Sores in the mouth: how to relieve them with home remedies


Canker sores or sores are small wounds that appear in the mouth.

Although in most cases they usually disappear without the need for treatment, they can be annoying and painful to the point of causing problems with speaking or eating. Learn here home remedies to speed up the recovery process.

What are sores?

Canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are small, superficial lesions that appear on the soft tissue of the mouth (inside the cheek, under the tongue, or behind the throat) or at the base of the gums.

The sores are usually round or oval, with a white or yellow center and a reddish border. It is possible to feel tingling or burning during the days before the appearance of the sore, and pain and discomfort that varies in intensity until they disappear.

Currently, the cause of the sores remains unclear, however, researchers say they may be due to a combination of factors:

  • Suffering minor mouth injuries, for example, from accidental biting or brushing too hard.
  • Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menstruation.
  • Being deficient in certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, folic acid, iron, or zinc.
  • To have stress.
  • Being sensitive to certain foods, such as coffee, cheese, eggs, or acidic or spicy foods.
  • Use toothpastes and mouthwashes with sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Having diseases or disorders, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, Behcet’s disease, or a weak immune system.

Unlike cold sores, the sores are not associated with herpes virus infections.

How to treat the sores?

It is common to resort to home remedies to speed up the recovery process of the sores. Among the best options we can find:

mouthwashes

Mouthwashes are solutions used to fight bacteria, eliminate bad breath, and maintain good oral hygiene in general. Although there are different products on the market, you can make effective home preparations to treat sores:

Salt and water rinse

This type of rinse is one of the oldest options for combating sores, and although it can be painful, it helps to dry them quickly. To use it:

  • Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in ½ cup of warm water.
  • Take a sip and swish the solution well in your mouth for 20-30 seconds.
  • Spit it out and rinse your mouth with water.
  • You can repeat this process as many times as you consider necessary.
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baking soda rinse

This type of rinse adds to a long list of uses for baking soda. According to experts, it is a solution that can be effective in eliminating sores as it helps reduce inflammation and balance the oral pH. To use it:

  • Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in ½ cup of water.
  • Take a sip and swish the solution well in your mouth for 20-30 seconds.
  • Spit it out and rinse your mouth with water.
  • You can repeat this process as many times as you consider necessary.

echinacea rinse

Echinacea is an herb with a long medicinal tradition, its rinse can be used to treat or prevent the appearance of sores thanks to its antioxidant and immune-stimulating properties. To use it:

  • Mix a tablespoon of echinacea in 250 ml of boiling water.
  • Let the preparation rest for five minutes and strain.
  • Reserve until cool.
  • Take a sip and shake the solution well in your mouth for one minute.
  • Spit it out and rinse your mouth with water.
  • You can repeat this process as many times as you consider necessary.

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Chamomile Rinse

Chamomile is used as a natural remedy to heal wounds and relieve pain, because it has compounds with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, such as azulene or levomenol. To use your rinse:

  • Mix a tablespoon of chamomile in 250 ml of boiling water.
  • Let the preparation rest for five minutes and strain.
  • Reserve until cool.
  • Take a sip and shake the solution well in your mouth for one minute.
  • Spit it out and rinse your mouth with water.
  • You can repeat this process as many times as you consider necessary.

You can also use chamomile tea bags as a compress to soothe sores, gently applying them to damaged areas of the mouth.

Hydrogen peroxide rinse

Hydrogen peroxide or hydrogen peroxide is often used to treat mouth sores, as it helps reduce the presence of bacteria in the mouth. To use it as a mouthwash you must:

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  • Dilute a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution with equal parts of water.
  • Dip a cotton ball or swab in the mixture.
  • Apply the mixture directly on the sore a few times a day.

You can also use diluted hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash, drinking it and moving it around your mouth for one minute. Remember not to swallow it and spit it out when you are done.

sage rinse

Sage infusions serve as a mouthwash against sores thanks to their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent properties. To use it:

  • Mix a tablespoon of sage in 250 ml of boiling water.
  • Let the preparation rest for five minutes and strain.
  • Reserve until cool.
  • Take a sip and shake the solution well in your mouth for one minute.
  • Spit it out and rinse your mouth with water.
  • You can repeat this process as many times as you consider necessary.

Honey

In addition to using homemade mouthwash, you can treat the sores with other foods that are commonly found around the house. One of them is honey, which, thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, is effective in reducing the pain, size and redness of sores.

To take advantage of its benefits, you should only apply it between two and four times a day on the sore.

Does apple cider vinegar work?

A home remedy to treat sores that has become more popular thanks to social networks is apple cider vinegar. It is believed that, thanks to its acidic composition, it helps eliminate bacteria in the mouth and maintain good oral hygiene. To use it as a rinse you should:

  • Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 250 ml of water.
  • Take a sip and shake the solution well in your mouth for one minute.
  • Spit it out and rinse your mouth with water.
  • You can repeat this process as many times as you consider necessary.

In some cases, it is even advisable to follow the steps described above, but without diluting it, to obtain faster effects. Regarding its use (especially undiluted), professionals recommend caution.

Using apple cider vinegar directly on a wound can backfire, making the sore worse, causing additional pain or irritation, and can even damage tooth enamel in the long run.

supplements

As one of the possible causes of mouth sores is the deficiency of certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, folic acid, iron or zinc, it is common for supplements to be marketed to cover this deficiency.

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Some research found associations between the use of vitamin B12 supplements and less painful sores or a lower risk of flare-ups. Zinc lozenges were also found to be helpful, as they help strengthen the immune system.

However, more studies are still needed to recommend these options. Remember, you should only use supplements under the recommendation and supervision of a health professional.

How to prevent sores?

Although the previously developed remedies can be helpful against sores or canker sores, it is advisable to consult a health professional to make a diagnosis and determine the best treatment for each case.

Experts also agree that, like any other illness or injury, prevention is best. To avoid the appearance of sores you should:

  • Avoid foods to which you are sensitive or allergic, or that are characterized by being irritating, such as salty or highly acidic products.
  • Include foods rich in nutrients to avoid possible deficits, such as fruits, vegetables, cereals or seeds.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing regularly after eating and flossing. Keep stress under control.
  • Use braces or other devices if necessary.
  • When to call the doctor?

    Although the sores usually go away without the need for treatment, you should see a doctor as soon as possible if:

    • The sores are very large.
    • The sores are so painful that they do not allow eating or drinking.
    • The sores last more than two weeks.
    • The appearance of the sores is accompanied by symptoms, such as fever.
    • It is common for you to develop sores up to three or four times a year.
    • To remind:

      Until there is meaningful scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should be very careful.

      Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, talk to your doctor first about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.

      Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.

      Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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