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Any red, yellow or white sore inside your mouth that causing pain?
Well, that might be a canker sore, also known as a mouth ulcer. Please read this article to find out how to cure mouth ulcers fast naturally.
What is it Exactly?
Canker sores, commonly known as mouth ulcers, are a medical condition which results in one or more painful sores on the gums, tongue, inner lips, throat, or roof of the mouth. A mouth sore develops on the soft tissue lining inside the mouth.
Why do Mouth Ulcers Occur?
Mouth ulcers might result from badly fitting dentures or sharp teeth. Other causes include cuts and burns while eating or drinking- for instance, hot drinks or hard food.
Food intolerance, allergy, and damaging your gums with a hard toothbrush or irritating toothpaste (that contains sodium lauryl sulphate) might also be the reason for this canker sore. Eating sour foods or accidentally biting the cheeks or tongue are other reasons.
Researchers have recently concluded that there is a link between mental health and oral health, implying that stress might also cause mouth ulcers.
Studies have proven that certain foods trigger mouth ulcers. These include:
- wheat flour, and
Spicy foods, acidic foods, and oily food with excess salts are some other causes of mouth ulcers. Other triggers include hormonal stress, vitamin B9 deficiency, or bacterial infections in the mouth.
Know more about the causes of mouth ulcers
How to know you have Mouth Ulcer?
They come with a set of symptoms to easily identify mouth sores. The intensity of these symptoms generally varies with the cause.
- Canker sore pain that worsens on eating, drinking, or talking
- Canker sores on the inner circle of the mouth, like the tongue, lips, cheeks, or mouth palate
- Redness around the sores which may be yellow, white, or red
Types of Mouth Ulcers
Minor Canker Sores
These are smaller mouth sores that are generally oval or circular. They heal within 14 days and do not leave scars after healing.
Major Canker Sores
These are larger sores with a typically irregular shape. They are much deeper than minor ulcers and take about 6 weeks to heal completely. They might also leave permanent scars if not treated properly.
Herpetiform Canker Sores
Usually 1-2 mm in size, herpetiform sores are pinpoint. Multiple sores occur in groups of 10 to 100, forming irregular shapes. They take about 1-2 weeks to heal and do not leave any scars.
When is it severe enough to see a doctor immediately?
If your ulcer, at any point, starts to bleed profusely, you must see a doctor. If none of the home remedies facilitates healing, visit a doctor because your ulcer might be serious.
Other cases which require professional medical advice are no improvement for two weeks, extreme pain, and inflammation.
If sores persist for more than 3 weeks, or you encounter painless sores, visit a dentist.
Since mouth ulcers might sometimes indicate the presence of other health complications like
- HIV AIDS
- Celiac disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Ulcerative colitis,
- Crohn’s disease, or
- oral lichen planus, it is always advised to see a doctor in cases of extreme pain or tingling sensation.
Why is a mouth ulcer commonly compared with a cold sore?
Since both these conditions look similar, they are often confused. The major difference between the two is that cold sores develop on the surface of the lips, normally on the junction between the lips and the rest of the skin, whereas canker sores occur on the mouth lining.
Cold sores are generally clear in the starting and then turn cloudy. Canker sores are grey or white, surrounded by a red, inflamed area.
Another difference is that cold sores release fluid is extremely contagious, whereas a canker sore is not contagious.
What is Aphthous Ulcer?
The word “aphtha” is a medical term for a small ulcer. It is a small, shallow lesion on the soft tissue in the mouth or base of the gums. Medically, canker sores are referred to as aphthous ulcers.
Who are at an increased risk of this?
People assigned female at birth, adolescents, children and those with a family history of mouth ulcers are at a higher risk of developing these during their lifetime. As per statistics, 40 percent of people who keep getting a canker sore have a family history.
Other times, they are caused due to viral infections like mouth disease, chicken pox, and cold sore virus. Apart from that, stress is another major cause of a canker sore.
How Common is a Mouth Ulcer?
Canker sores are one of the most common lesions affecting about 20% of the population. They are easy to diagnose and appear as sores on lips, gums, tongue or inner cheeks. They are generally harmless and go away on their own.
Most canker sores are caused due to things we can easily avoid, such as: biting the inside of your mouth or cuts while eating or drinking certain food.
Are they Contagious?
Canker sores do not spread from one person to another through kissing or sharing food or any other direct contact; they are not contagious.
You will generally feel fine from the irritating pain in your mouth.
Treatment of Mouth Ulcers: 10 Fast and Natural Ways
Mouth ulcers, if not too serious, can be treated with home remedies. Below is a list of natural remedies to get rid of mouth ulcers.
1. Baking soda paste
A thick paste is created when mixing equal quantities of water and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). When applied to the ulcer and left to dry, this baking soda paste helps in its treatment.
Once the paste is dry, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. It is advised to do this thrice a day for immediate results.
Baking soda is a basic substance, while ulcers release acids. The neutralization process works to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.
Honey is rich in antimicrobial properties and assists in repairing open wounds and ulcers. Apart from that, it also prevents any further infection in that area. It must be applied after every few hours and left.
Its anti-inflammatory and beneficial properties are known to treat canker sores timely. However, you must ensure you do not accidentally ingest it with saliva.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and mix it with half a cup of warm water. For a minute or so, take this mixture inside your mouth and rinse with it.
After that, rinse your mouth with plain water. Repeat this activity twice daily until the ulcer heals.
The anti-inflammatory properties kill the ulcer-causing germs and fasten the recovery.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil acts as a fast natural healer when it comes to treating most canker sores. It is rich in antimicrobial properties. To cure mouth ulcers naturally, take a cotton swab. Dip the cotton in coconut oil and apply it on the surface of the ulcer.
Let the oil stay. It is advised to carry out this activity during the night so that the oil stays on the sore while you sleep. Moreover, fat also helps to reduce the pain caused to sores.
Learn about other benefits of coconut for the teeth
5. Clove Oil
Clove oil is extracted from the flower bud and is useful in wide-ranging remedies like toothache. Apply clove oil on a cotton swab. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean uhe ulcer’s surface before applying oil.
Regular use will also treat the inflammation and pain of the ulcer. Put the swab directly on the ulcer. Wait for a few seconds until the ulcer absorbs the oil.
Clove is also an extensively used spice in India. It contains eugenol and antimicrobial properties.
6. Coconut Milk
Like coconut oil, coconut milk is also very beneficial in treating mouth ulcers. Gargling with it four times a day is one of the best cures for ulcers. It leaves a soothing effect and reduces pain.
7. Cabbage Juice
Cabbage juice is one of the home remedies to get rid of mouth ulcers. To prepare this, boil a raw cabbage and puree it after it becomes soft due to boiling.
Drink this juice thrice a day to take out the maximum benefits. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce pain and treat ulcers.
A good toothpaste that contains anti-bacterial properties is very helpful in reducing the swelling and pain of an ulcer. Take a Q-tip and apply the toothpaste over the entire ulcer region. Make sure you cover the full area. Let the paste be there for a few minutes before you rinse it off.
Apply toothpaste and aloe vera gel daily until you notice the ulcer has disappeared. However, applying toothpaste to the ulcer can be quite painful. Aloe vera gel could be used to offset the pain on the spot.
9. Salt Water/ Hydrogen Peroxide
Mix a tablespoon of salt in a glass of boiling water to relieve the pain and discomfort from sores. Let the mixture cool down to a lukewarm temperature. Gargle and rinse your mouth thoroughly with this liquid.
Repeat this 5-10 times. Once you are done, wash your mouth with plain water to remove the salty taste. Furthermore, this is also useful for preventing irritation of the sore.
In place of salt water, you can also take hydrogen peroxide and prepare a mixture. Follow the same procedure with hydrogen peroxide to take benefit of its antiseptic properties.
10. Soy Milk
Since it is rich in Vitamin B, it is a good remedy to treat a canker sore. Take some milk on a piece of clean cotton and put it on the centre of the canker sore. Then, wash your mouth.
A few other Natural Home Remedies for Mouth Ulcers
Apart from the natural home remedies mentioned above, you could also try out Orange juice, a great vitamin C source. It aids in the prevention and treatment of mouth ulcers.
Drinking two glasses of fresh orange juice edailyis advised to cure mouth ulcers. Apart from that, Vitamin C also has great benefits for the immune system. It keeps infections and diseases at bay.
Another remedy is turmeric, which is used in almost all Indian food items. Make a thick paste using turmeric and water. Apply this paste on the ulcers in the morning and the night for immediate results. Leave the post for a few minutes, then rinse it properly.
Another method is garlic, commonly used to flavour curries in every Indian kitchen; it is a great remedy for mouth ulcers. It comprises allicin which makes it antimicrobial and helps fight against infections.
Cut a garlic clove in half and dab it on the ulcer spot for a minute. Rinse your mouth properly to get rid of the smell. Repeat the activity twice or thrice a day.
You could also go for rice milk gargling as a home remedy for canker sores.
Medicines for a Mouth Ulcer
Several drugs and medical treatments are available to relieve pain and treat mouth ulcers. However, none of these offers a permanent cure.
Alternative medicine includes alum powder which contains potassium aluminum sulphate. Using a prescription mouthwash for rinsing the mouth is also useful. A pharmacist usually prescribes otc treatment and sage mouthwash for a canker sore.
Some other medicines are:
- Orajel antiseptic mouth gel, and
How long is the healing process?
The time taken for an ulcer to heal generally depends upon its type. While a minor one heals within 2 weeks, major ulcers might take even 6 weeks to heal. Typically, it takes at least 7 to 10 days to heal completely.
What foods to avoid if you have Mouth Ulcers
To avoid mouth ulcers, one should also avoid eating spicy, acidic and abrasive foods. If you have already caught a canker sore, ensure you do not consume foods that worsen your condition by enhancing the pain and inflammation.
Following are the foods to avoid if one has mouth ulcers :
- spicy food
- citrus fruits
- wheat flour
- chewing gums
- cold beverages like water, iced tea or soft drinks, and
- ice candies or popsicles should also be avoided
One should eat soft, bland food that is easy to swallow, like yogurt, cream soup or fruits like bananas, watermelon and apples. Frequent mouth rinses are also advisable for this.
How to Prevent Mouth Sores?
A mouth ulcer is a painful condition. To decrease the risk of catching it, avoid regular intake of spicy and acidic food since they seem to trigger this condition.
Another thing you must ensure is good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles, and dental floss must also be used after meals. Talking while chewing also increases the chances of getting an accidental bite.
Since stress is another common cause of mouth ulcers, reduce your stress to stay away from a canker sore. Avoid eating foods you are allergic to. Eat a well-balanced nutritious diet. Ensure you do not run into a deficiency of necessary vitamins and minerals.
If you have braces, ask your dentist to cover the sensitive areas of the tooth enamel so that they do not give you wounds in the mouth. They can be covered with harmless wax covers.
Are they an indication of mouth cancer?
A mouth ulcer might indicate mouth cancer if you smoke or drink alcohol too frequently. Smoking tobacco products puts you at an increased of cancer.
What happens to an untreated mouth ulcer?
If a canker sore goes untreated, it may lead to health complications like cellulitis of the mouth, dental infections, oral cancer, or bacterial infection of the canker sore.
What are the warning signs of a mouth ulcer?
You must see a doctor if your mouth ulcers are accompanied by vomiting, feeling faint, unexplained weight loss, stomach ache, appetite changes, nausea, trouble breathing, or vomiting blood. These are the cases of canker sores getting serious.
You must seek medical treatment if any of this happens to you. See a doctor and get blood tests done.
What are the Different types of ulcers?
There are 4 types of ulcers- genital, arterial, mouth and venous. Some, like mouth ulcers, go away naturally within two weeks, while others may require medical treatment.
What is aphthous stomatitis?
Aphthous stomatitis, also called Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis (RAS), is a painful condition characterized by the frequent appearance of canker sores. It is idiopathic.
The Bottom Line
In simple terms, mouth ulcers are painful sores that grow inside the mouth. Although they cause pain and irritation for about a week or two, in most cases, they are harmless.
Mouth ulcers are common and can usually be managed at home without seeing your dentist or doctor. However, watch out for warning signs!!
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