These dreadful little sores located around gums, lining the inner cheeks and lips and surrounding the tongue area are also known as Aphthous ulcers.
It’s unknown exactly what causes cankers though it’s suspected that stress and diet may play a big factor. Common causes are a bad bite inside the cheek or eating too many acidic foods (oranges, pineapples, tomatoes, etc.).
Are they contagious? No, these aren’t infectious or caused by the herpes virus like cold sores are, but they typically hurt (making talking and chewing uncomfortable) and may linger for 2 to 3 weeks.
Here’s my collection of home remedies to help quicken healing, be aware that some will sting quite a bit on the initial application since these little ulcers tend to be terribly sensitive.
Directions: Apply suggested remedy directly to the lesion at least twice daily (unless otherwise noted). Spit out excess & rinse.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Them
*Marks ingredients that provide some pain relief too
- Salt (stings): Put on straight or rinse with a strong salt water solution.
- Baking Soda: Sprinkle full strength or make a paste with water then apply. Another option is to rinse with a strong baking soda/water solution.
- *Tea Bag (wet): Tannin from the tea is quite effective at soothing the pain, place a wet tea bag directly on lesion and leave for a few minutes. Always select a fresh bag for each treatment (do not reuse).
- *Aloe Vera: Dab gel harvested from a fresh Aloe leaf or squeeze pure aloe onto lesion, not only heals but is also very soothing.
- *Honey: 2 to 3 times daily.
- Vodka, Rum or Whiskey: Will certainly sting, works full strength by dabbing it on with a q-tip first soaked in the alcohol.
- Listerine Mouthwash (original): Swoosh around focusing on troublesome area for as long as you can stand it (will likely hurt at first).
- *Apple Cider Vinegar (burns a bit): Treat several times a day, although it burns at first this can help ease discomfort as well.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: Mix a 50/50 solution with water, swoosh around mouth.
- *Milk of Magnesia.
- Slather on a topical dental gel (suggestions: Anbesol or Orajel), will usually alleviate any discomfort temporarily.
- (Enough for 2 Treatments): Mix 1 tablespoon of Milk of Magnesia (Maalox) with 1/2 tablespoon of Benadryl. Use half to swish inside mouth, focusing on the area. Spit out, don’t swallow.
- Press an ice cube or hold ice chips in place, will help numb the pain.
If one persists, is fairly large or is accompanied by a fever, make sure to see a doctor.
Ease your mind: These aren’t malignant and don’t mean cancer. But if they are stubborn and don’t go away after 3 weeks or so, have a doctor take a look. This might be something else that requires medical attention.
Are regular or frequent eruptions occurring? One culprit might be the toothpaste or mouthwash used. Check ingredients, if they contain sodium lauryl sulfate, select another brand. You might be having a reaction to it.
I used to get cankers fairly regularly when I was younger (it seemed to be 2 to 3 eruptions a year), but I haven’t had one for several years now. It’s likely because I grew out of them rather than doing anything to become immune (score 1 for aging!).