Who has time to be uncomfortable? You know you have a serious problem when you can’t even eat food without feeling pain. Canker sores are a serious annoyance and can make simple tasks such as talking difficult to accomplish.
Simply put, cankers are small ulcers that grow inside the mouth from a variety of sources. 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 3-10 millimetres in diameter and tend to be more painful as they get grow in size.
A common confusion people make is mixing up canker sores with cold sores. Cold sores are actually contagious blisters that are caused by the herpes virus and typically show up on the outside of the mouth. Those are typically less painful, but have serious underlying causes.
With no definite cause, it can be hard to track down a specific solution to getting rid of your canker sores. In this case, the best approach is to use as many preventative measures as possible.
1. Keep a healthy diet.
Foods high in acidity can cause more canker sores to sprout up. The main cause from that is the direct contact of the acids to your mouth area, so changing fruits for dietary supplements can be a good way to shut down canker sores while staying healthy in the process.
If you’re lacking in iron, folate, or vitamin B12, you might be more prone to cankers than others. Dark, leafy greens are excellent ways to increase your intake of these vitamins, and have numerous other health benefits as well. Adding additional vitamin B12, iron, and folate to your diet can also help your mouth recover faster, and prevent more cankers from growing.
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.
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.
3. 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.
There are many causes of canker sores, so narrowing down the reason can be very difficult. The best preventative measure is usually a full-body approach, or trying to change all of your bad habits to healthier ones.
4. Watch your head!
A simple blow to the mouth area could cause a canker sore. The impact that causes cold sores varies on an individual basis, so some might be more likely to get them than others.
Something as routine as brushing your teeth too hard can also cause cankers if you have fairly weak gums. Use brushes with light bristles, and make sure not to press too hard.
5. Watch your fruits.
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. Try and avoid these foods in your diet to help you get rid of your canker sores.
6. Chill out.
Among many other negative effects, high emotional stress can lead to the formation 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.
7. Ditch the habit.
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.
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, so if they persist 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. Always better to be safe than sorry, and they might give you something to soothe the pain anyways. It might seem that there’s about as many forms of treatment as there are causes for canker sores, so try experimenting with several treatments to see what works best for you.