How To Treat Canker Sores

Canker sores, more commonly known as mouth ulcers, differ from cold sores because they form on the gums inside the mouth. They are not caused by the herpes simplex virus, nor are they contagious. Canker sores are extremely painful and can last up to one week, inhibiting daily life and making the consumption of food difficult. While there is no "quick fix" for canker sores, there are many home remedies that can help lessen the pain and speed up the healing process.

  1. Avoid Spicy and Acidic Food. Consuming spicy or acidic food or drink only irritates a canker sore. This means more pain for you and these foods can even cause a canker sore to become infected. While dealing with a canker sore, it is vital to cut these foods and drinks out of your diet completely.
  2. Salt. Even though it may sting a little, salt is actually very good for the healing of canker sores. Swishing heavily concentrated salt water around your mouth several times a day helps to kill the bacteria causing a canker sore, which will help it heal faster. Those with a high pain tolerance can even consider applying a small salt pack to the afflicted area. It will sting initially, but it will help in the long run. A less intense way to achieve this is to make a paste of water and baking soda to apply to the canker sore. This paste will kill bacteria while helping to alleviate pain.
  3. Ice. An old standby, ice will help to reduce the swelling and pain of a canker sore. Sucking on small pieces of ice is one of the simplest remedies for a canker sore. It will not aid in the healing process, but it will bring temporary relief. It is important, however, to avoid sharp edges of the ice coming in contact with the canker sore.
  4. Benadryl and Mylanta. Mix equal parts of the liquid antihistamine, Benadryl, and milk of magnesia, Mylanta, to form a mouth wash. Swish it around your mouth several times a day, but take extreme care not to swallow this mixture. Not only will the mixture alleviate pain almost instantly, but it helps to speed up the healing process. This mixture can also be applied directly to the canker sore with a q-tip to seal off the canker sore and eliminate pain.
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