Canker sores can make the simplest of tasks very painful. Whether it be talking, eating, or even breathing, these sores can be a real nuisance to your daily routine.
So what exactly are canker sores? Those bumps that form on the inside of your mouth are small ulcers with a wide variety of causes. They can pop up on your tongue, cheek, lip, or the throat. They usually look like little craters forming inside your mouth and are just as physically painful as they are unattractive. They can range from about 3-10mm in diameter and tend to be more painful as they get bigger.
A common confusion people make is that they confuse cankers with cold sores. Cold sores are actually contagious blisters that are caused by the herpes virus, which typically show up on the outside of the mouth. Those are often less painful, but have serious underlying causes.
If it turns out you do have a cold sore, you’re probably going to want to get rid of that sucker as fast as possible. In this article, we’ll break down some of the best ways to get rid of canker sores, and quickly.
1. Stay safe!
A simple blow to the mouth area could cause a canker sore that lasts for weeks. The impact that causes cold sores varies from person to person, so some might be more likely to get them than others. Try taking the high road before getting into the next fist fight, and you might save yourself from a black eye as well.
Something as routine as brushing your teeth too hard can also cause cankers if you have fairly weak gums. Try investing in a toothbrush with very soft bristles that will not irritate your gums.
2. Cut back on acidic foods
Eating highly acidic foods like fruit or spices can cause enough inflammation for a canker sore to form, or can make an already existing one much more painful. If canker sores are a consistent problem for you, you may want to cut these out of your diet completely.
3. Follow a diet
If you’re lacking in iron, folate, or vitamin B12, you might be more likely to get cankers than others. Keeping a healthy diet is a great way to keep those canker sores away, and experience the other benefits of a healthy diet.
Dark, leafy greens are excellent ways to up your intake of these vitamins, and have numerous other health benefits as well. Try adding these into your diet wherever possible.
4. Relax a little
Among many other negative effects, high emotional stress can lead to the creation of more canker sores. The exact reason why has not been determined, but evidence points towards them contributing to the pain. Finding ways to relax will not only help rid you of canker sores, but also help with your overall mood.
Some common and healthy forms of relaxation include yoga, meditation, exercise, or spending time with loved ones. Find what works best for you and stick with it!
The weird thing with smoking cigarettes and canker sores is that smoking in moderation can cause more ulcers than in non-smokers, and heavy smoking can cause fewer ulcers than in non-smokers.
However, we are not suggesting that you start smoking a pack a day. That is bound to give you much worse symptoms than a few minor canker sores ever would.
There are several creams available in most pharmacies that are used to reduce the inflammation and pain of cold sores. Most of the time, this means they go away faster too.
There are also mouthwashes and oral rinses on the market that advertise they have the power to get rid of canker sores. The problem with this is that so many different things cause canker sores; it’s hard for any one product to target all those issues at once.
Sometimes if your problem is serious enough, doctors will prescribe a mild steroid solution to help get rid of them. Numbing solutions can also be applied directly to help ease the pain you might have while eating; just be careful not to swallow any of the freezing.
7. Natural solutions
Perhaps one of the most effective (and painful) solutions is the warm salt-water rinse. The salt-water does its job by taking out the liquid that causes the swelling. Unfortunately, this usually hurts quite a bit when you do it, but the results are usually worth the temporary pain.
A much simpler (and tastier) solution is to eat a good amount of plain yogurt with live culture ingredients. Eating this kind of plain yogurt helps to balance out the bacteria content in your mouth. A high amount of bacteria in the mount can sometimes cause the ulcers to appear, so keeping the levels neutral is a good way to help.
Canker sores also typically go away after about 10 days. If you feel like you can deal with the inconvenience for that time period or don’t feel like going to the pharmacy to buy anything, you can just wait it out.
8. See the doctor
Like many other bacterial infections, canker sores can sometimes be an early indicator of further problems. If you find a time where you seem to have more cankers appearing than normal and have a fever in tow, see your doctor.
These ulcers should also typically go away by themselves after 7-10 days. If they stick around for more than 2-3 weeks, it may be worthwhile getting them checked out.
If you are concerned that your canker sore might actually be a cold sore, it doesn’t hurt to go check with your doctor. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and they might give you something to soothe the pain anyways.
There are so many causes of canker sores that it can be hard to determine what the best treatment is. Experiment with a few of the options on this list and see what works for you best so you can get back to eating in peace!