If you’ve ever had a canker sore, you’re not alone. More than half of the population regularly experiences these small, painful ulcers. But stopping a canker sore is in your control.
Less than 1 centimeter in diameter, canker sores often affect the soft areas of the mouth, including the tongue, cheek and lips. Their specific cause is still unknown, but many experts believe bacteria and viral infections play a significant role.
Here are 4 ways to help canker sores heal more quickly.
- Avoid eating spicy, citrus or vinegar-based foods. These will irritate the sores and cause increased discomfort.
- Try a salt water or baking soda rinse to help ensure that the canker sore does not become infected.
- Apply over-the-counter ointments that contain phenol. There are several medicated ointments available at drug stores. Some medicines help numb the pain of the canker sore, while others protect the surface of the sore from irritation.
- Switch to a toothpaste that doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a chemical found to cause and aggravate canker sores. Visit slsfree.net to see a list of SLS-free products.
Fortunately, canker sores aren’t contagious and typically heal on their own after 1-2 weeks. If you’re cursed with frequent canker sores, take a look at these possible causes and consult your dentist to discuss options to stop canker sores.
What about cold sores?
Canker sores aren’t the only sore that could make you cranky. Cold sores, like canker sores, can cause discomfort. Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that appear inside or outside the mouth. They are caused by herpes and are very contagious. Because the herpes virus stays in the body even after the cold sore goes away, it has the potential to pop up again.
How can you make cold sores go away?
- Manage it by doing your best to stay healthy and avoid situations that lead to new sores, such as stress, heavy sun exposure, and a fever or other illness.
- Consult your doctor about your options, including antiviral drugs and ointments.
Normally, cold sores go away in 7-10 days. Many children get the virus unknowingly from a family member or friend. So, if you have herpes or notice a cold sore, don’t share things like:
- Utensils and drink-ware
- Lip balms
Contact a doctor or dentist for advice on how to deal with cold sores.