CANKER SORES AIEE AIEE AIEE!

I heard from my brother today and he is getting better. His main complaint though is the fact that he developed canker sores. This was probably due to the irritation caused by the intubation and by stress and tiredness. He is prone to suffering from this issue, as many of us (1 in 5 people) occasionally are. Although these mouth sores usually go away by themselves, they can be large and numerous. (He counted 6 of them!) They can be very painful and can take up to

Canker sore
Canker sore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 weeks to regress and finally heal. Some severe ones can last several months. In the mean time they can really impact the way you eat, drink and talk. Although we do not know exactly what causes them and why some people are prone to getting them, there are several factors that seem to trigger them:

  • mechanical frictions (dentures, braces, even a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard, etc.)
  • some foods in susceptible individuals such as nuts, mainly walnuts, certain hard cheeses like Swiss and Cheddars, certain acidic fruits such as pineapple, etc. or preservatives and artificial flavors
  • modification of hormones level in women (canker sores appearing just before periods or going into menopause
  • quitting smoking
  • stress and anxiety
  • some medicines
  • deficiency in iron and certain vitamins such as B12 and B9, but this pretty rare in our countries

You may want to change your toothpaste as it can have an impact as well. I would also stay away from mouthwashes that are too strong or I would dilute them with warm water in a glass. If the contact of liquids with the sores is very painful, use a straw—except for hot beverages, obviously!

SOLUTIONS: If you talk to your dentist or physician they will probably tell you there is not much you can do and that it will go away eventually.

So here are my tips:

  1. Baking soda mouthwashes: Rinse several times a day with a mixture of half a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water. This changes the acid/alkaline balance in your mouth and provides relief.
  2. HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINES:  There are mainly 2 that I used myself and recommended to others and that I found quite effective. Try Borax 6C and Mercurius solubilis 6C. You can alternate 5 pellets of each (under your tongue) every hour. One tube contains 80 pellets, so one tube of each would last 3 days. You should see an improvement before you finish the tubes.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE YOUR DOCTOR?

Most of the time, canker sores are not dangerous but since they can sometimes get infected or be the sign of a more serious condition, you should see your doctor if they persist or are accompanied by fatigue, fever, pallor of the face and other signs such as diarrhea, weight loss, etc. You should be even more cautious if you are a smoker or a former smoker.

 

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