Getting Rid of Canker Sores
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Table of Contents
- Home Remedies
- Seeing a Doctor for a Canker Sore
Canker sores are a minor medical condition that many people experience at some point in their lives. These sores are also known as mouth ulcers, or aphthous ulcers. They form on the mucous membrane inside and around the mouth, often on the gums and inside the lips.
These ulcers usually don’t bleed unless they are aggravated (by a toothbrush, a Q-Tip or a finger), and they are not contagious. They are, however, painful.
You can expect several days of discomfort while eating and drinking as a canker sore runs its course, which is usually five to 15 days. There’s no exact cause of the ulcers, although research indicates several possible contributing factors. Such as:
- Viral infections
- Mouth injuries, including ones during dental work
- Brushing your teeth too hard
- Biting your tongue or cheeks
- Emotional stress
- A poor diet
- Hormonal changes
- Food allergies
- Genetics (family history)
Most of the medicinal activities surrounding canker sores is about how to mitigate the irritation and pain they cause so that it doesn’t make eating, drinking, swallowing or talking difficult. Treatments you can initiate on your own without having to see a doctor or dentist include mouthwashes, mouth rinses, topical gels and alum powder.
Saltwater Mouth Rinses
Salt water is a basic home remedy for anything inside your mouth that is sore, including a sore throat from a cold. The same is true for a cold sore or canker sore.
You can use regular table salt, sea salt or kosher salt. Mix a teaspoon or less in a cup of lukewarm water (salt dissolves quicker in warm water than in cold water) and then rinse or gargle with the water.
Do not swallow the saltwater because it can make you vomit.
Milk of Magnesia
Chamomile and Echinacea
Should You See a Doctor For a Canker Sore
Canker sores tend to go away on their own. Yet, there are times where it's best to contact your dentist immediately. If the following things occur while trying to treat canker sores, it is best to talk to your dentist:
- Sores don’t heal within two weeks
- Severe inflammation continues despite treatment
- Continuous canker sores occurring more than three times a year
- A fever
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Other symptoms such as skin rashes
If you have any questions about canker sores, it is always best to consult your dentist. They will be happy to help you take care of your teeth, mouth and gums.
Canker sores (mouth ulcers): Overview. (August 2019). National Center for Biotechnical Information. Date fetched: August 1, 2021.
Canker Sore. (July 2021). U.S. National Library of Medicine. Date fetched: August 1, 2021.
What’s the Deal with Canker Sores? (August 2016). Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry. Date fetched: August 1, 2021.
Effect of Herbal Echinacea on Recurrent Minor Oral Aphthous Ulcer (August 2018). National Center for Biotechnical Information. Date fetched: August 1, 2021.
Anti-inflammatory and in-vitro antibacterial activities of Traditional Chinese Medicine Formula Qingdaisan. (December 2016). National Center for Biotechnical Information. Date fetched: August 1, 2021.