Canker Sores (cont.)
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
In this Article
- Canker sores facts
- What are canker sores?
- What are symptoms of canker sores?
- What are the causes of canker sores?
- Are canker sores the same as fever blisters?
- What is the treatment for canker sores?
- What kind of topical medications (gels or ointments) are available for canker sores?
- Can mouthwash solutions be used with canker sores?
- What oral medications are available to help canker sores?
- What should I do if I get canker sores frequently?
- Find a local Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor in your town
What is the treatment for canker sores?
In most cases, canker sores do not require any treatment. If a person already has a canker sore, there are steps that can be taken to help relieve the pain or irritation caused by the sore and speed healing:
- Topical medications applied directly on the sore, mouthwashes, and oral medications can relieve pain or inflammation.
- Avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits, or spicy foods that may aggravate the sore.
- If there is any vitamin deficiency (a doctor can test for this), take supplementation as prescribed.
- Brush teeth gently and use a brush with soft bristles.
- Use toothpaste and mouthwash that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
- An easy home remedy is a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water, used as an antiseptic. Apply directly to the canker sore with a cotton swab. Following that, cover the sore with a small amount of milk of magnesia, three to four times a day to soothe pain and speed healing.
- Another home remedy is to mix milk of magnesia with Benadryl liquid, and use as a mouth rinse.
- Other natural remedies include goldenseal mouth rinse, deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) gargled in warm water, and saltwater rinses.
What kind of topical medications (gels or ointments) are available for canker sores?
Topical gels or ointments are used for canker sores to relieve pain, decrease inflammation, and prevent infection.
- Topical pain medications: Gels such as benzocaine (Oragel) and lidocaine (an anesthetic) are used directly on the canker sore to relieve pain or discomfort. These types of medications can be found over-the-counter.
- Topical anti-inflammatories: Steroid medications can be used topically to decrease inflammation from canker sores. These medications usually require a prescription and should be used exactly as directed.
- Topical antibiotics: These medications may be prescribed by your doctor or dentist if there is a possibility of the canker sore becoming infected with bacteria. Redness, crusting, pus discharge, or fever, are signs of infection.
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