Canker sores can be a real pain – quite literally. These small, painful sores that form inside your mouth can make even the most simple tasks – like eating, speaking, or even brushing your teeth – feel like a challenge. The good news is that there are many natural remedies, over-the-counter medications, and lifestyle changes that you can do to heal canker sores. But before we dive into those treatments, let’s first understand the causes, symptoms, and types of canker sores.
II. Understanding Canker Sores: Causes, Symptoms, and Types
Canker sores are small, shallow ulcers that form on the soft tissues inside your mouth, such as your tongue, cheeks, and gums. They can be painful and can make it hard to eat or talk. Canker sores are different from cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus.
There are several factors that can cause canker sores. These include injury to the soft tissues of the mouth, hormonal changes, stress, genetics, and certain foods. Common symptoms of canker sores include a painful, sensitive sore, a white or grayish sore with a red border, and sensitivity to spicy or acidic foods. There are three types of canker sores: minor, major, and herpetiform.
III. Home Remedies: Natural Ways to Heal Canker Sores
Before you reach for over-the-counter medications, try some natural remedies to help heal your canker sores. Using natural ingredients is a great way to promote healing without using any harsh chemicals. Some effective natural remedies include honey, aloe vera, saltwater rinse, and oil pulling. All of these remedies have been found to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Here are some easy-to-follow recipes and tips to try:
- Mix one teaspoon of honey with some turmeric to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the sore.
- Apply some aloe vera gel directly to the sore. Aloe vera can help reduce inflammation and ease pain.
- Mix one teaspoon of salt with one cup of warm water. Swish the solution around in your mouth for 30 seconds, then spit it out. Repeat several times a day. Saltwater is a natural disinfectant and can help speed up the healing process.
- Try oil pulling with coconut oil. Swish one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes, then spit it out. Coconut oil can help kill harmful bacteria in your mouth and reduce inflammation.
IV. Over-The-Counter Medications and Homeopathic Remedies
If natural remedies are not enough, there are various types of over-the-counter medications and homeopathic remedies that you can try to help heal your canker sores. Oral gels and rinses, such as Orajel, Anbesol, and Biotene, can help relieve pain and discomfort. Pain relievers, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can also help ease the pain.
On the other hand, homeopathic remedies such as calendula or thuja can also help speed up the healing process. Calendula is a plant-based ointment that has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Thuja is a homeopathic remedy that is used to treat various skin-related conditions.
Before using any medication or remedy, it is important to read the directions carefully and check for any potential side effects.
V. Lifestyle Changes to Ease Out Canker Sores
While canker sores can sometimes be the result of injury or genetics, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make to minimize your chances of getting them. Maintaining good oral hygiene, for example, can help reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth and prevent the sores from developing. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush can also help prevent injury to your mouth.
Other lifestyle changes to consider include avoiding spicy or acidic foods that can irritate your mouth, making sure you get enough rest and sleep to reduce stress, and quitting smoking.
Here are some tips on how to incorporate these changes into your daily routine:
- Brush and floss your teeth after every meal to prevent bacteria from building up in your mouth.
- Avoid spicy or acidic foods that can irritate your mouth.
- Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night to reduce stress and boost your immune system.
- If you smoke, try to quit or reduce your usage.
VI. Foods to Eat and Avoid While Suffering from Canker Sores
What you eat can also have an impact on your canker sores. Certain foods can trigger the development of canker sores or make them worse. Other foods can help promote healing and reduce inflammation.
Here are some foods to eat and avoid while suffering from canker sores:
- Avoid acidic or spicy foods that can irritate your mouth, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and hot sauce.
- Eat soft, bland foods such as mashed potatoes, yoghurt, and boiled eggs.
- Drink plenty of water to promote hydration and keep your mouth moist.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin B, such as leafy greens, eggs, and nuts. Vitamin B can help promote healing and reduce inflammation.
VII. When Should You See a Doctor?
While canker sores are usually harmless and go away on their own, they can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to see your doctor or dental professional:
- Large or unusually shaped sores.
- Sores that last more than two weeks.
- Severe pain even when not eating or drinking.
- Difficulty swallowing or talking.
- Fever or swollen lymph nodes.
During your appointment, your doctor or dental professional may perform a physical examination or recommend blood tests or other examinations to diagnose the cause of your canker sores.
Canker sores can be a real nuisance, but following these natural remedies, medications, lifestyle changes, and dietary modifications can help you heal them quickly and effectively. Remember, consistency and patience are key – don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results. And if your canker sores persist or worsen, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.