Canker sores are medically known by the name aphthous ulcers. These are tiny sores that occur on the inner side of the lips and cheeks, on or beneath the tongue and at the gum base. The canker sores have a white-gray or yellow center that is surrounded by a red border. Generally, it measures 3-5 mm in diameter. The most painful stage of these sores lasts for about 3-5 days and they normally disappear in about 10 days.
These sores are different from the cold sores that are usually caused due to herpes simplex. Unlike cold sores, canker sore is not infectious. There are various factors that can lead to the development of canker sores. They also point towards a problem in the immune system. Fortunately, they are only a short-term misery, which could be treated with the help of home remedies.
Home Remedies for Canker Sores
Various scientific researches support the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of garlic (botanical name is Allium Sativum). This perennial plant is native to central Asia and has narrow, long leaves with small purple or pink flowers. The bulb, which has about 10-20 cloves has been used extensively in both medicine and food since 2000 BC. Garlic can alleviate canker sores and help in curing them quickly.
The canker sores can be covered with a healing and protective paste that is prepared using baking soda. This simple and effective remedy will help in getting rid of the pain due to sores. The paste is done by mixing baking soda with water until you get a thin paste-like texture. The measurements of the ingredients will vary, as it depends on the number of canker sores that you are treating. This is applied on the affected area using a cotton swab. As the cotton swab has a soft tip it will minimize the pain during the application.
Honey and Coconut Milk
A mixture of coconut milk and honey could be used to get relief from mild to moderate canker sores. The mixture is prepared by using coconut milk (1/4 cup) and honey (2 – 3 tbsp). Dip a clean cloth or your finger in the mixture and rub the solution gently on the affected area at least 3 times in a day. The remaining mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
Basil leaves are used to treat a number of ailments including canker sores. Chew the leaves and later rinse with water. The process can be repeated for 6 times in a day. This remedy is being used for generations to get relief from pain and inflammation due to mild mouth ulcers.
This is another tried and tested method to relieve the pain due to sores. The paste prepared by using gooseberry root bark powder (1 tsp) and honey (1 tsp) is applied on the affected area to get relief.
The presence of lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria in yogurt helps in preventing the outbreaks of canker sores. Therefore daily consumption of yogurt is quite beneficial. However, ensure that the yogurt does not consist of an active culture.
A dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide could be used to swish around the mouth, which helps in relieving pain and heals the sores. Warm water and hydrogen peroxide are mixed to form a solution. Ensure that the mixture is not swallowed. Children, who can’t swish the mixture in their mouth, can apply a diluted amount of peroxide to the sore using a cotton swab.
Black Tea Bags
Moist black tea bags could be used to treat canker sores. The tea bag can be placed over the sore for a couple of minutes. The tannins present in the tea works as an astringent, which encourages the healing of sores.
Use plum juice (1-2 tbsp) as mouth wash. Rinse with the juice for 2-3 minutes or soak a cotton ball in the juice and place it on the sore for a couple of minutes.
Alum is found in all grocery stores in the spice section. Apply alum to the affected area. This will quickly relieve pain. Although, the treatment is quite effective in healing the sores, the person can experience a burning sensation when it is applied, but this is only for a couple of minutes. You can use water to rinse your mouth and repeat the procedure twice a day.
Although the sores may not disappear by applying ice, it will surely make you feel better. You can simply hold an ice cube against the sore or rinse with ice cold water.
The Aloe Vera plant is used to cure a number of ailments, as it has powerful curative properties. Aloe Vera juice is extracted from the inner part of the leaf. This is used to rinse the mouth several times in a day, which can heal the sores.
Homemade Rinse Solution
You can use a combination of baking soda (1 tsp), hydrogen peroxide (2 ounces) and salt (1 tsp) to prepare a mixture, which could be used to rinse your mouth 4 times every day. In case, you find the taste to be too strong or the tingling sensation is uncomfortable, dilute it using two ounces of water.
The capsaicin in cayenne provides a temporary relief by desensitizing the nerves, which causes pain. Cayenne pepper is one of the ingredients in the candy recipes that are used to relieve the pain caused by canker sores. As capsaicin can cause irritation in some people, it must be used cautiously.
Mylanta or Milk of Magnesia
This solution is used to cure canker sores. It is swished around the mouth, which adds a protective cover to the sores. Both have antibacterial properties. Besides these, copper sulfate can be applied directly on the sore. It causes a burning sensation for some time, but the treatment works well. Copper sulfate is known for its astringent property and cures the sores in about two days.
A prescribed amount of ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin can help in relieving pain, especially if the sores interfere with eating. However, aspirin is not recommended for those under 19 years. Also, if you are breastfeeding or pregnant, you need to consult a physician before taking on the counter medications.
Other Home Remedies
Sorrel relieves the pain that is usually associated with canker sores and heals them quickly. Place a sorrel piece against the sore and wait till it becomes soggy and wet. Tea Tree oil (10%) is mixed with water (90%) and used to rinse the mouth 1 or 2 times a day. As tea tree oil is an excellent skin disinfectant, it helps in curing the sores quickly. Boil sage leaves (3 tsp) in boiling water (1 pint). Steep for about 15 minutes and use the solution to rinse the mouth several times in a day. Alternatively, you can apply the sage leaf powder to the affected area.