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Toronto, ON. M6S 4W3
Were you thinking of letting your canker sore clear up on its own? If so, you could be in for an uncomfortable week or two. Canker sores are small ulcers that form on the inside of the mouth’s soft tissues like lips or gums.
These little guys can be a pretty big nuisance as they’re known to make eating, talking, and oral care painful.
Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious and can usually disappear on their own. However, if you have a larger canker sore or if the discomfort is unbearable, we can help.
Keep reading below to learn about canker sores, and see how our team at Bloor West Smiles helps you get rid of them fast.
What causes canker sores?
It can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of a canker sore. Stress or minor injuries to the mouth is the most common cause in simple cases. Here are some other potential triggers:
- Acidic fruits and vegetables
- Hormonal changes
- Autoimmune disorders
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
Recurring canker sores are often attributed to B12, zinc, iron, or folic acid deficiency, but underlying health issues could also be to blame.
Complex canker sores are sometimes seen in patients with immune system diseases such as AIDS, lupus, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Let your dental hygienist know if you have recurring canker sores.
Get Rid of Canker Sores Quickly
There are many home remedies and over-the-counter medications you can use to help speed up the healing process.
Your dentist or doctor can also prescribe stronger prescription medication for a persistent case of canker sores. Read on for our list of 8 fast canker sore remedies.
1. DIY mouth rinse
If you can reduce the acidity levels in your mouth, you can speed up healing time. Salt or baking soda is excellent for this, but shouldn’t be applied directly.
Instead, mix a teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water and gargle for 30 seconds. You can make a paste with baking soda and a little bit of water; then, apply as needed.
2 Milk of magnesia
Milk of magnesia works just like salt to eliminate acids in the mouth. Use by dabbing a small amount on the canker sore with a cotton pad a couple of times daily.
Milk of magnesia has also been shown to decrease pain while expediting the healing process.
Applying ice is a great way to reduce inflammation, especially for sores on the lip. Wrap ice in a cloth or towel to avoid frostbite. The cold will also help numb the pain.
4. Medicated mouthwash
If you have persistent or severe canker sores, a medicated rinse may be the best remedy. Mouthwashes with dexamethasone are great for cases of multiple sores. Dexamethasone is a cortisone-like medicine used to provide relief to inflamed areas.
Studies have shown that mouthwashes with tetracycline reduce pain in as little as 24 hours and cut healing time in half. Mouthwashes with antibiotics or corticosteroids must be prescribed, so ask your dentist or doctor.
5. Aloe vera
The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe have been proven to help treat stomach ulcers. Drinking the cool gel decreases acid levels in the stomach and also relieves pain.
Since canker sores are a type of ulcer, aloe would help here too. Try rinsing your mouth with aloe juice a few times per day for relief.
6. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic that will aid in canker sore healing by eliminating bacteria while the mouth heals.
Mix equal parts peroxide and water, and apply to sores with a cotton pad. Look for hydrogen peroxide with a 3% concentration, and do not swallow.
7. Topical products
Creams, gels, and liquids with active ingredients reduce pain and accelerate healing when applied to sores as soon as they appear.
Obviously, these products are formulated with canker sore healing in mind, so they work exceptionally fast. Here are some active ingredients to look for:
- Benzocaine (topical anesthetic that numbs nerve endings)
- Fluocinonide (anti-inflammatory corticosteroid)
- Hydrogen peroxide (mild antiseptic)
When to Seek Help
Most canker sores are just a minor annoyance that will eventually pass on their own. If the discomfort isn’t too bad, go ahead and try out some of the above remedies in the first week or two.
However, canker sores still sticking around after three weeks may be serious, so seeking medical help is recommended. Give us a call if you have:
- A high fever along with a sore.
- Severe or unbearable pain.
- Trouble eating or drinking.
- Unusually large sores.
- Multiple sores at once.
It can be hard to determine the cause of a canker sore yourself. Cancer of the mouth can look like mouth ulcers initially, so it never hurts to get a professional exam. Some sores are caused by jagged teeth or personal oral care tools.
Our dental hygienists can check for signs and symptoms, so be sure to schedule regular check-ups.
Contact Bloor West Smiles
The Bloor West Smiles team is proud to offer a variety of dental services in downtown Toronto. Don’t hesitate to call us about canker sores or other oral health concerns. For more information, call Bloor West Smiles at 647-371-1407 or click here to book an appointment.