Canker Sores: Causes, Symptoms and Home Treatment

If you notice small, shallow lesions or ulcers with a yellow or white center and a red border, in your mouth, you probably have what is known as canker sores.

Canker sores, as described above, are small, shallow lesions that often occur on the soft tissue inside of your mouth like under your tongue, inside your cheeks or lips and the base of your gums.

While canker sores are most commonly benign, they can be extremely painful. These sores can make eating, drinking and sometimes even swallowing a nightmare.

If you have a canker sore, you’ll experience one or all of the below symptoms:

  • Burning or tingling sensation in your mouth before the ulcer appears
  • Painful red area on the soft tissues of your mouth
  • Sores that are round with yellow or white center

Severe canker attacks include:

  • Fever
  • Sluggishness
  • Swollen lymph nodes

The exact cause of canker sores is not known; however, there are certain factors that are believed to be the cause of these sores.

Factors like stress or tissue injury, ingestion of certain kinds of food like citrus fruits, weak immune system, vitamin deficiencies and even dental fittings such as braces are all thought to be the reason why canker sores occur.

Canker sores go away on their own after 1 – 2 weeks. They usually do not require any treatment and there isn’t a dedicated treatment available for it either.

But even if they do go away on their own, it doesn’t hurt to speed up the process. While there are no medicines available for that, there are a bunch of natural remedies you can use to get rid of canker sores fast.

These remedies will not only speed up the process of treating canker sores, they will also help you combat the pain that these sores bring with them.

  1. Milk of Magnesia

Milk of magnesia is a suspension of magnesium hydroxide and is an antacid. This means that it is able to counteract any acidic effect.

Use milk of magnesia to rinse your mouth by taking a small sip of the solution every morning. You can also dab it on the sores using a cotton swab, 3 – 4 times a day.

Due to its antacid properties, milk of magnesia is able to neutralize the acids in your mouth which makes your sores sting.

  1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is alkaline in nature and can therefore help in curing canker sores by neutralizing the effect of acids in your mouth.

Apart from preventing the sores from stinging, baking soda also helps get rid of the bacteria thus speeding up your healing process. Its anti – inflammatory properties mean that it also helps to reduce the swelling in your sores.

To use baking soda, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to ½ a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth with it. Do it 2 – 3 times a day until the sores heal.

  1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a widely used plant when it comes to traditional medicines, home remedies, cosmetic products and even chemical drugs.

This can be attributed to the wide range of benefits that aloe vera provides due to its naturally occurring properties such as anti – inflammation, anti – septic, anti – bacterial – to mention a few.

Aloe gel can be used to relieve pain from canker sores by reducing swelling and to speed up the healing process by getting rid of the bacteria.

While you can use commercially available aloe vera gel, it is recommended you get an aloe vera leaf and then scoop out the gel by slicing it up.

Once you have the gel, dry the area of canker sore with a cotton swab. Then with a clean spoon, put a little of gel on the sores and leave it on for 15 – 20 minutes. Then rinse it off with water. Repeat it until the sores go away.

  1. Sage

Sage has always been held in high regard due to its culinary as well as medicinal uses since the ancient times, throughout the world.

This widely used herb contains a host of properties – it is anti – inflammatory, anti – septic, anti – bacterial, astringent just to mention a few.

Sage is a useful herb to treat canker sores as it kills bacteria, reduces inflammation and has a cooling effect when applied to the sores.

Make a sage infused mouth rinse by steeping 2 teaspoons of dried leaves in a cup of boiling water. Let it cool and then use it to rinse your mouth 2 – 3 times a day.

  1. Honey

The wide ranging benefits of organic honey are well documented through the ages and all over the world. It has anti – septic, anti – bacterial and anti – inflammatory properties, making it a common ingredient in many natural remedies.

Applying honey on the canker sore will reduce swelling, prevent and eliminate any bacterial actions and speed up the healing process as it can promote growth of new tissue.

To apply honey, dry the area of the sore using a clean cotton ball or swab. Next, dip a cotton swab in honey and apply it directly on the sore and leave it. Rinse after 20 – 30 minutes.

Do this 3 times a day for 4 – 5 days and you will notice that all your canker sores are gone.

  1. Clove oil

Clove oil contains potent pain combating properties and has been used since the ancient times by doctors to stop the pain in patients, especially by old time dentists.

You will need:

  • ½ a teaspoon of olive oil
  • 5 drops of clove essential oil
  • Cotton balls
  • Warm water

Here’s what to do:

  1. Swish your mouth with warm water to clean it.
  2. Mix olive oil with clove essential oil.
  3. Soak the cotton ball in the mixture.
  4. Now hold it against the canker sores for about 7 minutes to numb the pain.
  1. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a strong disinfectant and can therefore provide protection to your canker sores from becoming infected.

You can use hydrogen peroxide by mixing it with equal parts water and rinsing your mouth with it, the same way you’d use a mouth wash. Swish it in your mouth for about 2 minutes, twice or thrice a day till you get the desired results.

Care must be taken while using hydrogen peroxide as it is a pretty strong solution. Do not swallow it and don’t eat or drink anything 30 minutes after using this remedy.

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt is known for containing the good bacteria that your body needs to maintain a healthy diversity.

Eating organic plain yogurt with active live cultures can restore the balance of the bacteria culture in your mouth, thereby speeding up the healing process. The cooling effect of yogurt can also help with the pain.

Keep in mind that most commercially available yogurts contain sugar and loads of added additives which will not help you with your canker sores. You need to buy plain and organic yogurt to be able to reap the benefits.

  1. Chamomile Tea Bag

Chamomile herb consists of several daisy-like plants that contains anti – inflammatory, anti – peptic, anti – bacterial and sedative properties.

Chamomile tea is often used to induce sleep, relax your mind and its anti – spasmodic properties mean it can help with painful spasms.

In case of canker sores, chamomile can eliminate bacteria, provide relief from pain and combat swelling of the sores. You can drink chamomile tea to help you sleep if the pain is keeping you awake.

To use chamomile directly on the sores, steep chamomile tea bag in a glass of fresh water for 1 minute. Now hold it against the sores for 5 – 10 minutes. Do it twice daily until you get relief from the canker sores.

  1. Cayenne Pepper

Using cayenne pepper to treat ulcers might seem like a dangerous idea but it actually works. Cayenne pepper contains a substance called capsaicin that can temporarily numb the pain causing nerves, thus bringing temporary relief.

To use cayenne pepper, you need to make a paste. Take some ground pepper and mix enough water to make a paste. Now, with the help of a cotton swab, apply it on the sore.

You’ll feel a sudden burning sensation followed by immediate relief from the pain of canker sores. Do it whenever the pain becomes unbearable.

Related Links:

How to Get Rid of a Canker Sore Fast

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