For those of you that have been lucky enough not to have one, this is what Canker Sores look like. Canker Sores are commonly confused for Cold Sores. However, while they are both mouth sores, Canker Sores are not contagious like Cold Sores are and only appear inside the mouth. *Note: do not use any Cold Sore treatments like Abreva on Canker Sores! Again, they are not the same, hence do not use the same treatments.
So this is kind of embarrassing… I’ve never quite done a post like this, but I figure that I might as well pass along the information on treating these little devils since I know I’m not the only person in the world to get them. Currently, I have three Canker Sores. One is on my tongue, another on the side of my mouth and the last one is on my gum line. So my life is pretty miserable at the moment… There is literally no “safety zone” in my mouth. Last night when I ate a Klamata olive I practically punched the wall due to the saltiness hitting all three of them at once. It hurt big time.
I am lucky to say I’m part of the 30-40% of the world that got this gene passed down to me from my parents – being sarcastic of course! Since I was little, I have gotten them. And while I may not have them for a month or so, when I do get one (or two, or three) they always end up being the deep, extremely painful ones that won’t go away until 3 weeks later.
I’ve seen doctors and dentists, on top of doing my own research online, about treating them throughout the years. Below is a list of several different treatments that I’ve found, the pros and cons to them and my personal vote (thumbs up or thumbs down). I hope this helps some out there, so here it goes! (By the way, I do have a favorite so definitely read through till the end!)
1. Hydrogen Peroxide: swish a tablespoon of Hydrogen Peroxide in your mouth for a minute
Pros: you can feel it “cleaning” the sore, whitens teeth
Cons: you have to do it multiple times a day, Hydrogen Peroxide is harsh on teeth enamel causing sensitivity
My vote: Thumbs down – this made my canker sores feel better after the first swish, but I didn’t feel that it really helped treat them.
2. Warm Salt Water: swish a 3:1 warm water and salt ratio around your mouth for a minute or two
Pros: you can feel the “cleaning” sensation, numbs the sores
Cons: it STINGS way too much.
My vote: Thumbs down – the best part of doing this is the numbing you get from it. Other than that, the stinging feels like your are pouring alcohol on a cut. Not worth it for the little amount of treatment it provides.
3. Canker Cover: a naturally medicated patch you place over your Canker Sore to help protect and heal it
Pros: covers the sore making it easier to eat and drink, relieves the pain, lasts for 24 hours, dissolves on its own
Cons: doesn’t cover some sores all the way, starts to peel up after a while, painful to take it off before it dissolves on its own it
My vote: In between – my Canker Sores are often on the longer side so this circular patch doesn’t cover them too well. However, I would imagine that if your Canker Sore is small and a circular shape, the protective cover and pain relieving this patch provides would be extremely helpful.
4. B12 and Folic Acid: take the recommended amount of vitamins the bottle directs you to
Pros: taking vitamins that are good for you
Cons: unless taken regularly for over a month, you won’t see any benefits
My vote: Thumbs down – two weeks before Blair and I got married, I got a Canker Sore. This was one of the things I tried to desperately get rid of it with. I didn’t notice any change in the Canker Sore. In fact, it probably got even worse…
5. Laser treatments: a dental laser “zaps” your sore
Pros: kills the bateria that hangs out in the Canker Sore to promote healing, doesn’t hurt
Cons: you need to do this as soon as it pops up, need to go to your dentist
My vote: In between – this really does work wonders if you know your body really well and are able to catch your Canker Sore before it gets too bad. This was another treatment I tried to get rid of the sore I had before I got married. Since my dentist at the time knew me very well, he had no problem doing the treatment, but the Canker Sore was way too bad to treat it by the time I got to come in.
6. Silver Nitrate: a medical swab covered in silver nitrate used by a doctor to cauterize the sore
Pros: straight up kills the Canker Sore
Cons: STRAIGHT UP BURNS THE LIVING HECK OUT OF YOUR CANKER SORE AND MOUTH
My vote: Thumbs down – I almost want to say in between for this one because it does work in healing the sore. However, it is chemically burning the sore which is extremely painful and makes it not worth it. When I had braces and was constantly having my Canker Sores torn back open by them, this treatment was the only way I could force the sores to start healing.
7. Oil Pulling: swish sunflower or sesame oil around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes
Pros: ehhh….. I didn’t notice anything.
Cons: mouth tastes nasty (and oily), jaw begins to hurt after a while, didn’t relieve the pain, numb it or help treat the sores
My vote: Thumbs down – now maybe if you did this on a daily basis you might notice the prevention of Canker Sores, but the actual treatment of the sores by doing this was nonexistent.
8. Numbing Gels: a gel you place directly on the sore to numb the pain
Pros: relieves the pain
Cons: doesn’t help kill the bacteria that could be in the sore
My vote: In between – just numbs, but helps by giving you a break from the pain to make eating possible
9. Gly-Oxide: swish 20 drops around your mouth for a minute or drop 2-3 drops directly onto the sore for 3 minutes
Pros: you can feel it cleaning, promotes a fast healing, small packaging allows you to take it with you wherever you go
Cons: Can’t think of any…
My vote: Thumbs up!!!! – this is by far my favorite. Two days before the wedding, and being my last resort, I tried Gly-Oxide out and by the time I was putting my wedding dress on, my sore was virtually no more. Thank goodness!!
10. Orajel Antiseptic Mouth Sore Rinse: swish a tablespoon amount around your mouth for a minute
Pros: promotes healing, has a slight numbing ability, taste is appealing unlike many other oral rinses
Cons: Can’t think of any…
My vote: Thumbs up – I don’t love this rinse as much as the Gly-Oxide, but when using this together, I’ve found them to be quite productive in healing my Canker Sores quickly and effectively! P.S. I’ve also heard Colgate’s Peroxyl rinse is quite similar to Orajel’s.
Get this at any drug store like Walgreens or CVS!
Get this at Walmart!
*While I know most of these don’t promise to get rid of the Canker Sores quickly, but rather relieve the pain associated with them, I personally know that relieving the pain plays a huge part in the healing process for me.
Okay, so I know that was a lot, but honestly any information or other personal experiences help when looking into relieving and healing Canker Sores. For me, occasionally I have to switch up my “typical” Canker Sore healing routine and try out some of the other ways again as it seems I’ve become somewhat immune to the Gly-Oxide and Orajel. But for the most part those two are the MVPs of successfully getting rid of a Canker Sore. Best of luck to any of you out there with one and happy healing!
P.S. Give yogurt a try as well! It may not help immediately, but it helps neutralize the PH in your body. While it’s non-medicinal, it still definitely helps! 🙂