouth. Foods that are spicy or high in acidity can both trigger canker sores.
Improve Your Oral Hygiene Habits
Another easy way to prevent future canker sores is to brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush following meals. Hard-bristled toothbrushes can cause minor mouth traumas that go undetected until a canker sore reveals itself.
If your canker sores are appearing in times where you are stressed, consider incorporating stress-reducing techniques like yoga and meditation to reduce your chances of an outbreak.
If you’re unsure whether a mouth sore is harmless (but painful) or a sign of a more serious issue, contact your dentist. Any mouth sores that persist longer than two weeks should be examined. Always contact Elite Dental & Denture PC if you notice any changes in your mouth, including pain or abnormal mouth sores.