How to Get Rid of Canker Sores Fast
Anyone can get a canker sore, however it seems that women and teens are more prone to getting them than others. A canker sore is a sore that forms inside of your mouth, either on your tongue, lip or cheek. It resembles an ulcer, and has a red border around it. The center of the sore is usually white or yellow in color. Some canker sores are not painful, but most of them can be very painful, making it difficult for a person to talk or eat.
Many people may confuse canker sores for cold sores, but they are not related. Cold sores are caused by a virus, while canker sores are not. Also, cold sores can be spread from one person to another, while canker sores are not contagious.
Causes of Canker Sores
- Unlike cold sores, which are known to be caused by a virus, there is no single known cause for canker sores. There is some evidence to suggest genetics may play a role in who is more prone to developing canker sores, but this is still not definitive. Some people are known to have certain triggers which may cause canker sores to develop. These include being overly stressed and not getting enough sleep and changes in a woman’s monthly period cycle.
- Other times canker sores may result from an injury to your mouth, which causes you to bite your cheek or lip, or when dental work rubs against the cheek or lip, like with braces. There is some evidence to suggest that people who are deficient in iron, B Vitamins, and folic acid may be more likely to develop canker sores.
- Lastly, foods can contribute to canker sore outbreaks. If a person consumes a lot of acidic foods or foods they have an allergy or sensitivity to, they may be more likely to experience a canker sore.
How do You Know if It’s a Canker Sore
- If you have never had a canker sore before, you might be tempted to call you general physician or your dentist to have them look at the area. However, these sores rarely need medical intervention; they often heal on their own, and usually leave behind no scarring once they have healed.
- So, if you suspect it is a canker sore, you can choose to practice some self care to see if the sore heals on its own before scheduling a visit to their office.
- Most canker sores have very specific symptoms. The first in the appearance of the sore. They appear like shallow white or yellow ulcers with a reddish colored border. The location also helps to determine if it is a canker sore or a cold sore. Cold sores are outside of the mouth, while canker sores are inside the mouth, either on the tongue, lip, or cheeks.
- Canker sores often give you a warning they are coming, either a feeling of the area being irritated or the area being injured in some way may be an indicator of a canker sore developing. If the area becomes tender and swollen, and the other symptoms are present it is likely a canker sore.
Finding Relief from a Canker Sore
- One of the most important things about a canker sore is finding some relief so that you can continue to go about your life, eating, drinking and talking. There are a number of things that you can do when you have a canker sore to help make this possible.
- First of all, if the area is tender and swollen, try to eat softer foods instead of solids. You do not have to eat only purees and liquids, but these are easier on you to swallow. If you are eating solid foods, make sure you cut your food into small enough pieces that you can easily chew them, which reduces the amount of irritation you will get to the sore while eating.
- Also try to avoid foods that are high in acid, like tomatoes and citrus fruits. These can “sting” the canker sore and make you want to stop eating. Some people find taking a pain reliever, like Motrin a little before eating a meal helps to reduce the pain, and makes it easier to eat their food. This medication can also be taken to help reduce inflammation in general and relieve pain.
- When drinking beverages, try to avoid drinks that can irritate the sore, like orange juice or lemonade. If cold drinks help to relieve the pain, opt for an iced tea or cold water to help soothe the area. You can also look for cold foods like popsicles and sucking on ice to give additional relief to the area. Most people find heat to bother canker sores. If this is the case, opt for a cold beverage instead. Other options for pain relief include topical liquids and gels like Orajel or Anbesol.
- These only provide temporary relief, should only be use a couple of times a day, and are best not to be used right before eating as it can numb the mouth resulting in you injuring yourself.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
- When you have a canker sore, it may be tempting to not brush your teeth as it hurts to open your mouth. However, brushing your teeth helps to remove bacteria from your mouth, and promotes the healing of the canker sore.
- One of the most important things is to make sure you are using a soft bristle tooth brush. This is not only because if the toothbrush accidentally touches the canker sore it is less likely to cause a problem, but a soft toothbrush also helps to prevent injury to the mouth, including your gums, cheek, and lips.
- If you are prone to canker sores, this is important as injuries are often the causes for some canker sores forming. Also, when you brush your teeth, avoid the area with the sore, and do not brush it with the toothbrush besides being painful, it can also cause more damage to the canker sore and will require longer time to heal.
- If you use mouthwash regularly, you do not have to stop when you get a canker sore, but you might want to switch to a type that does not have any alcohol in it and that is less harsh on the sore. Alcohol based mouthwashes can cause a burning feeling to the sore when it comes in contact with it and create a great deal of pain.
- Another option is to rinse your mouth out with a solution of salt water. This will not only help to rinse your mouth, but the warm salt solution will help to soothe and heal the canker sore.
Preventing Future Canker Sores
- Because the exact cause of canker sores is not entirely known, the prevention of them can sometimes be difficult. If however, you are able to identify what has caused your canker sores to form in the past, the best way to prevent them is to avoid those triggers.
- If you are prone to getting canker sores as a result of biting your tongue or cheek, by avoiding injuring yourself, you can reduce the likelihood of you getting future canker sores.
- If acidic foods are your known triggers, than avoiding foods high in acid or limiting them in your diet is one way to prevent future canker sores from forming inside your mouth.
- Since people with certain deficiencies of specific nutrients are known to get canker sores, make sure you are finding ways to get these in your diet or supplement.
- Lastly, if you feel that you have a canker sore that keeps coming back in the same area multiple times, and no matter what you try, you cannot prevent it. You should consult your doctor or dentist.
- It might be an underlying illness is causing it that need to be treated before you can prevent it returning again. Or it might be something like you tooth or dental work needs addressed by the dentist to keep it from continuing to injure your mouth.
When to Call the Doctor
While it is usually not necessary to call your doctor or dentist when you get a canker sore, there are times that you might need to follow up with them. For instance, if your canker sore has not improved or worsened over the course of a couple weeks, call your doctor’s nurse line to see if you should come in to be seen.
If you are not able to swallow even soft foods and liquids, have a fever, or your canker sore seems to be coming and going, then skip calling the nurse line and schedule an acute care appointment with your doctor’s office right away. There may be some other underlying illness that needs to be treated.
In most cases, prescription medication is not needed, but for severe canker sores, a doctor can prescribe pain relief medicated oral rinses or steroids to help reduce the pain and inflammation and assist in the healing process.