What are the Different Treatments for Mouth Sores?

Alex Paul

Mouth sores, or canker sores, can be very painful, but usually heal naturally in about seven days. Home treatments for mouth sores can speed up the process, however, and reduce pain to a more manageable level. Some of the different treatments for mouth sores include a salt water solution, applying a hydrogen peroxide solution directly to the sores, taking painkilling medication, and using over-the-counter remedies. In more severe cases, prescription oral medication or even steroids may be required.

A canker sore is an open sore that forms on the inside of the mouth, also known as an aphthous ulcer.
A canker sore is an open sore that forms on the inside of the mouth, also known as an aphthous ulcer.

If a mouth sore is minor, home treatments may usually suffice. One of the most common home treatments for mouth sores is to prepare a saltwater mixture. To perform this treatment, wash the mouth out with warm water containing a teaspoon of salt. This will cause the sores to sting but may help them to heal more quickly. The water should not be swallowed.

Sometimes mouth pain requires professional help from a dentist or oral surgeon.
Sometimes mouth pain requires professional help from a dentist or oral surgeon.

There are a number of other similar home treatments for mouth sores. Similar to salt, hydrogen peroxide is also sometimes mixed with water; for this treatment, however, the patient should use cotton wool to directly apply the solution to the affected area. Minor mouth sores often heal naturally over time, so painkillers such as paracetamol are sometimes taken to make the pain more manageable.

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Over-the-counter treatments for mouth sores, which can be bought without a doctor’s prescription, can also be useful for treating minor sores. Antiseptic mouthwashes, for example, can be effective at killing any harmful bacteria in the mouth which may be preventing the sores from healing. Mouth sore gels, which can be applied directly to the area, can also help to reduce healing times.

In some cases, a mouth sore may need to be treated professionally if it isn’t responding to home treatments. There are several different methods for treating major mouth sores, although the most common is through oral medicine. Tetracycline and Zovirax are among the medications prescribed for this purpose. Tetracycline, for example, needs to be kept in the person’s mouth for several minutes in order to treat the sore.

If the mouth sores fail to respond to oral medication, a steroid may be used. Corticoid steroids, such as prednisone, can sometimes be effective at treating mouth sores but are usually only recommended for the most severe cases. Steroids can help to reduce inflammation which can also lower pain levels. As mouth sores will usually heal naturally, the use of steroids tends to be rare.

High levels of stress may cause painful mouth sores.
High levels of stress may cause painful mouth sores.

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