Mouth Rinses to Help with Sore Gums from Canker Sores
It is not unusual to suffer from canker sores and they can be rather painful and affect the gums and mouth. They are noncancerous, small ulcers and they occur on the soft tissue in your mouth. Normally they heal by themselves and aren’t a major concern, however, there are treatments that can relieve the pain and help you recover faster. Mouth rinses are the most common of these remedies, and they can be either prescribed by your doctor or they can be homemade. In either case, they come in handy whenever these lesions are particularly painful or long lasting.
About Canker Sores
Aphthous ulcers, as they are also called, develop on any area in the inside of the mouth, with the appearance of yellow or white ulcers encircled by a red edge. They are different from another type of lesion known as cold sores, that are blisters filled with liquid, are painful and small, and come out on the chin or on the lips.
Canker sores sometimes appear out of nowhere, however sometimes they are the result of an injury either from accidentally biting yourself, aggressive teeth brushing or dental work. They can also appear if you are suffering from a viral infection or your immune system is compromised. Stress is often associated with these painful sores, as well as women who have their period or suffer from an iron, B-12 vitamin or folic acid deficiency. Young people have the highest rate of developing these lesions, but anyone at any age is prone to having them as well. Although women have a slightly higher chance of suffering from canker sores, they are also common in members of the same family, so maybe you have another family member who suffers from constant canker sores as well. The normal healing time for these ulcers is between one and two weeks.
Sometimes you can use ingredients found in your home to make mouth rinses or buy them at a pharmacy, and they can speed up the healing process of canker sores. Some are very easy, such as warm water with salt, a solution made of hydrogen peroxide with water in a 50:50 ratio or baking soda (1 teaspoon) in warm water (1/2 cup). Another option is magnesium hydroxide antacid and diphenhydramine liquid allergy medicine in equal parts. Or instead of the mentioned antacid, you can use bismuth subsalicylate or simethicone. There are commercial names for these remedies which you may know of, such as Milk of Magnesia for magnesium hydroxide or Benadryl for the allergy medicine, Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate have bismuth subsalicylate, and Gas-X and Phazyme contain simethicone. Swish the solution inside your mouth for one minute and spit it out. You can do this procedure four times each day or until your sores have healed. You can also consider making a rinse out of chamomile and sage, using the same amount of both herbs and mix with water. Then use the concoction to rinse your mouth four to six times a day.
In order to decrease the bacteria inside of your mouth, a rinse with antibiotic properties may be prescribed by your physician, thus alleviating pain and helping with a faster recovery from the canker sores. Usually, these rinses have the active ingredients chlorhexidine gluconate, minocycline and tetracycline. They are mostly applied between two and four times a day. Prescriptions for tetracycline are not given to children due to the fact that one side effect is the staining of teeth during their development.
To reduce the symptoms and the time it takes to heal canker sores, the use of anti-inflammatory rinses is recommended by the AAFP. One of the steroid medications used is Dexamethasone and it is commonly prescribed by dentists and doctors for these lesions.
It is used in 12-hour intervals, swishing it in your mouth and then spitting it out, until your ulcers are healed. Sometimes fungal infections may arise with the use of these steroids, so watch out if a white layer or coating appears on the inside of your cheeks or tongue after using these rinses.
In some cases, these lesions are a sign of more serious medical conditions, like oral herpes, oral cancer or an autoimmune disease. If one of these ulcers lasts more than 14 days, the symptoms get worse or new sores appear, please contact your doctor. Moreover, symptoms such as a high temperature, headaches, swollen glands or a rash, please consult your physician as soon as possible.
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