How to reduce a canker sore
Canker sores are a common and often harmless oral health issue. This article gives the basics on how to identify and treat canker sores and when to seek professional advice.
What are Canker Sores?
Canker sores, also known as mouth ulcers, are little welt-like spots that appear on the lips, tongue or inner lining of the mouth. They sometimes look like tiny craters with a small, shallow dip between circular edges. They can be either simple - appearing a few times a year and generally healing within a week – or complex: recurrent or due to an underlying medical issue. In this article we discuss how to treat canker sores and give you some home-based remedies for canker sores.
Canker sores, also known as mouth ulcers, are little welt-like spots that appear inside the mouth.
How to treat a canker sore
Whether you have a canker sore under your tongue or elsewhere in the mouth, ulcers often go away on their own. However there are a few things you can do that may help get rid of them faster. Try out some of these canker sore treatment suggestions and see which one works best for you:
- Use a protective paste. Ask your pharmacist for a recommendation. These are gels or creams that you put over the ulcer to protect it from further irritation.
- Drink cool fluids through a straw. This reduces the cold rush on the affected area and may decrease irritation.
- Applying ice directly can also help relieve the pain, just do it a few seconds at a time.
- Rinse your mouth with saline water (a mix of one to two teaspoons of salt in a glass of warm water). Repeat a few times a day.
- One sweet natural remedy for canker sores is simply a dab of honey. It can be soothing and healing. Clean the sore with a cotton swab and apply the honey gently.
- Switch to a toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulphate [link to Zendium Complete Protection toothpaste page], a chemical which might trigger mouth ulcers.
Those are a few home-based remedies for canker sores and different options if you’re wondering how to treat a canker sore on the tongue, lips or cheeks.
How to prevent ulcers coming back
If you’ve healed your canker sore there are a few things you can do to prevent them returning in the future. While nothing is guaranteed to get rid of them forever these tips might make them less likely to come back:
- If you have canker sores on your tongue, lips or inner cheeks avoid foods which may irritate your mouth. Rough food like crusty bread or crisps, spicy or very hot items are all worth avoiding. Citric acid found in lemons, limes and other fruits can also irritate or cause pain.
- Don’t chew gum. Like some foods, chewing gum may cause irritation so if you’re prone to ulcers try cutting down.
- One great canker sore treatment and prevention method is to brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush. This may prevent further irritation and maintain good oral hygiene.
- Read more on our article about recurring canker sores.
By following these few simple tricks you can reduce the risk of canker sores coming back and have some useful canker sores remedies ready in case they do. However if your sores are particularly large, painful, recurrent or long lasting get some professional advice from your dentist or doctor.
The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist if you are experiencing any mouth issues.