Canker sores are actually considered to be small ulcers. They form in the mouth, and while they aren’t contagious or harmful, they can cause discomfort. This can make it hard to talk or eat. They will eventually go away on their own but, due to the pain they can cause, many people want to know hot to get rid of canker sores fast at home.
Canker sores are the most common type of mouth ulcers. To identify whether or not you have one, it’s important to know what to look for. They will appear as either white or yellow ulcers. Usually, they’re found just inside the lip, or inside the cheek. The tissue surrounding them is typically inflamed and can appear red.
Treatment is not always needed. Treatment is usually sought to alleviate pain. Because canker sores are so common, many proven treatments will relieve the discomfort that they cause and speed up the healing process. These range from tried-and-trusted home remedies, to medications suggested by a doctor. It all depends on the severity and pain that they cause.
In this article, we’ll go over what causes them, and how to get rid of canker sores quickly and easily. If you want to read the review of our top pick, Durham’s Canker-Rid, click on the link. We’ll also cover some common misconceptions about mouth ulcers, and compare them to cold sores.
What Are the Causes of Canker Sores?
Canker sores are not contagious and are not caused by a virus or specific bacteria. To understand the causes of canker sores, it’s important to know that there are two distinct types: Simple canker sores and complex canker sores. They are both believed to be caused by potentially different things. So, knowing the difference can make it easier to avoid the common causes.
Simple Mouth Sores
Simple canker sores are the most common. They typically occur in people between the ages of 10 and 20, but anyone can get them. They usually only happen a few times a year and will go away on their own in a few days. Though, some can take up to a week to heal. While there is no exact cause known for this type of sore, some of the most agreed-upon triggers and causes include:
- Tissue injury
- Certain foods – acidic fruits and vegetables
- Sharp or ill-fitting dental appliances
As you can see, circumstances and lifestyle choices are the main contributors for this type of inflammation and discomfort. Sometimes they will show up for what appears to be ‘no reason.’ However, because many of these triggers are preventable, keeping track of them and lowering your risk can make you less prone to experiencing this particular type of canker sore.
Complex Mouth Sores
They are less common for most people. However, complex canker sores tend to occur more frequently in people who have had them previously, or people who have certain underlying health conditions. Some of these conditions associated with complex sores are:
- Weakened immune system
- Vitamin or nutritional deficiencies
- Gastrointestinal diseases or conditions
Complex sores can occur at any age, but the source behind them can be more serious than simple canker sores. It’s important to treat whatever underlying condition may be causing the complex sores before focusing on the ulcer itself. If you find that you’re prone to canker sores, or they keep showing up frequently, you may want to talk to your doctor about treatment options.
If there is a health condition that is contributing to the ulcers, one of the best things to do is give your immune system a boost. Talking to a doctor about your symptoms is a great way to get on the right track. Not only can they help to treat the health conditions, but they can give you some answers and relief options for the mouth sores.
What Are the Symptoms of Mouth Ulcers?
If you’ve never had a canker sore before, or you’re not sure how to identify one, look for the following symptoms:
- Either a single or multiple sores in the back of your mouth, on the tongue, or inside the lip. They could also appear inside the cheek, and will usually be easily noticeable and painful.
- They may show up as a singular circle, or you may experience a small group or clump of them in one location.
- Tingling sensation in a specific area of the mouth before a canker sore appears. Once you become familiar with this sensation after many sores, it’s a perfect time to start treatment right away. It can help to relieve pain faster, and speed up the healing time.
- Ulcers in the mouth that look white, yellow, or grayish in color. They may also have an inflamed border. Swelling, redness, and inflammation are common with this type of oral lesion.
Some people also experience extreme symptoms. These include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
If you experience any of these more severe symptoms, even if you don’t immediately associate them with mouth ulcers, contact a doctor.
Canker Sores vs. Cold Sores
It can be important to know the difference between a canker sore and a cold sore. The two types of mouth sores often get confused with one another. However, the causes of each are different, as are the treatment solutions.
A cold sore is extremely contagious, and while it also can go away on its own, it usually requires a tougher treatment to heal it completely. Canker sores are not contagious, but painful. So, how can you tell the difference?
- Canker sores will appear as ovals that are white or yellow in color and occur inside the mouth. They are typically surrounded by a red circle, and can almost look swollen.
- Cold sores look more like pimples outside the mouth. They are fluid-filled blisters that eventually burst open, crust over, and start to heal. During that healing time, however, they can be very painful and cause even bigger problems if they bleed. They are also contagious to anyone who already has the herpes simplex virus. Sharing drinks, utensils, or coming in direct contact with someone who has a cold sore can put you at risk for one.
- Cold sores are caused by a virus. While they have multiple triggers that can cause flare-ups, it’s that underlying viral cause that makes them very different from canker sores, which aren’t related to any virus.
The best way to differentiate between a cold sore or canker sore is to look at where the actual sore is located – inside or outside the mouth, and the color, size, and shape. Keep in mind that both types of sores will likely be painful, but one is far more serious than the other.
One is also extremely contagious, while the other is not. To avoid spreading a virus to your friends and family, it’s important to know what type of oral problem you’re experiencing.
How to Treat Canker Sores with Medicine
Because canker sores aren’t usually serious, it’s not usually necessary for a doctor to prescribe any medication to heal them. In some cases, dentists or doctors may perform a cautery of the sores. This consists of using a specific tool or chemical agent to burn or destroy the tissue being affected by the sores.
Your doctor may also prescribe supplements of vitamins if they believe a deficiency may be contributing to the frequency or intensity of canker sores. Some of the common supplement prescriptions doctors can prescribe for this are folic acid, Vitamin B12, and zinc.
Over-the-counter solutions are much more popular for getting rid of canker sores. Most treatments include different types of pastes, mouth rinses, gels, or patches. The ingredients used in many of these over-the-counter treatments usually focus more on pain relief.
Since mouth sores on the inside of the mouth aren’t really visible to anyone else, it’s the pain and discomfort that people want to focus on first. However, some of the products do also speed up the overall healing time.
Medications that include antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties are usually the best for mouth ulcers. They can create a type of shield over the sore that protects it from the rest of the mouth and protects the mouth from the pain it causes.
When Should I See a Doctor?
In most cases, you won’t have to see a doctor or dentist about mouth ulcers. However, there are some exceptions:
- Ulcers that begin to spread
- Pain or visible sores that last longer than three weeks
- Extreme difficulty eating or drinking
- Intolerable pain
Durham’s Canker-Rid for Mouth Sores
One of the best over-the-counter treatments for canker sores is Durham’s Canker-Rid. Unlike many other remedies, it uses 100% pure ingredients. The main healing and pain-relieving ingredient is propolis, which is a bee product.
Propolis helps the treatment to stick to the sore without the risk of the medication washing away from saliva. This popular bee product has been used for years as a pain relieving product. However, it can also help to speed up the healing time of a mouth sore. Some people even suggest if you use it at the first symptoms of a canker sore, it can essentially stop the pain before it starts. The benefits of propolis in this treatment include:
- It’s a heavy resin, designed to stay on the painful area for a long time. This helps to create a strong seal that can protect your mouth from pain.
- Because the resin is so heavy and strong, it gives the treatment time to penetrate into the skin, and encourage healing.
In most cases, just one treatment is needed to stop the pain. If you have a larger sore, it may take two or three uses to find complete relief.
With more and more people turning toward natural products for their health, Durham’s has offered a great solution for reducing pain from mouth ulcers. Because it’s natural, there are no harsh or negative side effects. You can be pain-free without any extra risk.
For more information, check out our in-depth review of Durham’s Canker-Rid.
Types of Natural & Organic Remedies
Again, the most pressing thing people tend to look for when healing a canker sore is getting rid of the pain. However, because they aren’t contagious or likely to cause more problems, many people look toward home remedies for pain relief.
If you find that you’re more prone to canker sores regularly, an OTC solution or something prescribed by your doctor may be the best option. Those products are designed to reduce pain and heal sores faster.
However, if you only experience these painful lesions once in a while, knowing that you can find relief with things you probably already have at home can offer peace of mind. Let’s cover a few of the most popular home remedies for getting rid of canker sores at home.
Chamomile Tea Bag
Chamomile tea can do more than just make you relaxed – it can also help to reduce pain and inflammation. It has also been shown to have antiseptic properties. These two characteristics make it a great solution for pain relief.
To use a chamomile tea bag on your canker sore, soak the bag in fresh water for about one minute. Then, place it directly on the sore for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat the dosage twice daily for relief from discomfort and inflammation.
Coconut oil continues to grow in popularity throughout the natural health world. It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, making it the perfect solution for painful mouth ulcers. To use, simply dab a fair amount of coconut oil directly onto the sore. You want to make sure to create a relatively thick layer on the sore, or it will wash off with saliva. The oil will slowly begin to melt into the inflamed area and help to soothe the pain.
Salt Water Rinse
Salt is often used for many oral problems as a way to reduce severe pain. For canker sores, not only can it help to take away the pain, but it can speed up healing. There are multiple ways to complete salt rinses. Some even include additional ingredients. However, if you want to try a salt water rinse at home with ingredients you likely already have on hand, do the following:
- Mix one teaspoon of table salt with one cup of warm water.
- Swish the solution around your mouth for one full minute.
- Spit out the rinse.
You can repeat this a few times each day, as needed. These rinses are popular because salt helps to draw fluid out of the sore. This allows it to heal faster.
Are Canker Sores Preventable?
One thing canker sores have in common with cold sores is that they aren’t 100% preventable. There is no cure for them, and they will often recur throughout your lifetime. However, there are things you can do to reduce their severity and frequency. Try the following tips:
- Avoid trigger foods. Things like citrus fruits or acidic and spicy foods can irritate the mouth and cause a flare-up. There is a connection between canker sores and a gluten intolerance.
- Be aware of how you eat. They can often be caused by sudden trauma to the mouth, like a sharp tooth. Chew slowly and carefully to avoid injuries and reduce your overall risk. Chewing gum can also cause irritation. If you’re prone to outbreaks, avoid chewing it often.
- Reduce stress and anxiety. This can feel easier said than done, but practicing types of stress-relieving techniques may help to reduce flare-ups. Stress has also been linked to cold sore outbreaks, so by lowering anxiety levels, you could be preventing more than one oral issue.
- Practice good oral health. By keeping your teeth brushed with a soft-bristled brush, and flossed regularly, you lower the risk of potential food particles getting stuck. Sometimes, these particles can cause irritation and trigger a canker sore to appear.
Can I Cure Canker Sores?
Unfortunately, there is no current cure to get rid of canker sores completely. A cure may become accessible if we are ever able to pinpoint exactly what causes these mouth ulcers. Until then, solutions that alleviate the pain can be helpful.
By using the treatments in this article, you can reduce the severity and pain of mouth sores. Take the extra preventative steps to cut back on the intensity and frequency of outbreaks. With the right precautionary resources, canker sores don’t have to be so unbearable.