Secrets of a Top Philadelphia Dentist: Canker Sore Treatment

‘Tis the season for stress, sickness and as a result, mouth sores. Specifically, we are talking about canker sores, which are not to be confused with cold sores. To clarify, canker sores are small ulcers that appear inside of your mouth. Symptoms of canker sores include:

  • Tingling or burning in an area of your mouth before sores appear.
  • Painful sore(s) inside of your mouth, specifically inside of your cheeks, as well as your tongue or soft palate (back roof of your mouth).
  • Round white or gray sores with a red border.
  • In severe cases canker sores can cause swollen lymph nodes, sluggishness and/or fever.

While the precise cause of canker sores is known, a simple canker sore can appear three to four times a year or more, depending on your lifestyle and body. The primary cause of canker sores is stress, whether from your life or the stress placed on your body when fighting a sickness.

Injury to the tissue in your mouth from sharp teeth or a dental appliance is another primary cause of cankers. Though consuming too much of certain acidic vegetables and fruits, or citrus centric fruits, can also lead to canker sores.

Treating Your Canker Sore

While the primary pain and discomfort caused by your canker sore should subside within a few days, it can sometimes persist. As your dentist in Philadelphia, we can prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse or corticosteroid ointment. There are also OTC solutions, but all of these only serve to reduce irritation. They don’t rid your mouth of this dreaded canker sore. For that, you might be interested in this more natural remedy we’ve recently read about.

It starts and ends with this little product known as Alum. Some grocers carry it in the spice isle, but you might just have to find it online (look to Amazon). Either way, to rid yourself of days of discomfort while eating and talking, we’d say it’s worth a try.

Photo Credit: Amazon

How to do this you ask? First, get yourself to a sink, preferably in the bathroom, then:

  • Locate your canker sore
  • Apply a tiny bit of alum to it
  • Count to 100
  • Rinse your mouth out thoroughly

Note: Do NOT swallow Alum. In an effort to avoid swallowing alum, you’ll inevitably drool (into your sink) while counting to 100, but hey, is that so different than being in our dentist chair for your six-month check up? We think not! It may burn a little during that time and your mouth may feel a bit odd after, but the results the next day should be worth it.

In terms of canker sore prevention, there is no real way to ensure you never get them. Though avoiding foods that can irritate your mouth (citric, acidic, spicy or super salty) and gum chewing, while exercising proper oral hygiene, can help.

If you find that you have a fever or intolerable pain, or that your canker sores are unusually large, spreading, lasting longer than 3 weeks or resisting our recommended treatment options, then you need to speak with us immediately!

For any and all appointments please call (215) 564-1025!