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Home Remedies to Relieve Canker Sores: 8 Guaranteed Tips

Remedios caseros para las úlceras bucales

Dr. Andreas

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Q.F. Nayibe Cubillos Morales

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Dr. Gustavo Assatourians D.D.S

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Naturally, here are some home remedies to relieve canker sores. Although generally not linked to severe health issues, these minor mouth sores can indeed be quite bothersome. Within this article, you’ll explore effective ways to eliminate canker sores.

 

Rinses for Canker Sores

canker sore

1. Sodium bicarbonate: stabilizes the pH of the mouth, thus reducing inflammation. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in ½ glass of water, rinse for 30 seconds, and then spit it out. Repeat the process 4 times a day.

2. Saltwater: although it can be a bit painful, treating ulcers with warm salt water has antimicrobial activity that promotes the healing of canker sores. Use a dilution of 1 tablespoon of salt in 1 glass of warm water and rinse for 1 minute, 3 times a day.

3. Hydrogen peroxide: helps promote the healing of canker sores thanks to its disinfectant action. Dilute ½ glass of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution in 1/2 glass of water, rinse for 1 minute, then spit out. Repeat 2 times a day.

4. Chamomile: is a natural remedy that works very well to relieve pain and help heal wounds. Rinse with freshly brewed chamomile tea, making sure it’s not too hot. Repeat this 4 times a day.

 

Other home remedies to relieve canker sores

canker sore

The following tips may also be helpful in managing canker sores:   

Honey: Placing honey on the ulcer 4 times a day promotes healing, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

• Coconut oil: Putting coconut oil on canker sores helps reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

• Ice: You can numb the affected area by placing ice before meals to reduce the pain of canker sores and make eating easier.

• Take care of your diet: Prefer soft foods with mild flavors and avoid crunchy, acidic, or spicy foods, as they could cause discomfort.

The Best Treatment for Canker Sores to Try at Home involves seeking assistance from a dentist if ulcers arise from trauma, like friction against dentures or braces. This ensures the device is polished or removed, facilitating the healing process. Neglecting this step may render rinses and home remedies ineffective.

 

Oral medications

In severe cases, and depending on the cause of the canker sores, doctors may resort to the use of certain medications such as corticosteroids or drugs for the treatment of gastric ulcers.

It is prudent to mention that this is always the last option, and oral medications are usually only prescribed when other treatments have been unsuccessful.

 

Nutritional supplements

home remedies to relieve canker sores

Recurrent oral thrush is often caused by nutrient deficiencies. Diet modifications or certain nutritional supplements may be necessary to reduce the occurrence of oral ulcers. Improving nutrient intake can also help heal canker sores.

• Zinc Supplements: Zinc helps the proper functioning of the immune system and is essential for proper wound healing. It is present in beef, pork, and lamb. It is also found in non-animal foods such as legumes, nuts, whole grains, and yeast.

• Vitamin B12: It is essential for the metabolism of proteins, the formation of red blood cells, and nerve regeneration. It is found naturally in animal products such as fish, meat and poultry, eggs, and dairy products. 

It is recommended that vegans or vegetarians consume these supplements to avoid health complications such as the frequent appearance of thrush.

The administration of these supplements must be supervised by a doctor since there are certain conditions that may contraindicate their use, such as concomitant use with other medications.

 

Lifestyle tips to prevent canker sores

Preventing ulcers is not an easy task, however, some tips can help reduce the risk of their appearance:

If your braces or dentures hurt some area of the mouth, tell your dentist to take the necessary measures.

Brush your teeth 3 times a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss.

Schedule dental checkups every 6 months.

Avoid smoking.

Consume a diet, that always includes fruits, vegetables, and protein.

If you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, consult your doctor to consider taking vitamin B12 supplements.

Stay hydrated.

Look for alternatives to manage stress – like meditation.

 

When to consult a doctor?

consult a doctor

Oral ulcers or canker sores usually go away without the need for treatment or medical intervention after a few days, but this is not always the case. It is advisable to seek dental care when:

It’s been 3 weeks and the ulcers don’t heal.

Canker sores measure more than 3 cm.

The ulcers do not hurt.

You have other symptoms, such as diarrhea or fever.

The ulcers are numerous.

Ulcers are caused by trauma such as sharp teeth, poorly fitting dentures, or appliances.

The pain is so strong and uncontrollable that it makes a good diet and hydration impossible.

Canker sores usually occur in isolation. However, when they are massive or recurrent, they may be related to a general health problem, so it is advisable to visit a doctor to treat the root problem.

It is also important to take into account that when massive ulcers occur in children, this prevents them from eating. A doctor should be consulted to assess the need to supply hydration and nutrients intravenously, thus preventing patient decompensation. 

Remember that the FDA does not recommend the use of topical anesthetics in children since their intake can cause side effects that could lead to death.

Frequently Asked Questions

To alleviate pain and accelerate healing, try these options: Rinse your mouth with either saltwater or a baking soda solution (mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 cup of warm water). Apply a small amount of milk of magnesia to your canker sore a few times a day.

The pain can intensify when consuming foods that further irritate the already inflamed lining of the mouth, such as bread crusts, acidic fruits, or spicy dishes. The movements of your mouth while chewing or speaking can also exacerbate the pain. Canker sores typically manifest as round, whitish spots on the lips or inside of the cheeks.

Pay attention to your diet. Try to steer clear of foods that appear to irritate your mouth. These might include nuts, chips, pretzels, certain spices, salty foods, and acidic fruits like pineapple, grapefruit, and oranges. Also, avoid any foods to which you have sensitivities or allergies.

Putting salt directly on a canker sore can exacerbate the pain and discomfort. Instead, create a saltwater solution and gently rinse your mouth with it. Mix a small amount of baking soda with water until it forms a thick paste, and then apply it to your canker sore(s). This should help alleviate the discomfort and promote healing.

Although not specifically marketed to treat canker sores, regular use of Listerine® (over-the-counter) and Peridex® or Periogard® (prescription chlorhexidine gluconate) may help reduce the pain associated with canker sores. However, it's important to note that these rinses often do not prevent their recurrence.

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References

1. Canker sore (aphthous ulcer): What it is, causes & treatment. (Sep 6, 2022). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10945-canker-sores

2. Afta. (Apr 3, 2018). Mayoclinic.org. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/es/diseases-conditions/canker-sore/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370620

3.Bonet, R., & Garrote, A. (2015). Canker sores. Professional Pharmacy, 29(1), 27–31. Retrieved from: https://www.elsevier.es/es-revista-farmacia-profesional-3-articulo-aftas-bucales-X0213932415727469

4.Kubala, J., MS, & RD. (Jun 7, 2018). Vitamin B Complex: Benefits, Side Effects, and Dosage. Retrieved from: Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/es/vitaminas-del-complejo-b

5.Mandal, A. (Jul 29, 2012). Treatment of canker sores. News-medical.net. Retrieved from: https://www.news-medical.net/health/Treatment-of-canker-sores.aspx

6.McDermott, A. (Jun 27, 2017). Ways to get rid of canker sores (aphthous ulcer). Retrieved from: Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/how-to-get-rid-of-canker-sores

7. Healthdirect Australia. (2022). Mouth sores and ulcers – causes and treatments. Retrieved from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/mouth-sores-and-ulcers

8. Liu, X., Zhang, W., Chen, Y., Rastogi, S., & Choudhury, R. (2023). Effectiveness of zinc supplementation on the incidence of oral mucositis during chemotherapy and radiation: A meta‑analysis. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 26(1), 347. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2023.12046

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