Canker sores are commonly known as mouth sores or aphthous stomatitis and are considered to be small white lesions that tend to appear in the mouth of an individual. They come about as a result of viral infection and are mostly present on the tongue, cheeks and inner lips of the mouth. In case there is an outbreak, various lesions could be produced of various sizes and types making them last for several days and months before going away. It is important to note that these mouth sores are of different types i.e. minor, major and herpetiform. Minor canker sores are the most common and measures three millimeters to one centimeter; major sores are bigger and deeper measuring one millimeter to three centimeters in diameter and lastly, herpetiform sores which appear in masses. Since the sores are painful, they can easily prevent the sufferers from eating or even engaging in their day to day chores.
Causes of Canker Sores
The precise cause of canker sores is not known but it is believed that the sores develop especially if the immune system is weak. Additionally, if an individual comes into contact with specific allergens, they may cause the sores. There are some factors that contribute to the development of these sores and they include the following:
- Stress- If an individual is under stress for a prolonged period of time, it can result to development of canker sores.
- Hormonal imbalances in the body contribute to development of these sores.
- Physical trauma to the tissues in the mouth can cause the sores especially if not well taken care of.
- Poor nutrition plays a major role in causing these sores in the mouth. As such, it is important to stick to a healthy diet to prevent the sores from developing.
- There are some viruses and bacteria that are believed to cause the sores in the mouth and it is the reason why they are associated with HIV infection or AIDS.
- Taking certain medications can as well cause the sores developing in the mouth.
Symptoms of Canker Sores
Just like any other condition, canker sores are identified by various symptoms. Most of the symptoms can be confused as those of a herpes infection. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- Presence of red sores having white coatings in the mouth is the most common symptom. They attack the mouth, inside of the cheeks, lips, under the tongue and at the base of the gums. It is important to note that the sores are extremely white at the center with red edges around them.
- An individual may experience excruciating pain especially if the sores are touched and this may in turn make it hard and uncomfortable for the individual to eat.
- Tingling or a burning sensation where the sore is or is to be is another clear indication of canker sores.
- There are times when one may have a high fever accompanied with swollen lymph nodes or even listlessness that may not go away quickly.
Canker Sore Home Remedies
When it comes to canker sores, it is imperative to note that you can easily get rid of them using home based, medical or herbal based remedies even though how they develop is not yet known. However, you need to identify the type that you have in order to use the best remedy for it. Keep reading to learn of the home remedies that can be used to help with canker sores. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Goldenseal or Calendula Tea- Use either of these to make tea by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried herb and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain it to leave the liquid alone and use this to gurgle. It is an effective and reliable way of treating canker sores. This tea should be used 3 to 4 times daily for effective results.
- Cankerroot or Goldthread- The plant got its name due to the ability to treat canker sores. It was largely used by early settlers and American Indians to make tea for the purpose of treating not only canker sores but sore throats as well. The root of the plant can be chewed also for treatment purposes.
- Myrrh- It contains high tannins amount and when powdered, it is an effective herbal remedy. Herbalists suggest a mixture of 200 to 300 mg herbal extract mixed in warm water should be swished around the mouth 2 to 3 times a day. Alternatively, you can also open the capsule dab the powder directly on the sores.
- Tea- Regular tea is also high in tannins and you should place a used tea bag on the sores to get relief. Alternatively, make tea using herbs that have high tannin such as St John’s wort, Eucalyptus, peppermint, raspberry, bearberry and licorice and gurgle to get relief.
- Sage- Strong sage tea comes in handy in treating inflammations and sores and to make this tea, you should use 2 tsp of herbs per cup of boiling water. Steep it and use the mixture to furgle.
- Chamomile- It has a soothing effect on the mucous membranes and this includes the lining of the mouth. In addition to this, it also has some healing properties and it should be used 3 to 4 times a day.
- Using Wet Black Tea Bag: Take a wet black tea bag and apply it gently to the canker sore. Leave it on the site for some minutes and because the tea bag contains tannic acid, it will help ease the pain while at the same time providing the cure you need.
- Counter Pain Relievers: There are some pain relievers that are sold over the counter and one can use them in alleviating the pain. For instance, there are capsules known as acidophilus which need to be taken 3-4 times a day to provide relief. Others include alcohol, camphor and menthol which come in liquid/gel forms.
- Alum: This is a kind of herbal spice that can be used to apply on the affected area so as to alleviate pain. However, alum may burn especially once applied on the affected area but with time, it will dispel. Later on, you will be required to rinse your mouth with water and you need to repeat this 2-3 times on regular basis.
- Tea Tree Oil: This is a kind of home remedy that you can use in relieving pain caused by canker sores. The best thing is that, this kind of tea contains powerful antibacterial properties which are very effective in curing the sores. All you need to do is to mix 1 part of tea tree oil with about 9 oz. of water then use it as a mouth rinse. Since it works as a disinfectant, using it effectively will provide you with the best results.
- Solution of Salt Water: Among the home remedies for canker sores, using a solution of salt water to rinse your mouth is the most common and the simplest as well. All you need to do is to mix 1 tablespoon of salt with warm water and then use the solution to rinse your mouth as much as you can. To get the best results, you are advised to rinse your mouth with the solution 2-3 times a day and the salt will in turn play a role in drying up the canker sores.
- Baking Soda: You need to use baking soda to rinse your mouth once you have mixed it with about 8 parts of warm water. Gargle the solution gently in your mouth and in turn it will provide you with the relief that you need. If you use this solution effectively throughout the day, the canker sores will wane within twenty four hours.
- Yoghurt: Even though it might sound weird to you, there is no doubt that yoghurt can be used as a remedy for canker sores because it has acidophilus. However, it is important to ensure that it has live cultures first so that it can be most effective in ridding of the sores. It helps in balancing bacteria that is in the mouth and body as well.
- Piece of Onion: Take a small piece of onion and place it gently on the affected site for some minutes. This should directly be placed so that the sores can be provided with the best remedy promoting their healing.
- Liquid Antacids: They have a protective coating which is formed on the sores and this in turn helps in promoting their healing. All you need to do is to swish a little amount in your mouth so as to help ease the pain.
It is important to note that these remedies do not necessarily offer a guarantee of effective results simply because most of them are home based remedies. As such, it is important to consult your doctor as soon as the canker sores persist to be provided with other medical based treatments.
Diet for Canker Sores
A healthy diet is very important when it comes to curing canker sores. It is important though to be careful on the foods that you choose to include in your diet. Read on to learn more.
- Your diet should include bland foods as this will not cause any irritation on the sores. Foods that are spicy or acidic will surely cause irritation on the sores and this will in turn disrupt their healing process.
- Your diet should include nutritional supplements as this will help your body to heal faster. This is because it has all the nutrients that are required for recovery. It is important though to talk to your physician first so that he can provide you with a list of all the nutrients that are missing in your body.
- The diet that you take should not have iron supplements as this will aggravate development of canker sores.
- Ensure that your diet has essential amino acid as this will in turn help in promoting tissue health while at the same time speeding up the healing of the sores. In addition to this, both vitamin C and B should be included in your diet so as to promote quick and fast recovery process.
Prevention of Canker Sores
Even though there are various canker sore treatments and remedies that are readily available today, it is important to start an early prevention which is considered to be the best solution for canker sores. Here is some of the best prevention for this condition.
- In case you have high stress levels, it is imperative to try as much as you can to reduce the levels. This is because high levels of stress can easily increase amounts of these sores. You can engage in stress relief activities on daily basis especially if you live a stressful life.
- Ensure that your immune system has been improved as this will enable you to have an opportunity of handling many sicknesses inclusive of canker sores.
- The other prevention is by making g sure that you get 7-8 hours of sleep every night to keep the sores at bay.
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