Anyone who has dealt with canker sores knows what a problem they can be. This medical condition is best described as sores or swelled areas that are white in color and surrounded by redness.
They are often mistaken for cold sores, which come from the herpes virus. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious, but they can recur. For some, it is an ongoing problem that can make it difficult to eat, speak, and go out in public.
What Are Canker Sores?
There are two varieties of canker sores that many people experience. The first is the simple version. This type of canker sore often shows up three to four times annually. They are more likely to occur in children and young adults ages 10 to 20.
The second version is the complex canker sore. This type is not as common and is more likely to appear in patients who have had canker sores in the past.
Canker Sore Causes
The first step in understanding how to deal with canker sores is knowing what brings them on. The reality is that we do not know the root cause of most canker sores. There are a few possibilities that may relate to your situation.
Some have simple one-time causes while others may be an indication of an ongoing medical condition.
A vitamin deficiency can do a lot of harm to various parts of the body. If you notice canker sores, you may lacking vitamin B-12. This is especially true in children who require more B-12 than the average adult while they grow.
Diet can also influence vitamin levels in the body. Adults and children who aren’t eating a balanced diet each day may experience canker sores more often than those who have healthy, well-balanced eating habits.
B-12 isn’t the only thing the body gets out of a healthy diet. Other minerals and vitamins are needed. When they aren’t there or are not available in high enough quantities, you could experience canker sores.
Nutritional deficiencies that could bring on this condition include a lack of calcium, iron, zinc, and folic acid. Inadequate calcium can make an existing situation even worse. The best way to avoid this canker sore cause is to eat right each day.
An Injury to the Area
An injury in or around the mouth can also cause canker sores. When the area is frequently impacted or brushed, tissue damage can cause inflammation.
This is sometimes the case in individuals who are required to wear dental equipment like braces. Strong mouthwash and similar products can also cause canker sores.
All dental equipment should be properly fitted and the mouth should be kept clean and injury-free.
High Levels of Stress
Stress is believed to be another cause of canker sores. That includes physical stress on the body as well as emotional stress.
You may be surprised to learn how much of an impact your mental and emotional state can have on your physical body. It’s an important part of health and well being that should not be overlooked.
Contact With Citrus Fruits
You know those delicious fruits you love like oranges, lemons, and pineapples? Beware! They could be the cause of your canker sores. Citrus fruit is acidic which can bring on sores or make existing sores worse.
The fruit itself doesn’t bring on the sore, but can help cause it when injury or stress is present. When you have a canker sore, make sure you avoid citrus fruits as well as apples, tomatoes, figs, and strawberries.
Compromised Immune System
Your immune system is your body’s key defense against infection and bacteria. When you have a compromised immune system, you are more likely to experience canker sores.
There is not a direct correlation between a poor immune system and canker sores yet, but the fact your body cannot repair itself like it should is a contributing factor.
Medical Conditions & Diseases
Some medical conditions and diseases can put you at a higher risk of developing canker sores. These include Celiac disease, Behcet’s disease, HIV, AIDS, and inflammatory diseases of the bowel like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
While you may not be able to get rid of the condition, the best way to try and avoid canker sores is to manage your health as best you can.
Canker Sore Symptoms
The most obvious symptom of a canker sore is the noticeable appearance of the sore itself. There are actually other symptoms you may experience that indicate you are dealing with a canker sore. They include:
- Painful spots on the tongue, inside the cheek, or on the soft palate
- Unexplained burning or tingling feeling that happens prior to the sore appearing
There are also a few symptoms to watch out for in severe cases. They include:
- Feeling sluggish
- Swelling in the lymph nodes
Canker Sore Relief
The first thing anyone with a canker sore wants to know is how to get rid of it. It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, so the faster the cure works the better.
The good news is that most cases will go away on their own without the help of a medical professional.
Here are a few things you can do to help speed up the process and bring relief:
Diet & Dental Care
Avoid any food that will irritate your sore, including spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and anything that is acidic. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss daily to prevent food buildup that could irritate or cause a flare up.
Apply Aloe Vera
If you prefer a natural solution, Aloe Vera is known as a remedy for canker sores. It is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Just apply the gel extracted from a fresh Aloe Vera leaf directly to the sore.
This should be done several times each day until the problem subsides. You can also use Aloe Vera juice to rinse your mouth out.
Honey is another great natural remedy that has many uses. It is antibacterial and has antiseptic properties. To use, take one teaspoon of honey and apply it your canker sores. You may notice pain for several minutes.
Don’t worry as it will go away along with the inflammation. Do this several times each day.
For sores that are in the mouth, combine a teaspoon of honey with ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder and apply the paste to the area. Rinse with lukewarm water when done. This method should be done twice a day.
Use Baking Soda
Grab some baking soda from the kitchen. Spoon one teaspoon into a bowl then add a small quantity of water to form a thick paste. Apply to the area and leave on for a few minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water.
This can be done 3 to 4 times each day.
Salt the Sores
Some patients like to use salt to pull fluid out of the canker sore for faster healing. To use this method, combine a teaspoon of salt with a cup of lukewarm water and stir. Use this to thoroughly rinse your mouth out for a minimum of 30 seconds.
Then put a pinch of salt on the sore. This may hurt, but will help you heal. Do this four to five times each day.
If you have some chamomile tea in your pantry, you can use it to reduce your canker sores. Take one chamomile tea bag and soak in water for a minute. You can also use dried chamomile flowers wrapped in cheesecloth.
Apply the soaked teabag to the canker sore for five to ten minutes. This should be repeated twice each day.
Canker Sore Relief Medical Help for Canker Sores
A majority of canker sores can be treated at home and will eventually fade away on their own. There are some instances that may require the assistance of a dentist or medical professional.
If you have unusually large sores or sores that continue spreading, seek assistance.
You should also get professional advice if you experience severe pain even when avoiding foods that trigger canker sores and/or when taking over-the-counter medication for pain.
High fever, difficulty drinking, and canker sores that last more than three weeks should be treated by a physician or dentist.
Canker Sore Relief Review Summary
There is no guaranteed way to avoid canker sores or to instantly get rid of them once they appear. They are going to happen, but there are things you can do to manage and minimize the symptoms.
Eat right and maintain a healthy lifestyle with good hygiene and proper dental care. If you have a medical condition or disease, make sure you are aware of the potential side effects which could include canker sores.
Seek medical treatment should you notice signs of a severe problem or one that doesn’t go away in a reasonable amount of time.
Canker sores are unsightly, but they don’t have to rule your life. Changes can be made to lower your risk of an outbreak. You can find canker sore relief fast by using any of the natural home remedies listed above.
Be proactive to keep your mouth happy, healthy, and free of painful canker sores!