Commonly referred to as mouth ulcers, canker sores are painful lesions that develop in the mouth. These can affect people of all age groups. These should not be mistaken for cold sores, which are small blisters that are caused by the herpes simple-1 virus. Mouth ulcers can appear on the inner surface of the lips or the cheeks, back of tongue, or base of the gums. More often than not, these shallow lesions are 2-10 mm in size. They are red in color and usually have a white coating. These usually resolve within a couple of weeks. At times, ulcers might be larger and deeper. These might take longer to heal.
It is believed that trauma from braces or ill-fitting dentures could be contributing factors for mouth ulcers. Also, factors such as hormonal imbalance, stress, nutritional deficiencies, consumption of food or beverages that are too hot, etc., might also aggravate the condition. Individuals who have a compromised immune system, especially those who have been diagnosed with medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, or Celiac disease might be more susceptible to canker sores. Though topical application of certain medications can help alleviate the symptoms, and speed up the healing process, one could also follow certain home remedies for getting rid of mouth ulcers. Also, certain preventive measures can also be followed.
Home Remedies for Mouth Ulcers
The natural remedies that are given below can be followed for getting rid of canker sores:
Applying a dilute hydrogen peroxide solution can prove beneficial. All you need to do is mix hydrogen peroxide with water in equal proportions. Dip a clean cotton ball in this solution, and dab it over the ulcers.
Application of aloe vera gel will also provide relief. All you need to do is cut an aloe vera leaf longitudinally for extracting the gel. Aloe vera gel is therapeutic in nature, and it will speed up the healing process.
Apply honey over the ulcers 2-3 times a day. It will surely help.
One of the tried-and-tested home remedies for mouth ulcers is to gargle with salty water. For the saltwater rinse, you need to add a teaspoon of table salt in one cup of lukewarm water. Stir to dissolve the salt. Rinse your mouth with this saltwater solution several times a day. This will lower the risk of infections.
Add one teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Rinse your mouth with this solution 3 to 4 times a day.
You can also apply a paste made by mixing sodium bicarbonate in a few drops of water.
Milk of magnesia, which is a dilute solution of magnesium hydroxide, can also be applied on the ulcers for relief.
Mix equal amounts of Benadryl and milk of magnesia, and rinse your mouth with this mixture 2-3 times a day.
Don't use toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
Cut down on the intake of citrus fruits, spicy food, or acidic food, as these can irritate the oral mucosa.
Make sure that you don't consume food items or beverages that are too hot.
If a chipped tooth, braces, or dentures are irritating the inside of the cheeks, it would be best to consult a dentist.
Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush that doesn't damage the mucosa.
Besides following any of the aforementioned remedies, you should also follow a balanced diet. This is to avoid nutritional deficiencies, which can make one susceptible to mouth ulcers. In severe cases, dietary supplements can be taken to treat a vitamin deficiency. If canker sores persist for more than two weeks, it is advisable to consult a doctor. In some cases, topical application of anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids might be suggested.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.