How To Get Rid Of Canker Sores
Edmund Khoo, DDS, is board-certified in orthodontics. He teaches full-time as a clinical associate professor at his alma mater, New York University College of Dentistry, is a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, and serves on advisory boards for the American Dental Education Association.
Simple canker sores, also called aphthous ulcers, are among the most common ulcers in the mouth. They are usually small and shallow, and develop inside the mouth and at the base of the gums.
While they start off causing a tingling sensation, they can progress to become quite painful. Some people may hesitate to talk, eat, or drink because of the discomfort.
Home remedies and over-the-counter treatments may help reduce pain and speed the healing process. When that’s not enough, a prescription may be needed.
This article outlines some commonly used options and when you should contact your dentist.
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin
You Cannot Always Prevent Mouth Ulcers
Most single mouth ulcers are caused by things you can try to avoid, such as:
- biting the inside of your cheek
- badly fitting dentures, braces, rough fillings or a sharp tooth
- cuts or burns while eating or drinking for example, hard food or hot drinks
- a food intolerance or allergy
- damaging your gums with a toothbrush or irritating toothpaste
- feeling tired, stressed or anxious
Sometimes they’re triggered by things you cannot always control, such as:
- hormonal changes such as during pregnancy
- your genes some families get mouth ulcers more often
- a long-term condition such as inflammatory bowel disease , coeliac disease or Behçet’s disease
- a vitamin B12 or iron deficiency
- medicines including some NSAIDs, beta blockers or nicorandil
- stopping smoking people may develop mouth ulcers when they first stop smoking
Page last reviewed: 19 January 2021 Next review due: 19 January 2024
Rinse With Witch Hazel
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and steer clear of salty, spicy, acidic, hot, and crunchy to avoid irritating a mouth ulcer further.
Witch hazel contains tannins which give it astringent properties. This herb may ease inflammation too. All in all, a worthwhile combination to ease canker sores and relieve pain. Prepare a tea from the leaves or bark of witch hazel and use it as a mouthwash to combat mouth ulcers.11
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Check If It’s A Mouth Ulcer
Mouth ulcers are usually small, creamy-white and appear on the:
- inside of the mouth
These types of mouth ulcers are known as canker sores .
You may have more than one ulcer at a time and they can change in size.
Mouth ulcers are not contagious. But sometimes they are a symptom of a contagious illness.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Mouth Ulcer
Mouth ulcers are easy to spot. They usually appear as sores on your lips, gums, tongue, inner cheeks or roof of the mouth. While red around the edges, mouth ulcers are typically white, yellow or gray in the center. You may only develop one ulcer, or there might be more. Other symptoms could include:
- Swelling around the ulcer.
- Increased soreness when brushing your teeth.
- Pain that worsens when eating spicy, salty or sour foods.
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Treatment Of Mouth Ulcers
Mouth Ulcers do not need treatment as they go away with time. But if the ulcers are large and extremely painful please visit your dentist for treatment options:
- Rinse with salt water and baking soda
- Apply pain relief ointments like Orajel or Anbesol
- Apply ice to canker sores or use cold water
- Placing old tea bags on the sores
- Drink cool chamomile tea
- Milk of magnesia can also be a good option and is advised to place on Mouth Ulcers
Causes Of Mouth Sores And Inflammation
). Often the cause is unknown. In general, because the normal flow of saliva helps protect the lining of the mouth, any condition that decreases saliva production makes mouth sores more likely … read more ).
The most common specific causes of mouth sores are
Injury or irritating food or chemicals
Drugs and radiation therapy
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Does Applying Baking Soda Help With Mouth Ulcers
Applying baking soda directly on the canker sore can cause intense pain and burning in the area, so this is not recommended. However, baking soda can be of benefit if gargled, because it increases the pH of the saliva, which promotes healing. So instead of applying it directly on the canker sore, dilute one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water, gargle and rinse your mouth, 2 to 3 times per day.
Additionally, it is important to avoid mouthwash that has alcohol because this will also cause intense pain, and will irritate the oral mucosa even more. Spicy foods are also not recommended when you have canker sores. Try the five home remedies above to heal your canker sores quickly!
How To Relieve Mouth Ulcer Pain
Regardless of what caused the ulcer, there are a few simple remedies that will alleviate some of the pain they cause. The easiest is to create a numbing effect by holding a small piece of ice in your mouth, positioned over the sore. The cold will soothe some of the inflammation present in the ulcer and reduce the painful sensations Household products can be used to make mouthwash for ulcers A bicarbonate of soda mouthwash: to relieve your pain and reduce the risk of infection, mix one teaspoon of salt with one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 120 ml of water. Gargle with this solution 3 or 4 times a day Ice is an excellent way to help heal mouth ulcers. It acts as a sedative that helps relieve pain and also significantly reduces swelling. You just need to apply the ice cube directly to the affected area, pressing down gently until the ulcers cool down. You can use this remedy 3 to 4 times a day
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Canker Sores : What Can You Do If You Have A Canker Sore
Canker sores usually heal on their own within a few days. Gels, creams or mouthwashes can help to relieve the pain. In severe cases, steroid tablets may be considered.
Its not known why canker sores develop. Thats why the treatment focuses on the symptoms instead of the cause. It aims to relieve the acute symptoms and support the healing process.
How Do I Treat A Mouth Ulcer
Common mouth ulcers, known as aphthous ulcers or canker sores, can bother us all. Theyre normally only about 2-3mm in size but can be surprisingly painful. They occur when a patch of the surface lining of skin in the mouth disintegrates leaving a crater where pain sensors are more exposed, however knowledge about why they develop is limited.
Some ulcers happen when we accidently bite the inside of our cheek but others seem to appear from nowhere and keep on coming back. In some cases these recurrent ulcers could be linked to a genetic predisposition but it could also be that some overactivity of the immune system plays a part. There is also strong anecdotal evidence suggesting that for some people recurrent mouth ulcers are linked to stress.
So what can we do about them? Well there are various things we can try which can help alleviate the pain. These include over the counter treatments in the form of gels, mouthwashes and sprays containing ingredients like salicylate, lidocaine or benzadymine hydrocholoride which can help to reduce the soreness.
There are also a few home remedies which, its claimed, can provide similar relief. These include chilli, a counter-irritant that might help distract from the pain, and peppermint and eucalyptus which are natural pain killers, through stimulating the cold sensors. But while some people swear by them, these remedies havent been scientifically tested and if they cause further discomfort its best not to persist with them.
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Safe And Effective Home Remedies For Mouth Ulcer In Babies And Kids:
If your little one has a mouth ulcer, you can help relieve the pain with the help of these remedies. Unfortunately mouth ulcers can take up to 14 days or at times more to clear up. A really long time for something seemingly small right?
Honey has anti-microbial properties, so it helps to heal the ulcer faster. All you have to do is apply a bit of honey on the ulcer. The best part is that it tastes good too, so kids wont object.
But unfortunately, honey shouldnt be used for kids under 1. You can read why honey shouldnt be given to babies below 1 year.
#2. Honey and Turmeric
You know how your mom would reach out for the turmeric if she ever cut herself in the kitchen?
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial properties that expedites the process of healing. A paste of turmeric and honey can not only help relieve the pain but only help the ulcer heal faster.
Just like moms, this one is quite a multi tasker. Why so? You can use various forms of this to help deal with mouth ulcers.
Oil, water or milk all three can be used in the treatment of mouth ulcers at home.
Give coconut water to your baby or kids. The coconut milk when gargled gives immense results in soothing the mouth ulcers in older kids. In toddlers the coconut oil can be dabbed on the ulcer. Virgin coconut oil is proven to be the best remedy for mouth ulcers in babies above 6 months. However moderation is the key.
#4. Ghee or Clarified Butter
Video: Mouth Ulcers: Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment
16 Most Effective Natural Home Remedies For A Stomach Ulcer Pain Relief Gastric ulcer is treated with antibiotics and drugs to reduce and block stomach acid. In addition to this proven treatment plan, many studies have shown that there are also a number of helpful natural home remedies for a stomach ulcer pain relief Different Treatments For Chronic Pain Chronic Back Pain As A Disability How To Enjoy Chronic Pain. Fast Pain Relief From Mouth Ulcers Pain Ans Inflammation Relief Neuroablative Techniques For Chronic Spinal Pain Humana Juice For Joint Pain Relief. Gsr 2 For Pain Relief Dry Skin Pain Relief Winter Best Kratom For Pain Relief And Sleep Rinse the mouth with warm saline water to kill bacteria left with food residue. If dentures causes ulcers to the gum, apply mouth ulcer gel to reduce the pain and inflammation. Most of the time, gum sore is caused by ill-fitting or newly-given dentures
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Drinking Chamomile Tea With Honey
Historically, people have used chamomile and honey for a variety of health reasons. Some anecdotal evidence supports their use in helping people reduce pain and inflammation due to canker sores.
At the moment, there is limited scientific evidence of their benefits in treating ulcers, so people should not use them in place of medication. However, if these remedies improve symptoms on an individual basis, they are safe to continue using.
Chamomile may have anti-inflammatory properties . A person can use chamomile as a canker sore remedy by brewing a strong chamomile tea and using it to rinse the mouth after cooling. They can also soak a chamomile tea bag in warm water and apply this directly to the ulcer.
Honey may also have . A person can apply honey directly to a canker sore, and they may wish to combine it with chamomile in a tea.
When To See A Dentist
If you have a canker sore that doesn’t respond to home remedies or OTC treatment, it may be time to seek additional help and get a prescription.
- A canker sore last for 14 days or longer
- A sore that seems to be getting worse
- A canker sore that grows in size or is unusually large
- Frequent outbreaks of canker sores
- Extreme pain that you can’t control at home
- Sores on the lips
Early evaluation can not only help you ease your canker sore discomfort sooner, but it can help catch a budding infection, if present.
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How To Get Rid Of Mouth Ulcers
Mouth ulcers normally clear up on their own within a week or so. If theyre bothering you, you can try one of the following methods which can help to speed up healing or can help to stop them coming back:
While most mouth ulcers are harmless, if youre worried, if they last for more than three weeks, keep coming back or if they get worse, becoming more painful and red you should seek medical advice.
What Is The Treatment For Mouth Ulcers
Most mouth ulcers get better on their own within 1 to 2 weeks. Until your ulcer heals:
- use a soft toothbrush to reduce further damage
- rinse your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash
- avoid foods that make the pain worse, such as spicy or acidic food
- choose softer foods that are less likely to make the ulcer feel worse
- use a straw to drink cool liquids so they dont touch ulcers in the front of your mouth
- take paracetamol for pain relief.
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What Foods Should You Avoid Or Eat
During the phase of acute inflammation, it’s helpful to avoid certain foods that can irritate the inflamed mucous membranes even more such as crispy or hard foods like bread rolls or crispbread . Very acidic, spicy or salty foods can also be unpleasant, as can fizzy drinks or alcohol. But you should still make sure that you dont eat too much of the same thing, or too little overall. Eating soups and soft foods can help to protect the mucous membranes. It’s also a good idea to let any food that you cook cool off enough or to eat cold meals.
If you think that certain foods or oral hygiene products are encouraging the development of canker sores, then try avoiding them. But there’s a lack of good research on whether a certain diet can delay the formation of new canker sores.
When To See Your Pharmacist Dentist Or Gp
Mouth ulcers can be painful. They can make it uncomfortable to eat, drink or brush your teeth.
It’s usually safe to treat mouth ulcers at home. You can buy several types of mouth ulcer treatment from a pharmacy.
Speak to your pharmacist about the best treatment for you or your child.
See your GP or dentist if:
- your mouth ulcer has lasted three weeks
- you keep getting mouth ulcers
- your mouth ulcer becomes more painful or red this could be a sign of a bacterial infection, which may need treatment with antibiotics
Mouth ulcers are also a possible symptom of a viral infection that mainly affects young children, called hand, foot and mouth disease.
Speak to your GP or call GP out of hours service if you’re unsure.
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When To Seek Treatment For Mouth Ulcers
If ulcers are interfering with your normal daily activities, or have persisted for 2 weeks, see your dentist or an oral medicine specialist.
In some cases, you may need blood tests if its suspected that you have an underlying deficiency or an inflammatory condition.
If your oral health professional cant determine the cause of your mouth ulcers, or if the ulcers dont respond to the normal treatments, you may need to have a biopsy of part of the ulcer and some of the surrounding tissue. A biopsy is a procedure where a tissue sample is taken for examination and diagnosis.
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Treatment For Mouth Ulcers
Most mouth ulcers are usually harmless and resolve by themselves within 10 to 14 days. Other types of mouth ulcers, such as the aphthous variety or those caused by herpes simplex infection, need topical treatment .
Its not possible to speed up the recovery of ulcers, but the symptoms can be managed and the risk of complications reduced.
Treatment options for mouth ulcers include:
- Avoid spicy and sour foods until the ulcers heal.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Keep your mouth clean.
- Apply antiseptic gel to the ulcers.
- Regularly rinse your mouth out with warm, slightly salted water, keeping the rinse in your mouth for up to 4 minutes at a time.
- Use an alcohol-free medicated mouthwash twice daily.
- Use a topical alcohol-free steroid mouthwash or ointment this is generally prescribed by your dentist or oral medicine specialist.
- If required in severe cases, immunosuppressant medication may be prescribed by your oral health professional.