Canker sores are small, shallow ulcers that can develop at the base of the gums or on the cheeks. Also called aphthous ulcers, they are not to be confused with cold sores, as they never develop on the lips and are not contagious. However, this does not mean they can't be painful. Canker sores can also make simple tasks like talking and eating, difficult. A variety of factors can cause canker sores to develop, from eating spicy or acidic food to vitamin deficiencies, stress, hormones, autoimmune disorders, and injury to the mouth. Although most will go away on their own after a week or two, there are several easy treatments you can utilize to facilitate and speed up the healing process.
Mouth rinses are an easy way to alleviate the pain and discomfort canker sores cause. They are also an effective method for killing the bacteria that can grow and multiply inside them, causing further complications in the mouth. You can either buy mouthwash in a pharmacy or make one by yourself at home. Sage tea is commonly used as a mouthwash of sorts to treat canker sores at home. It hits at all of the problematic elements caused by canker sores, as it is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, and astringent. In some cases, your doctor may suggest a steroidal mouth rinse containing dexamethasone, which will reduce any inflammation, or lidocaine, which works to alleviate pain.
Keep reading now to reveal another treatment for canker sores.
Other remedies and treatment options individuals can purchase over-the-counter and applied at home include various topical agents, which can be in a paste, gel, or ointment, and work immediate wonders by decreasing inflammation, preventing infection, and, of course, relieving pain. Strong topical agents can also speed up the healing and recovery process. Usually, these products will contain the active ingredients benzocaine, fluocinonide, or hydrogen peroxide. When in doubt, ask a pharmacist or your doctor or dentist for a recommendation on which product is right for you.
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When the pain is severe or if several or recurring canker sores have plagued you, your doctor may recommend oral medications, which are meant to have strong anesthetic properties. Applied directly to the sore, they too work to relieve discomfort and pain while protecting the sore by preventing infection. Medications may also take the form of patches or covers, which are also applied directly onto the sore. In the most severe cases, a physician may also suggest a topical steroid or antibiotic, which are typically reserved for cases where the canker sore shows signs of redness, crusting, or the presence of infected pus.
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Salt Water And Baking Soda
Using salt water and baking soda is the ultimate home remedy for treating a painful canker sore. Baking soda is alkaline and has many uses for health and beauty. Because it neutralizes acids, it can remove the elements that further irritate an existing canker sore. Baking soda also helps to kill bacteria and help the mouth heal quickly. Salt can also be used, though prepare for a brief, mild stinging sensation. Create a rinse by combining a teaspoon of baking soda or salt with a half-cup of warm water. Swish it around in the mouth before spitting it out and rinsing the mouth with fresh water. You don't want any salt or baking soda debris to be left in the mouth, as it can build up and further irritate the sore.
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Applying ice is yet another easy (and free) way to treat a canker sore. You can use a solid cube, leaving it in your mouth to suck on or break a piece into chips. Either way, you need only to suck on the cube and keep it in your mouth for a few minutes before its anti-inflammatory, soothing effects kick in. While using ice in any form will not make the canker sore disappear, it will allow you to feel better and in less pain. Alternatively, if you don't have access to a freezer, you are welcome to use cold water, which will also work. Just remember to always swish it around in your mouth before spitting it out. The coldness of the solid or liquid slows down blood flow to the area, reducing swelling and pain.