Do you suffer from mouth sores? Mouth sores, also called canker sores, can range from annoying to painful, and often you just want to get rid of them as soon as possible. These sores look like a small crater or ulcer on the inside of your lip or cheek or on your tongue. Mouth sores or canker sores are different then cold sores and are not contagious. They typically have a red border and a white or yellow colored center and they can make it very uncomfortable to talk or eat. Sometimes people may have more than one sore at a time, and they most typically plague women, teens and young adults. One of the most common question we are asked about is how to get rid of mouth sores! Here are some of our tips:
How To Get Rid of Mouth Sores
In order to understand how to get rid of mouth sores one must understand what causes these maladies. The exact cause of canker sores is unknown, but they tend to run in families so some people may be more genetically prone to the sores. These sores can develop when you have the following:
- Are tired or under a great deal of stress
- (For women) have your menstrual cycle
- Injure your mouth, typically by biting your tongue, cheek or lip
- Have braces
- Eat foods with high acidity such as citrus foods or tomatoes
- Have a food allergy
- Are lacking key vitamins or minerals such as iron, folic acid or vitamin B12
These sores can last from several days to three weeks. Major mouth sores can take up to six weeks to heal fully. It is best to check with an oral care professional if these sores don’t heal within this time frame as it may be a sign of something more serious. Usually these mouth sores will heal on their own, but there are a few home remedies to help speed up the process.
- Ice Chips: Use ice chips to reduce the swelling and numb the affected area. If you can, us your tongue to hold the ice directly against the affected area. Cold water can have a similar effect if ice is too cold to tolerate.
- Saline Rinse: Rinse your mouth with salt water to disinfect the sore. This will clean out any food particles and naturally occurring bacteria found in the mouth and help speed healing. Simply mix table salt and water, swirling the solution in your mouth and then spitting out the mixture. Do not drink the mixture as it can lead to dehydration.
- Mouthwash: Rinse your mouth regularly with mouthwash to disinfect and clean the area.
- Honey: Apply a little honey to the sore. Honey is antibacterial and antimicrobial and will help to keep bacteria in the mouth from exacerbating the sore. It is recommended to do this after cleaning your mouth with one of the previous tips.
- Try an over the counter numbing agent: This may not speed the healing process, but it will make the pain more manageable while the sore heals. These products can be found in most drug stores and are typically labeled for toothaches or infant teething relief, but will work for mouth sores as well.
If these methods don’t work, and the pain gets worse, be sure to get in contact with a dentist! We will examine the sore to ensure that it actually a mouth sore or canker sore, and not something more serious like a tooth abscess or oral cancer. There are also several prescription options for reducing the severity and duration of these mouth sores such as corticosteroid gels, which can quickly reduce pain and swelling. There are also some prescription mouthwashes available that can ease some of the symptoms associated with mouth sores.