Canker sore is medically referred to as aphthous stomatitis. Canker sore occurs when ulcer develops on the mucous membrane in the mouth. It is also called mouth ulcer. It mostly appears as a small painful lesion with yellow, gray or white center with red lines found on the base of the gum, inside the cheek or lips, throat, upper part of the mouth or on the tongue. Pain caused by mouth ulcer can make talking and eating difficult.
Canker sores can infect anyone, but women are prone to develop canker sore than men. Canker sores are not transmittable and should not be mistaken for fever blisters or cold sores. Symptoms of canker sores include pain, fever, inflamed lymph nodes, burning sensation and swelling.
Canker sores develop suddenly, especially when one is sick or stressed. Causes of canker sore is still unknown, but it can be triggered when one has a weak immune system, hormonal change in your body, use of wrong mouth care products, anemia, viral infections and allergies. Canker sores can be gotten rid of either naturally or by visiting your dentist or doctor.
Ways of getting rid of canker sores
1. Mouth wash: Use a mouth wash to rinse your mouth often. Mouth wash contains antiseptic properties which helps reduce bacteria in your mouth and help heal canker sore as well. It will also help ease pain inflicted by sores. You can use mouth wash both morning and night. Never swallow mouthwash.
2. Saline Rinse: Saline rinse is a very effective way of getting rid of canker sores and also for disinfecting your mouth. It also helps keep clean from bacteria which naturally reside in our mouth and prevent irritations.
A saline rinse can be gotten by mixing one or two teaspoonful of salt with warm water in a glass. Avoid using too much salt so you can retain water in your mouth for a while before spitting it out. In the absence of no salt, you can use a pinch of baking soda.
Keep saline rinse in your mouth, and swish left to right and spit solution out. Ensure you don’t swallow the rinse so as not to get easily dehydrated. This can be done few times daily, can be done before you sleep or after meal. After using saline rinse to wash the mouth, you can apply honey on it.
3. Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide and saline rinse have similar effect on canker sore, they both help in disinfecting the ulcer. It also contains antiseptic properties that cleans the mouth. Get 3% hydrogen peroxide and mix it in equal proportion with water, thereby making a 50/50 solution. Rinse your mouth with the solution or dip a cotton swab into the solution and directly apply on the sore and leave for few seconds. Make sure you don’t swallow the solution. Repeat twice daily, preferably morning and night.
4. Milk of Magnesia: Milk of magnesia will help balance the sour environment in your mouth, Apply milk of magnesia on sore after using hydrogen peroxide. You can repeat this at least three to four times daily.
5. Garlic: Garlic contains antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic properties, known as Allicin. Get a clove of garlic, take half from it then rub on the sore for a minute or two, and rinse with water after about one hour. This will help hasten healing process and also ease off the pain.
6. Baking Soda: This will help reduce alkalinity in your mouth. Mix baking soda with salt water, then apply on the sore. This will help decrease quantity of bacteria in your mouth. You can repeat three times daily.
7. Peppermint oil: Using a cotton swab dab peppermint oil on the sore and leave for fifteen minutes, and rinse your mouth. This will help hasten healing process, irritation and discomfort.
8. Yogurt: Yogurt is a probiotic also known as acidophilus, this can help stimulate body resistance. It helps balance amount of bacteria in your mouth, which if unbalanced will cause a canker sore or add to a canker sore. Make sure you get a plain yogurt that contain live cultures in it. Eat at least one tablespoonful three times daily.
9. Ice chips: They are one easy way to help numb the pain and also help reduce swelling. Put an ice chip in a cup and suck on the chips all through the day. Your tongue will help direct ice chips to where the mouth ulcer is located. Another alternative for ice chips method is to drink cold water, in absence of ice chips or if chips are too cold to endure.
10. Lemon: Divide lemon into two equal halves, and apply directly on the sore. It might hurt a little. You can add honey on sore. You can also mix a quarter teaspoonful of baking powder with freshly sliced lemon, squeeze juice in lemon into baking powder, and add one tablespoonful of cold water and half teaspoonful of honey. Mix together till mixture is even and consistent. Apply mixture directly on the ulcer. Repeat this twice daily, preferably morning and night. Ulcer should have disappeared within a week.
11. Pain relievers: Pain you feel from canker sores can be very bothersome. Adults can take aspirin to ease the pain or get an over-the counter pain reliever to help ease discomfort.
12. Turmeric paste: It can be applied directly on your sore, to act as a natural antiseptic and cooling agent. Turmeric paste can be made by mixing a tablespoonful of water with three tablespoon of turmeric in a small container or bowl. Mix properly till it forms paste, and apply directly on sore at least twice daily using a cotton swab. Let the paste stay a couple of minutes on the sore and then rinse your mouth.
13. Aloe Vera Rinse: Aloe Vera is known for its antibacterial, anti-fungal properties as well as its soothing effect. You can use aloe vera juice as a mouthwash. Get a fresh aloe vera leaf, extract the gel in it and mix with water, then swish mildly over the sore at least three times daily to help ease the pain and aid healing.
14. Pay your dentist a visit: If sore doesn’t heal up after three weeks, it’s time to pay your dentist a visit. Your dentist would be able to investigate to find out what exactly is causing canker sore to stay longer than expected, hence, proper treatment would be given on discovery.
15. Nutritional supplements: Canker sore can be triggered by lack of proper nutrients in your body. In such cases, your dentist can recommend some nutritional supplements to help get rid of this sores. Examples of such nutritional supplements include Vitamins such as Vitamins B12 and Vitamins B6, Zinc and Folic acid
Useful tips to prevent canker sore
1. Have nutritious meal: Stay away from spicy foods, nuts, chips and acidic foods such as grapefruits, pineapples and oranges food when you have canker sores as this will prolong healing process. Eat more of whole grains, lots of vegetables and fruits which will help prevent nutritional deficiency in the body which can lead to canker sores. Be sure to stay away from any food you are allergic or sensitive to.
2. Good Oral hygiene: Brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once daily would keep your mouth clean. This will help get rid of food hiding in corners of your mouth, teeth and gum which will prevent sore from evolving. Use a soft brush so as not to irritate your mouth and avoid toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
3. Avoid stress: Some people tend to develop canker sore when they are stressed out or under tension. If you fall in this category of people try exercises that help reduce stress such as relaxing, meditation or yoga.