Canker sores are an annoying affliction that most people will have to suffer through in their lifetime. While most canker sores resolve themselves after a few days or a week, in the meantime, they can make it difficult to eat and drink, and they can be distracting in other ways. If you have a canker sore that you need to get rid of right away, try some of these remedies and preventative medicines.

What Causes Canker Sores

There are a number of reasons canker sores might form, including stress, hormonal changes, allergies, or a reaction to the ingredients in certain foods. Most people will suffer from canker sores at least once in their lives, but some people are more susceptible to them than others. Every individual’s triggers are different, so pay attention to what you ate or any changes in your environment before the outbreak of canker sores.

The Difference Between Canker Sores and Cold Sores

Canker sores should not be confused with cold sores, blisters that appear around the mouth on the outside. Cold sores are caused by a viral outbreak and can be passed by kissing or other oral contact. Canker sores, on the other hand, are caused by external irritants and are not contagious.

Natural Remedies

Alkaline compounds tend to be good for treating canker sores and easing the pain. Some household products that are alkaline in nature include baking soda and milk of magnesia. Dissolve the first in water and swish it around in your mouth like a mouthwash, and dab the other directly onto the sore for the most effective method of treatment. You can also treat the pain from a canker sore by letting a chip of ice dissolve in your mouth. Use small ice chips to prevent frostbite from forming in your mouth.

Medical Remedies

There are plenty of over the counter treatments for canker sores. The most common are gels that can be dabbed directly onto the sore. The gel forms a protective coating over the sore, and it also contains ingredients to treat it.

How to Prevent Canker Sores

One common cause of canker sores is toothpaste that contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Buying a toothpaste that does not contain this ingredient is often a step in the right direction towards preventing canker sore outbreaks. You can also try to identify whether or not you have a food trigger that causes canker sores to appear. Some common triggers include citrus, coffee, chocolate, hot sauce, cheese and nuts. If you eat a lot of one of these foods and then notice a canker sore outbreak, it might be a good idea to cut back.

You can usually tell when a canker sore is forming because you feel tingling or itching on the gum line. You can start spot treating your gums early as soon as you notice this tell-tale sign.