Mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores, are usually small, painful lesions that develop in the mouth or at the base of the gums. They can be extremely uncomfortable and painful while eating, drinking and talking. There is no exact cause behind mouth ulcers, but certain factors are known to trigger them, including:
- Minor mouth injury
- Toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate
- Sensitivities to acidic foods such as citrus fruits or juices
- Lack of essential vitamins, especially B12, zinc, folate and iron
- Allergic response to mouth bacteria
- Dental braces
- Hormonal changes during menstruation
- Emotional stress or lack of sleep
- Bacterial, viral or fungal infections
Types of Canker Sores
There are three types of canker sores: minor, major and herpetiform. These different types are associated with several distinguishing symptoms.
- Minor – Minor canker sores are small, oval or round ulcers that heal within 1-2 weeks without scarring. This is the most common type of canker sore.
- Major – Major canker sores are larger and deeper than minor sores. They have irregular edges and can take up to six weeks to heal, resulting in long-term scarring.
- Herpetiform – Herpetiform canker sores are pinpoint size and they occur in clusters of 10-100. This type of mouth ulcer has irregular edges and will often heal without scarring within 1-2 weeks. You should see a doctor if you experience this type of canker sore, as it can be very painful and is formed as the result of an infection of herpes simplex.
Most mouth ulcers don’t need treatment, but they can be extremely painful and take a long time to heal. If you experience canker sores, try some of these helpful home remedies to reduce the pain.
1. Coconut Milk – Extract milk by grating fresh coconut, then gargle with the milk 3-4 times a day for a cooling sensation that will reduce burning.
2. Fenugreek Leaves – Boil 1 cup of fenugreek leaves into 2 cups of water. Strain the water and cover it with a lid. Gargle this water 2-3 times a day for best results.
3. Basil Leaves – Chew 4-5 basil leaves with some water every day to help your mouth ulcers heal. Use this remedy 5-6 times a day for the best results.
4. Coriander Leaves – Boil some coriander leaves in water, let the water cool, then gargle it lukewarm 3-4 times a day to help heal your canker sore.
5. Antiseptic Mouthwash – Make your own antiseptic mouthwash with 10 drops of tea tree oil in 1/3 cup of water. Swish the mouthwash around for about 60 seconds, then spit it out. This will help to cure the infection and heal the sore.
6. Tea Tree Oil – Dab two drops of tea tree oil directly on the ulcer to reduce redness around the sore and relieve inflammation.
7. Honey and Coconut Oil – Make a mix of equal parts raw honey and coconut oil. Massage the sore in the mouth with the mix to soothe irritation and clean the sore.
8. Rose Water – Take 60 grams of red rose and 1 liter of water. Mix the ingredients and boil for 5 minutes. Let stand to a comfortable temperature and rinse twice a day.
To help prevent mouth ulcers in the future, avoid foods that can irritate your mouth such as acidic fruits, nuts, chips or anything spicy. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and be sure to get your essential vitamins. Reducing stress and maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing after meals may also help.