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How To Get Rid of a Canker Sore in 24 Hours

How To Get Rid of a Canker Sore in 24 Hours?

Have you ever experienced a painful sore in your mouth that makes eating, drinking, and even talking uncomfortable? If so, you might have had a canker sore. 

These small mouth ulcers can be a real problem, but the good news is that there are ways to alleviate the pain and speed up the healing process.

In this blog, we’ll explore what canker sores are, what causes them, and most importantly, how to get rid of a canker sore in 24 hours using effective home remedies.

What Are Canker Sores?

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small, shallow lesions that develop on the soft tissues inside your mouth or at the base of your gums. Unlike cold sores, which appear on the surface of your lips and are contagious, canker sores are not caused by the herpes virus and are not contagious. They can make eating and talking uncomfortable, and while they typically heal on their own within one to two weeks, the tingling or burning sensation they cause can be significant.

What Does a Canker Sore Look Like?

Canker sores are usually round or oval with a white or yellow center and a red border. They can vary in size, with minor canker sores being the most common. These minor sores are usually less than 1 centimeter in diameter and heal within a week or two. Major canker sores are larger and deeper, can be very painful, and may take up to six weeks to heal. Herpetiform canker sores, which are less common, appear in clusters of ten to a hundred small sores and can also cause considerable pain.

What Causes Canker Sores?

The exact cause of canker sores is not well understood, but several factors are known to trigger or contribute to their development:

  • Injury to the Mouth: This can include accidental biting of the cheek, aggressive tooth brushing, or dental work.
  • Food Sensitivities: Certain foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, nuts, and spicy foods can trigger canker sores.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Deficiencies in vitamins, especially B-12, zinc, folate, and iron, are linked to canker sores.
  • Stress: Emotional stress and hormonal changes can contribute to the development of canker sores.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain conditions like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and a weakened immune system can cause recurrent canker sores.
  • Toothpaste and Mouth Rinse: Products containing sodium lauryl sulfate can be irritating for some people and lead to canker sores.

How Can You Get Rid of Canker Sores?

While canker sores typically heal on their own, several remedies can help speed up the healing process and reduce the pain. Here are some effective methods:

– Mild or Salt Water Mouth Rinse:

Mix a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and rinse your mouth with it for 15-30 seconds. This helps to cleanse the sore and reduce inflammation.

– Hydrogen Peroxide:

Dilute hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water. Use a cotton swab to apply it directly to the canker sore. This can help to disinfect the sore and promote healing.

– Milk of Magnesia:

Apply milk of magnesia directly to the canker sore a few times a day. Its antacid properties can neutralize acids in the mouth and soothe the sore.

– Magic Mouthwash:

This is a prescription solution that contains a combination of ingredients such as an antibiotic, an antihistamine, an antifungal, a corticosteroid, and a pain reliever. It is effective in treating severe canker sores.

– Topical Pain Reliever:

Over-the-counter products like benzocaine (Orajel) or lidocaine can be applied to the sore to numb the pain.

– Cold, Bland Foods:

Eating ice chips or cold, soft foods like yogurt and smoothies can help to soothe the pain. Avoid spicy, acidic, or rough-textured foods that can irritate the sore.

– Honey:

Honey has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying honey to the canker sore a few times a day can help to reduce pain and promote healing.

How Can You Prevent Canker Sores?

Preventing canker sores involves addressing potential triggers and maintaining good oral hygiene. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid Trigger Foods: Identify and avoid foods that seem to trigger your canker sores.
  • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Manage Stress: Stress management techniques such as meditation, exercise, and adequate sleep can help reduce the occurrence of canker sores.
  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals, especially B-12, folate, iron, and zinc.
  • Protect Your Mouth: Avoid chewing gum and be careful when eating to prevent accidental bites. Use a mouth guard if you grind your teeth.

When To See a Doctor?

While most canker sores are harmless and heal on their own, there are instances when you should seek medical assistance for canker sore treatment:

  • If you have unusually large sores
  • If the sores are spreading
  • If the sores persist for more than three weeks
  • If you experience unbearable pain despite using home remedies
  • If you have difficulty eating or drinking
  • If you develop a high fever along with canker sores

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to heal a canker sore?

The fastest way to heal a canker sore is to use a combination of remedies such as a saltwater rinse, topical pain relievers like benzocaine, and applying honey or milk of magnesia directly to the sore. These methods help reduce pain, disinfect the sore, and promote healing.

Does drinking milk help canker sores?

Drinking milk does not directly help heal canker sores, but it can provide temporary relief by soothing the sore and reducing irritation, especially if it's cold. Milk is also a good source of essential nutrients that can support overall oral health.

– Disclaimer –

This blog is for informational & educational purposes only and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health-related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 06/07/2024

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  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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