Also, know as mouth ulcers, canker sores are small in size, but the can cause a great deal of pain. These shallow ulcers develop inside the mouth, typically on the inside of the lips or cheeks. They can be incredibly uncomfortable and can make it difficult to perform tasks with your mouth, such as talking, eating, and drinking. Foods and beverages that have high acidity levels can particularly aggravate a canker sore.
There are actually two different varieties of canker sores. The first variety is known as a simple canker sore. They usually affect people individuals between the ages of 10 and 20 and can develop several times a year, lasting for as long as a week each time. The second type is known as a complex canker sore. This type isn’t as common and usually affects people who have had them before.
Though the exact cause of the majority of canker sores is not known, there are several theories regarding their origin. One theory suggests high levels of stress or injury to the tissue of the affected area can spark the development of simple canker sores. A jagged tooth or a dental apparatus, such as braces or improperly fitted dentures, are also believed to be a cause. Complex canker sores can be associated with underlying health issues, such as nutritional deficiencies, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, or weakened immune systems.
No matter the cause or the type, canker sores can be troublesome. If you have developed one, here are natural remedies that could provide you with the relief you seek.
1. Apply ice.
If you are experiencing pain from a canker sore, an ice cube could help to alleviate it. Not only will ice numb the tissue surrounding the sore, but it will also reduce the inflammation. The sheer coldness from an ice cube will reduce blood flow to the canker sore, hence the reason why this natural remedy can help to reduce the swelling and pain. To use this remedy, simply take an ice cube and place it directly onto the canker sore. Allow it to sit on the sore until it melts, or for as long as you can tolerate the cold temperature.
2. Rinse with baking soda.
Rinsing your mouth with baking soda can provide relief for a canker sore. Baking soda is alkaline, so it will neutralize any acids that can aggravate a canker sore. Plus, it also helps to kill bacteria in the mouth, which could help to reduce the amount of time it takes for the sore to heal.
To making a baking soda rinse, simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda into ½ cup of warm water. Swish the mixture around your mouth, specifically concentrating on the affected area.
3. Aloe vera could help, too.
Aloe vera has been used medicinally for centuries. This gel can soothe canker sores and speed up the recovery time. Aloe vera has antiseptic qualities, so it can help to kill off any bacteria that may have caused the sore in the first place, or that are aggravating the sore.
Additionally, aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can also soothe a canker sore. Try applying a small dab of aloe vera gel directly onto the canker sore (it is safe to ingest, so don’t worry.)
You can also try rinsing your mouth with aloe vera gel.
4. Aloe vera and baking soda mouthwash.
To get even more relief, try combing baking soda and aloe vera. You can make your own canker sore relief mouthwash using aloe vera and baking soda. Simply mix together 2 tablespoons of aloe vera juice and a teaspoon of baking soda in ½ cup of warm water.
Allow the baking soda and aloe vera juice to dissolve in the water and swish the mouthwash around your mouth for a minimum of 10 seconds. Repeat the process until you have used all of the mixtures.
Be careful not to swallow. Both aloe vera and baking soda have anti-inflammatory properties, so this mixture could provide fast relief and enhance the recovery time.
5. Modify your diet.
There are certain foods and drinks that are known to aggravate a canker sore. As we already mentioned, foods and drinks that have high acidity will make a canker sore more painful, so avoid thinks like oranges, lemonade, and any other citrus food or drink.
Rough foods can also irritate a sore, increasing the pain, so avoid anything abrasive, such as toast or chips. Salt and spicy foods and ingredients can aggravate a cold sore, too.
If you eat or drink any of these foods or beverages, you will surely anger your canker sore.
6. Give probiotic yogurt a try.
Yogurt is smooth and mild, so it won’t aggravate a canker sore and worsen the pain. But, that’s not the only reason why eating yogurt could provide relief for a canker sore: the probiotics, helpful bacteria, can help to soothe the canker sore and lessen the amount of time it takes to heal.
For the best results, look for a yogurt that contains high-quality probiotics.
Also, avoid any variety that contains seeds or nuts, as their roughness could potentially make the pain of the canker sore worse.
7. Take B vitamins.
Studies have revealed that taking a sublingual vitamin B12 supplement can actually prevent the recurrence of canker sores, even in individuals who were not deficient in this vitamin.
While this can prevent the development of a canker sore, it can also provide some much-needed relief. B12 vitamins can reduce inflammation, thereby reducing the pain, and can also speed up the recovery time.
How much vitamin B12 should you take? About 2,000 mcg, or 2 mg, a day.
8. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice could help.
A study indicated that gargling with a liquid extract form of deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) and warm water relieved the pain associated with canker sores.
This study examined the effects of this remedy on patients who had canker sores, and a total of 79 percent said that the pain subsided by as much as 75 percent after just one day.
These patients also said that the canker sores were completely healed after just three days. You can make a rinse by dissolving ½ a teaspoon of DGL liquid extract into ¼ cup of warm water.
9. Milk of magnesia can be soothing.
Another remedy that has proven to provide relief for canker sores is the milk of magnesia. To use this remedy, simply swish a small amount of milk of magnesia and swish it around your mouth and make sure you concentrate on the canker sore.
Milk of magnesia has antacid properties, so it can neutralize acids in the mouth that can make a canker sore burn and sting.
If you prefer, you can just dab a little bit of the liquid directly onto the affected site using a cotton swab several times a day.
10. Soothe it with tea.
Tea has alkaline properties, which means that it can neutralize the acids in your mouth that tend to irritate a canker sore. Additionally, tea has compounds that have an analgesic effect that can reduce the pain. Steep a teabag in hot water, chill it and drink it over ice. You could also freeze the tea and apply it to the affected site.
The properties of the tea combined with the numbing and anti-inflammatory properties of ice will provide even more pain relief.
You can also apply a damp, chilled, or frozen tea bag directly to the canker sore.