Some of us know mouth sores and canker sores all too well. You feel one coming on and you know you’re doomed for a week of painful eating and brushing, and sometimes downright misery. But what remedies can treat these unwanted sores, and potentially prevent them from forming?

What Causes Mouth Sores?

Canker sores are small ulcers in the mouth that range from simple to complex and can be caused by a number of variables. In simple canker sores, they may occur up to 4 times a year and can last for up to a week. Complex canker sores may occur more often and typically form in people who have previously had them.
person with a canker soreAlthough the exact cause of mouth sores is unknown, stress, tissue injury and acidic foods are thought to cause the majority of these sores. In some cases of severe canker sores they are caused by underlying health conditions such as an impaired immune system, nutritional problem like vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron deficiency, or a gastrointestinal tract disease. These sores can also cause a fever, swollen lymph nodes or fatigue.

What Are Some Mouth Sore Remedies?

While canker sores typically heal on their own in a week or two, sometimes the pain is unbearable. Below are a few at home remedies you can try to relieve the pain without hindering its natural healing process:

  • Rinse your mouth with 1 teaspoon of baking soda in ½ a cup of warm water. Baking soda neutralizes acids while killing bacteria.
  • Dab aloe on your mouth sore fro sooth the pain. This first-aid plant may also help your sore heal faster.
  • Apply a damp tea bag to the sore for five minutes. Tea contains compounds that may help relieve pain and will neutralize acids that irritate the sore.
  • Squeeze some vitamin E on to the sore to help protect it from infection and help it heal more quickly
  • Drink a cup of licorice tea. It is supposed to be great for treating and eliminating canker sores.

If you have larger and persistent canker sores, your dentist may also give you an antimicrobial mouth rinse, a corticosteroid ointment, or prescribe an over-the-counter solution to reduce the pain and irritation.

Can I Prevent Mouth Sores?

You may be able to reduce the frequency in which a canker sore occurs by avoiding foods that irritate your mouth, brushing with a soft bristle toothbrush and flossing daily. Of course accidents happen, but avoiding biting and bumping your mouth can also prevent a mouth sore from forming.
Contact your dentist if your have unusually painful mouth sores, if they spread or if they cause a fever.