Treating Canker Sores With Natural Home Remedies

Canker sores affect many people, some 20% of the population has canker sores to some degree, most of whom are otherwise quite healthy.  Canker sores are benign but irritating ulcers in the mouth that usually heal completely between “attacks” of canker sores.  The actual cause is not well understood, but it appears that there are different triggers that cause canker sores.  For some people stress causes their ulcers, while others get them from allergies, nutritional deficiencies, local trauma in the mouth, hormonal imbalances, or a genetic predisposition.  There is no known cure, but there are many methods that can be used to reduce pain and speed the healing process.  The condition itself often presents during childhood or adolescence, typically lasting for several years before gradually disappearing.  The whole process of an individual sore usually lasts about 10 days, with the most painful period lasting 3-4 days.


What are the symptoms of canker sores?

The primary symptom of canker sores are ulcers in the lining of the mouth and inner lips, which may feel like they are burning, stinging, or itching, followed some hours later by a white lesion.  The pain can be fairly intense and can get worse with physical contact from poking at them, accidentally biting them, or from food (some food is more irritating than others, such as spicy, acidic, or carbonated foods).  The pain is usually the worst in the beginning, as the ulcer forms, and will slowly fade as the spot heals.  For some people with the most severe conditions, ulcers are nearly constant, with new ulcers forming before those before them have healed, which can cause debilitating chronic pain, and sometimes resulting weight loss and malnutrition.

How can I treat canker sores?

There are numerous ways to approach your treatment, which generally focus on trying to reduce pain and inflammation, and trying to increase the healing speed.  One option is to mix together in equal quantities milk of magnesia or kaopectate and benylin or benadryl.  These ingredients will coat the wet tissues of the mouth (the milk of magnesia), while acting as a mild topical anesthetic and inflammation lowering antihistamine (the benylin or benadryl).  Carefully apply to your canker sores with a clean cotton swab, but make sure not to swallow any, or it may temporarily numb the reflex that helps keep your windpipe closed when you swallow.

There are also many over the counter treatments that will act fast to dull pain or numb the spot.  There are many lozenges, anti-septic creams, and mouthwashes made specifically for canker sores.  Some products such as Orabase which has benzocaine will help keep your canker sores coated and keep it from getting infected.  Any products with xylocaine will dull the pain as an anesthetic.

Searching out a naturopath or allergy specialist to find what foods you eat that you didn’t even know bothered you may help pin down a trigger or something that is irritating your sores.  Regardless of allergies, as we mentioned above, hot or spicy foods, acidic foods, and some other parts of your meals may be causing your cankers or making them worse.  Finding alternatives is one of the most important steps to take if you have regular canker sores!  Along the same vein, make sure you are eating a full and balanced healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to decrease the chance you get ulcers from a nutritional deficiency.

Despite it’s heat, cayenne pepper, as with some other peppers, contains capsaicin.  This chemical will temporarily desensitize the nerves in your mouth that send pain signals to your brain.  Some people, however, can be irritated by it, so take care and start with less.  Similarly a styptic pencil can be used to temporarily numb the nerve endings in a canker sore.

There are many mouthwash-like rinses that can be used to help your condition, including aloe juice swished around your mouth several times a day to harness it’s curative powers.  Combining one teaspoon salt and two ounces of hydrogen peroxide, then rinsing your mouth it it four times a day can make a significant effect.  If the taste or tingle is too strong, you can just use a salt rinse.  Alternatively you can make a rinse by boiling sage leaves (3 teaspoons in a pint of water) and rinse with this when cool.

Plain ice or ice water will dull the pain by itself for a short time!


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