What is a Canker Sore?
Canker sores are extremely painful ulcers normally located in the soft tissues at the base of your gums. They are also commonly known as as mouth ulcers or referred to medically as aptholous ulcers. Whatever you call them, one thing is certain, they are very painful and can make everyday activities like eating and speaking extremely uncomfortable.
Symptoms of Canker Sores
Canker sores can appear in isolation or in clusters. There are sometimes warning signs and you may experience a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth before the sore is fully realized.
A small red lump will then emerge. After a few days, the lump bursts to leave a shallow gray, white or yellow wound. The sores cause a great deal of discomfort when eating or drinking and it can also be difficult to speak because your teeth can rub the wound and aggravate it.
Other potential symptoms of canker sores are fevers, swollen lymph nodes as well as feeling fatigued and run down.
If the symptoms do not disappear within the first two or three weeks or if the sores begin to spread, you should see a doctor or a dentist as soon as possible.
Causes of a Canker Sore
There is still some uncertainty over the precise cause of canker sores and they can affect a person at any stage of their lives. There are certain risk factors and some possible cause worth mentioning. These include the following:
- Poor Nutrition especially vitamin B and iron deficiency
- Allergies to food
- Eating very hot food
- Gender – More than twice as many women are affected as men
- Certain illnesses or a poor immune system
- The presence of sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste and mouthwash
- Brushing your teeth too vigorously
- Braces and dentures
- Oral injuries
Home Remedies for Canker Sores
Before we look at the best home remedies to treat your sores, it is worth mentioning that some people can reduce their risk of developing canker sores by improving their dental hygiene. It is also possible that getting your body into a less acidic state can help. You can try to balance your body’s acid levels by eating a healthier diet and avoiding dairy, caffeine, red meat and junk food.
1) Essential Oils
Because of their medicinal properties, a number of essential oils are very effective remedies for canker sores. You can click here, if you would like to read our detailed article about essential oils for canker sores. The following are just a few of the best ways to use them.
Essential Oil Numbing Spray
You can make your own numbing spray with eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil. Both have powerful anti-inflammatory properties as well as antimicrobial actions and astringent effects. These properties, coupled with their cooling properties which can numb the pain make them the perfect, natural choice for your canker sore.
- Get a glass spray or mister bottle and dd ten drops each of peppermint and eucalyptus essential oil to two tablespoons of olive oil.
- Shake the bottle thoroughly.
- Spray the mixture directly onto your canker sores several time each day.
- Be careful not to swallow any of the oil.
Clove Essential Oil
Cloves and love essential oil have a long tradition of use for oral troubles. Clove oil is an excellent natural pain killer because of the presence of eugenol which can bring much needed relief not only from toothache but gum disease and canker sores too.
- First, wash out your mouth with salt water or mouthwash.
- Add 5 drops or so of clove oil to half a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil.
- Use a cotton ball to soak up the oil then apply it directly to your sores.
2) Chamomile Tea Bag
While chamomile is best-known for its relaxing properties, it has plenty of other uses. German chamomile contains a compound known as bisabolol which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat the sores.
- Soak a chamomile teabag for a few minutes.
- Remove from the water then apply it directly to your sores.
- Leave it in place for up to 10 minutes and repeat the process two or three times each day.
3) Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil is extremely healthy and good for a wide variety of conditions. It has powerful antimicrobial properties as well as helping to reduce swelling and redness making it a great option for canker sores.
- Dab the coconut oil on your canker sores with a cotton swab.
- Layer it thickly because the oil will melt quickly.
- Repeat several tomes a day.
Sage is best known for its culinary uses but people have been aware of its therapeutic benefits for many long years. Long before the dental profession existed, the Native Americans were using the herb to clean the mouth and to deal with gum disease and ulcers.
- Boil a cup of water then add a tablespoon of dried sage.
- Let it cool, then swish the mixture around your mouth for a minute or two.
- Rinse out with plain, clean water.
5) Manuka Honey
While most types of honey are antimicrobial, manuka honey is especially powerful. It can help soothe and coat your sores and prevent the infection from spreading further. If you do not have manuka, use another good quality honey.
- Wash out your mouth then add a liberal dollop of the honey directly onto your sores.
- Repeat the process two or three times each day making sure that you do so before bed.
6) Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is another effective canker sore remedy. It contains a compound called capsaicin responsible for making the peppers spicy. But that is not all it does, capsaicin also helps reduce pain making it a wonderful canker sore remedy.
- Add enough cayenne pepper powder to a little water.
- Mix it into a smooth, thick paste.
- Apply it to your sores with a cotton swab.
- Repeat several times a day for best results.
Using beeswax to cap the canker sore can provide some relief especially if you aggravate it with your teeth or dentures.
- Melt a tablespoon of your beeswax and 2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil and mix together.
- Allow it to cool then apply a liberal dollop to the teeth or dentures to protect against rubbing.
8) Aloe Vera Gel
If you want the best results from this therapeutic plant, you should use a natural aloe gel. It has amazing medicinal properties that are best known for their skin applications but it can work on your canker sores too.
- Extract your Aloe gel from an Aloe leaf or use a ready-made gel.
- Stir a teaspoon of gel into a tablespoon of distilled water.
- Swish your mouth with the mixture several times each day paying attention to the area of your sores
9) Salt Water
Salt water is a very simple but extremely effective remedy for a canker sore. Gargling or washing the mouth out with salt water helps relieve swelling by drawing out any excess fluid and cleansing the sores.
- Stir half a teaspoon or so of salt into a quarter cup of warm water.
- Swish the mixture around your mouth three times each day.
Good quality plain yogurt can help soothe the pain in your mouth and restore the balance of your oral bacteria.
- Make sure that you are using a plain yogurt containing live cultures.
- Eat at least a tablespoon three times each day.
- Combine with honey for extra effect.