Canker sores are those sores that occur on the inside your mouth with a grayish rim. The cause is unknown but stress, nutrition and allergies are capable of triggering these oval nuisances. Lasting only one to two weeks, canker sores tend to heal on their own, without the aid of medications. If they become unbearable, some medications and home treatments can soothe and heal canker sores.
An over-the-counter numbing agent like Orajel and Anbesol applied topically can relieve the pain. For large, painful and severe canker sores, your physician may prescribe a corticosteroid to provide pain relief and relieve inflammation. Alternatively, the antibiotic tetracycline may be given as a mouth rinse. One caveat is that antibiotics like tetracycline increase your risk of developing oral thrush, a painful fungal infection that cause mouth sores. According to the Mayo Clinic, Tagamet (cimetidine), a heartburn medication, can double as a treatment for stubborn canker sores as well.
Other people find a homemade half-and-half combination of Milk of Magnesia and Benadryl Allergy Liquid helpful. Swish 1 tsp. of this concoction in your mouth for one minute and then spit it out. When repeated every four to six hours, this helps your canker sore become less painful. Applying Milk of Magnesia directly to the sore also speeds healing.
If you have to apply the medicine to the sore, use a cotton swab. Wait for at least 30 minutes before eating food, to allow time for the medicine to work and prevent the medicine from washing away.
If you’ve developed a canker sore before, you will likely to develop them again. Reduce the rate of recurrence by avoiding certain types of foods. Foods that might aggravate canker sores include pretzels, chips, oranges, pineapples and peppers. It all depends on the individual. A well-balanced diet also prevents canker sores, as nutrient deficiencies like a lack of iron, zinc and folic acid contribute to canker sores in the mouth. Check the ingredients in your toothpaste. SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), an ingredient found in some toothpastes, may irritate the mouth, contributing to the development of canker sores.
You should contact a physician if your canker sore is larger than 1 cm. Canker sores should not last longer than three weeks or occur more than three times a year. A high fever and difficulty eating should also be discussed with your physician.