sores. Everybody hates them. When you have braces, you hate
them even more. Before we go into ways of treating canker
sores, let's explore the reason we get them in the first
Canker sores are the most common
type of mouth ulcer. It is a misconception that they are a
form of herpes virus. This is not true, and canker sores
cannot be passed between people.
Nobody knows for sure what causes canker
sores, but there are many theories. For example, it is
believed that toothpastes and mouthwashes containing sodium
lauryl sulfate can dry the mouth tissues and encourage
canker sores. Stress, immune system reactions, family
history, and mouth trauma may cause them. Women may
sometimes get them at certain points in their menstrual
cycle from hormonal changes and fluctuations. Some food
allergies or intolerances (such an intolerance to gluten or
Celiac Disease) may be
responsible. In addition, deficiencies of vitamin B-12, zinc,
folic acid or iron may play a part.
The presence of other ulcerative
diseases, such as Crohn's Disease, IBS, or digestive ulcers may have an effect as well.
Doctors now believe that some of these ulcerative diseases may
be caused by H. pylori and other bacteria. A simple blood
test will tell you if you have
H. pylori bacterium, which is treated with oral
antibiotics. If you get frequent mouth sores that do
not heal well, especially if you also have other ulcerative
or digestive problems, you should talk not only to your
dentist about it, but your medical doctor, because it could
be a symptom of a larger problem.
no matter the cause, canker sores are bothersome and painful,
especially if they occur inside your lip near a bracket.
canker sores last 10 to 14 days and can be treated with
over-the-counter remedies. If you get frequent canker sores,
talk to your dentist about it, because there are some
prescription-strength products that he/she might recommend
instead, such as
Doctors also use steroids such as
dexamethasone (Decadron) mouth rinse or
prednisone (Orasone) tablets. Antibiotics, such as
tetracycline (Sumycin) mouthwash, are also sometimes
If you get a canker sore only
occasionally, you can treat it with many products readily
available without a prescription at your local pharmacy or on
the Web. There are many options. The following list isn't
meant to endorse any of these products, it's just to inform
you about what's currently on the market:
that form a protective film over the sore for several
hours can help it to heal.
These include Zilactin-B,
Rincinol PRN mouth rinse,
Orajel Mouth Sore Discs,
Orajel Film-Forming Gel,
Canker Cover, and Ora-5.
that help kill some of the bacteria in your mouth may help.
mouth rinse and
Peroxyl mouth rinse. (Mouthwashes containing alcohol, such as Listerine, may
sting too much for you to use comfortably). Also,
CankAid oral antiseptic made of carbamide peroxide,
the same ingredient used to bleach teeth!
that temporarily numb the area bring short-term relief, such
as Anbesol or
that don't contain certain irritating chemicals such
as sodium lauryl sulfate may help.
This retail website that has a number of "sls-free"
toothpastes. In addition, there is
Herbal Choice toothpaste.
you'd rather try a more natural approach. Here is a
list of holistic
remedies you may want to try. Also, here are some
homeopathic suggestions for canker sores.
alternative products are sold on the Web that claim
to help heal and prevent canker sores, such as Ulcer-Ease
and Ora5. These can be found at canker-sores.com,
and ora-5.com. Another
is made from honey bee propolis and claims to work.
Readers from our Metal
Mouth Message Board have told us about a couple of
sensible and interesting remedies:
Rinse your mouth with salt
water. This is a good way to ease a lot of oral or throat
irritations. The salt water also acts as a mild
Avoid acidic foods which can
irritate your mouth sores (e.g., citrus juices, tomato-based
products, oral vitamin c)
Ask your dentist or
orthodontist about a prescription mouth rinse (often called
"Miracle Mouthwash") made up of
Diphenhydramine (Benedryl), Lidocaine, and Maalox-type
aluminum/magnesium antacid. Several Message Board readers
claim that this works very well.
are a few websites that provide copious information
about canker sores:
several remedies and see what works best for you. If the
canker sore is irritated by a nearby bracket, you can also
ease the pain by applying plenty of dental wax or dental
silicone on the offending bracket. This forms a barrier
between your the bracket and the sore. Doing this, in
combination with the remedy of your choice, will help heal the
you have a favorite remedy that is not listed on this page,
please email me and I will include it!
This page was last updated
in May, 2006