Canker sores treatment
Treatment for mouth disorders varies, depending on the problem. Minor canker sores tend to clear up on their own in a week or two. But large, persistent or unusually painful lesions often require medical care. A variety of treatment options exist, ranging from mouth rinses and topical ointments to systemic corticosteroids for the most severe cases. If the canker sores are related to a more serious health problem, the doctor will treat the underlying condition. In the case of severe mouth sores, your doctor may prescribe treatments such as immunosuppressive drugs, mouth rinses or gels that contain steroid.
Your doctor is likely to prescribe a nutritional supplement if you're low in important nutrients, such as folate (folic acid), vitamins B-6, B-12 and zinc. People diagnosed with identified nutritional deficiencies, can prevent recurrences or reduce the severity of canker sores with vitamins and other nutritional supplements. There are a several non-pharmaceutical choices for treating and preventing canker sores, including:
To help prevent nutritional deficiencies, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Regularly eating yogurt that contains acidophilus or other beneficial bacteria may help ward off canker sores. Furthermore, people diagnosed with food allergies can reduce the frequency of canker sores by avoiding those foods. In addition, avoid harsh or acidic foods like coffee and citrus fruits, spicy and salty foods.
Some doctors suggest applying a wet black tea bag to a canker sore, because black tea contains tannin, an astringent that can help relieve pain. You can also get tannin in over-the-counter medications. Another option to help reduce discomfort and speed healing is to use a mixture of equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide directly on the sore, followed by a bit of milk of magnesia. Some people make a paste of alum, slippery elm powder or deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) and apply it directly to the sores. Also, placing ice on the sore can help relieve the pain.
There are several treatments for reducing the pain and duration of canker sores for patients whose outbreaks cannot be prevented. These include a number of over-the-counter ointments, which are available in drug stores without a prescription. Additionally, medications not intended specifically for canker sore treatment, such as heartburn and/or gout drugs may be helpful for canker sores. Other classes of medications used to treat canker sores include:
Antibiotics - Antibiotic treatment for canker sores may lead to oral thrush (a type of mouth infection) or other Candida infections. Rarely, bacterial infections such as cellulitis and Ludwig's angina may occur.
Antihistamines - If the sores are caused by an allergic response, an antihistamine may help relieve other allergy symptoms.
Mouth rinses - For those experiencing many canker sores, doctors may prescribe a mouth rinse containing the steroid dexamethasone to reduce pain and inflammation. Oral suspensions of the antibiotic tetracycline also can reduce pain and cut healing time, but tetracycline has drawbacks. It can make you more susceptible to oral thrush, a fungal infection that causes painful mouth lesions, and it can permanently discolor children's teeth. Rinse your mouth with the mouthwash recommended by your healthcare provider. You may also rinse with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide in 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of water, or put a thin paste of baking soda and water on the sore. Do this between meals and before bed (4 times a day).
Oral steroid medications - Oral steroid medications are sometimes prescribed when severe canker sores don't respond to other treatments. Anti-inflammatory steroid mouthrinses or gels can be prescribed for patients with severe sores, for example. But because the side effects of steroids are so serious, this is usually considered a treatment of last resort.
Pastes - Over-the-counter and prescription pastes such as Orabase, triamcinolone acetonide, amlexanox and fluocinonide can help relieve pain and speed healing if applied to individual lesions as soon as they appear. If your provider recommends a treatment that should be applied directly to the canker sore, first dry the area with a tissue. Use a cotton swab to apply a small amount of the medication. Finally, avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes to make sure that the medicine is not immediately washed away and has time to treat the sore.
Propolis tablets - Tablets made of propolis (a waxy substance from buds that bees use to build up their hives) can also be used once or twice a day. This substance has an antibacterial effect on inflammation if used locally in the mouth and can help both canker sores as well as other inflammations in the mouth such as sore throat, minor colds etc. People who are allergic to pollen may provoke an allergic reaction and should avoid this alternative .
Topical solutions - Debacteral is one example of a topical solution specifically designed to treat canker sores and gum problems. By chemically cauterizing lesions, Debacteral reduces healing time to about a week.
Canker sores often recur, but you may be able to reduce their frequency by addressing factors that seem to trigger them. Keeping a clean mouth by brushing and flossing often is important. Some other suggestions include:
Eat slowly - Avoid chewing and talking at the same time to prevent minor trauma to the delicate lining of the mouth.
Follow good oral hygiene habits - Regular brushing after meals and flossing once a day can keep your mouth clean and free of foods that might trigger a sore. Use a soft brush to help prevent irritation to delicate mouth tissues, and avoid toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
Protect your mouth - If you have braces or other dental appliances, ask your dentist about orthodontic waxes to cover sharp edges.
Watch what you eat - Try to avoid foods that seem to irritate your mouth. These may include nuts, chips, pretzels, certain spices, salty foods and acidic fruits, such as pineapple, grapefruit and oranges. Be sure to avoid any foods to which you're sensitive or allergic.
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