If you've ever suffered from canker sores, you know how painful and disgusting the affliction can be. Not only do these mouth ulcers often entail bad breath, but they can leave you all but unable to eat, talk or kiss. With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, you might be planning to do all three of those activities. A few canker sore remedies may be in order.
Also known as aphthous ulcers, canker sores can occur on the tongue, gums or the insides of the cheeks. They are not to be confused with cold sores, which are blisters that appear outside the mouth, usually on or around the lips.
Unlike the virus-caused cold sore, a canker sore occurs due to bacterial growth in the mouth. Plenty of things can cause canker sores, from stress and vitamin deficiencies to food allergies or poor dental health.
Regardless of what causes them, aphthous ulcers can be really painful. If you're trying to impress someone with witty conversation or your honed French kissing skills, you'd better hope these little sores don't hold you back.
If you want to get rid of them now, here are some canker sore remedies, courtesy of some of the nation's most esteemed public health agencies.
- Avoid spicy foods. According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), spicy foods can inflame your canker sores and make them worse. However, most people don't need to be told this. Take one bite of peppery food with canker sores, and you won't be too eager to take another.
-Rinse with hydrogen peroxide. The Mayo Clinic states that a reliable way to treat aphthous ulcers is to swish with a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water. Presumably, this canker sore remedy attacks the bacteria at the site.
- Dab milk of magnesia on the sore. Alternatively, consider trying an oxygenating breath freshening rinse, which can do the same thing while leaving your mouth clean and minty.
- Apply a paste of baking soda to the sore. The Mayo Clinic recommends this one. A specialty breath freshening gel may work just as well.
- Gargle with chlorhexidine mouthwash. According to the NLM, in severe cases of canker sores, individuals may need to rinse with particularly strong products. The agency states that chlorhexidine mouthwashes can do the trick.