Contrary to popular belief, canker sores are different from cold ones. Even though both usually occur in the mouth, a specific bacterial infection isn’t contagious and doesn’t cause the cankers. It could be unsightly if they are on the lips or tongue, which causes most people to seek treatment for them.
Some minor injuries usually cause sores in the mouth, food sensitivities could contribute to them forming, or a diet shortage of minerals and vitamins. Other causes could include hormonal shifts in the body, emotional stress, or other factors that a doctor can identify.
Whatever the cause of these ulcers in the mouth, there are a few different options for treatments to try for relief from canker sores:
1. Medicated Mouthwash
Doctors can prescribe specific mouthwash treatments for canker sores, or some of them are available over the counter at the local pharmacy. Mouthwashes are the go-to treatments by doctors, but sometimes more is needed for stubborn canker sores, and they will combine various therapies.
The mouthwash solutions would usually be antibacterial to prevent infection and have a numbing component to assist the patient with pain relief. Without this, the patient could struggle to consume food and drink, causing long-term problems.
Ensure to follow the directions for use to speed up the healing of the canker sores. The healing process hinges on regular use of the treatments to maximize their effects.
2. Treatment Creams
Specific spot treatments like creams, lotions, gels, or other topical applications are often used with mouthwash, especially when the sore is large. Some need a prescription, but others are available at the pharmacy.
Some of these could have ingredients to guard against fungal infection, provide some numbing, reduce swelling, and use hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant. Because some components could interact with other substances, always consult a doctor or a pharmacist before using them.
3. Prescription Medication
Medications that a doctor will prescribe are an added measure of treatment that patients with stubborn canker sores can use. It usually comes in pill form that patients will take orally with food as directed by their healthcare professional.
Preparations can include colchicine used to treat gout or coating agents like Carafate, which usually treats stomach ulcers. Again, it is important to mention any other medications or treatments the patient currently uses so the doctor can check that the ingredients don’t clash.
4. Cauterizing The Sores
This technique uses instruments or chemicals to burn the affected skin at the site of the canker sore. These methods speed up recovery, and patients find relief much quicker than other treatments.
Cauterizing could be very painful if the area is not adequately numb, and the doctor performing it would recommend a numbing agent to apply a few minutes before the treatment. If patients are using the chemical option, they should ensure that they only apply the cream or gel to the affected area by using a clean earbud.
5. Vitamins And Minerals
Sores in and around the mouth could indicate that the person has some form of deficiency. Vitamins and minerals keep the body’s systems healthy, including the immune system that fights off infection and assists with wound healing.
The B vitamins contribute to skin health, specifically vitamins B5, B6, and B12. Minerals that help with the prevention of canker sores are iron and zinc, among others. A healthy, balanced diet containing all the vitamins needed could keep the sores at bay.
If the person has excessive stress or had an illness recently, their vitamin and mineral supply could need supplementation. Taking too many of these or misusing them could lead to other health problems, so speak to a doctor, pharmacist, or dietician before buying any supplements.
6. Home Remedies
Natural or ayurvedic options have been around for centuries. Many people have remedies for all kinds of ailments that the family passes down from generation to generation. Aloe vera is a prevalent plant among naturalists because of its multiple uses, including treating canker sores.
This bitter plant assists with healing and has antibacterial properties. Its sap is a gel-like substance inside the leaves that is extracted and applied directly to the sores around four times per day.
Unfortunately, not everyone will have access to aloe, so they can turn to regular household items to help. Making a mixture with around one teaspoon of salt or baking powder dissolved in half a cup of lukewarm water is an excellent rinse for canker sores.
Using a clean earbud, some people dab small amounts of milk of magnesia on the site where the sore is a few times a day. They say that it brings them relief and assists with the healing process.
Another famous favorite is sucking on ice, or more explicitly, keeping it over the sore until it melts. The coldness of the ice cube will take away some of the pain and inflammation in the area patients.
There are many more home remedies to try, but these are some of the more widely known and used methods. Research more options online, or ask a doctor or pharmacist for assistance in choosing the right one for you.
7. Treat Underlying Conditions
Some people may be predisposed to a diminished immune system due to other health concerns like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and bowel illnesses. Patients with chronic diseases are more prone to report canker sores to their primary care physician.
Treatments like those for cancer and patients using other immunosuppressant medication could cause canker sores to form, and doctors would advise patients of the probability thereof when prescribing these treatments. In these cases, the canker sores are treated symptomatically with any of the abovementioned methods.
The Final Words
Canker sores can form for many reasons, but they aren’t contagious or harmful if taken care of properly. Ensure to keep up with the regular mouth and teeth care routines to clean the mouth but add a treatment option from these listed here.
Patients should remember that there could be reasons for the sores to form that they are unaware of, so seeking medical assistance should always be the first stop before trying any remedies.