My Home Remedies

Canker Sores Home Remedy Comments

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Chris Beatty

Since everyone’s time is short, I’ll give the punch line right away and you can decide if the details are worth your time.
1) Canker sores are small (painful) infections that occur when the lining of the mouth is compromised by mechanical or chemical damage. Probably not a virus as once thought.
2) Switching to a somewhat obscure toothpaste called Squigle (yes, really) reduced my canker sore problem by about 75%. The toothpaste was designed by a dentist to minimize ingredients that irritate your mouth lining or inhibit healing. These include detergents (especially sodium laurel sulfate (SLS)), bleaches (like peroxides), abrasives, etc. Beware of a new Rembrandt “canker sore” toothpaste that is free of SLS, but made my problem much worse.
3) When I do bite or otherwise nick the inside of your mouth, I use Biotene mouthwash to reduce infection risk in a painless way. I also use it when I know I am stressed or starting to see signs of problems in my mouth.
4) If I still get a canker sore, I use a Canker Cover for two to three days. For me, it will shut down the sore and put it on a path toward healing. They are a bit awkward, but they work.
Here is some background and more information for those who are interested.
I have had canker sores since I was little. My recollection is that I had them pretty often when I was small, then it became infrequent for a number of years, then it started to worsen as an adult. It got bad enough that I would have the same sore for many weeks (due to re-injury and/or lack of healing) only to be followed by another one shortly thereafter. I was crabby and getting a little depressed. I was desperate to improve the situation. I even had my dentist grind down my eye teeth because they were frequent culprits in cutting the inside of my mouth. I started studying the problem. One important item is that the belief when I was a kid was that the sores were caused by a virus and, like the common cold, there was little that could be done except to treat the pain. This is no longer the current thinking. It now appears that the sores are small, extremely painful “secondary infections.” This means that something else causes the primary wound and then the bugs (bacteria) in your mouth take over. The mouth, of course, is a very buggy place.
The first real breakthrough for me came when I read that detergents (ie soaps) are put in nearly all toothpaste to make it foam. It doesn’t really help clean your teeth, but the effect is deemed worthwhile. These materials, especially sodium laurel sulfate, irritate the inside of your mouth and/or damage the natural protective layer, and/or inhibit healing once a sore occurs. This effect was documented by research in Sweden some years ago (ref). Finding a toothpaste that does not have SLS is not easy. After some looking, I found a brand called Squigle. The name is a little hard to take seriously, but the effect was totally serious! My canker sores went down by about 75% with sustained use of Squigle. This toothpaste has been carefully designed by a dentist in Pennsylvania to be free of ingredients that promote or prolong canker sores. These include SLS and similar coumpounds, bleaches, abrasives, and more. Squigle also has a lot of xylitol which fosters benign bugs at the expense of the nasty ones which cause tooth decay (and possibly canker sores, but I have not seen any research on this). BTW, be wary of the new Rembrandt “SLS Free – Canker Sore” toothpaste. After a couple years of Squigle, I ran out and decided to try a tube of this since I could get it locally. I didn’t think much about it because it was SLS free. I soon began to get canker sores again. I didn’t make the connection right away (duh!). The situation escalated to the point where I had five active canker sores in my mouth at one time. This was the worst I had ever had in my life. It finally dawned on me that I had changed toothpaste about when the problem occurred. I immediately ordered more Squigle and decided that just water might be an improvement. Within 48 hours of the time I stopped using Rembrandt, two of the sores had subsided. Within another 72 hours, they were all healing. This was after weeks of steadily worsening condition. I am back on Squigle and have not seen a single sore in a couple months. This set of events is what prompted me to share my collected experience. I hope it helps some people. Okay, back to the previous situation. Squigle alone was enough to make things manageable for me. However, there was still room for improvement. When I still got the occasional sore, I would rinse my mouth with Listerine since I knew it killed bacteria. It hurt like hell, but didn’t usually help. I did it anyway, although I’m not sure why. On a business trip, I bit my mouth and I didn’t have any mouthwash. I went to a local pharmacy and bumped into a product called Biotene. Instead of harsh alcohol to kill bacteria, this product uses enzymes. It is completely painless. In fact, it provides a bit of immediate pain relief in my experience. It also appears to create a better mouth condition for healing. While I have not found the effect to be quite as dramatic as the toothpaste, it does seem to help me so I keep it as a part of my arsenal (yes, this is warfare). On that same trip, I actually found two new products. The other one was a small patch called a “Canker Melt” that you put on the sore to protect it and promote healing. The first time I tried it (with Biotene), it worked. The sore shut down and healed. Since then I have tried it a few more times, and it has not helped. It is worth a try if you don’t mind the taste of licorice since it made from licorice root. I have had better luck with a different type of “patch” called a “Canker Cover.” These are little tablets that you apply directly to the sore. They swell up a bit and create a protective cover that has a slight menthol flavor. The protection does provide some pain relief and my experience has been that if you use them at night before bed, the sore will begin to heal within a couple days. The downside is that you wake up in the morning with this gooey patch in your mouth. Not horrible, but a little awkward. For me, it beats the pain of the sore.
Another major area that has been studied a bit is diet/nutrition. There are some long lists of things you are not supposed to eat if you get canker sores. Among these is chocolate and wine and I am pretty stubborn about giving up either one! You may want to look into it more. I have also read some pretty credible sounding stories from people that had specific nutritional deficiencies that seemed to cause problems. You may want to look at lysine or vitamin B12, especially if you are a vegetarian/vegan.
All in all, I feel lucky that I have been able to turn this bad situation into an infrequent occurrence. I hope that this information can help a few others make some improvement, too. If it does, I’d love to hear about it at christopherbeatty@hotmail.com. Good luck.

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Anonymous

I'm so glad to see that I'm not alone!your post was so helpful and inspiring I'm going to use all you'd suggestions! Thanks for gving me hope!

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