Dopers, how do you deal with canker sores?

For quite a few years, I’ve been pestered with rather medium outbreaks of canker sores - usually two or three ulcers every three weeks, or so. They’ve usually lasted for no more than a few days, two whole weeks being the (painful) record.

But recently, what with Exam stress and all that, I just had a strong outbreak of no less than seven sores, with two more growing fit to burst, any day. It’s rather painful to eat and talking is a slow affair. This, combined with that me and my gf are planning a two weeks holiday together, forcing me to deal with my immediate family, has put me in a rather sour mood lately. (Which, in turn, has Easybreathgirl in a bit of a strop with me)

So, I turn to you, the Teeming Millions - how have you treated your canker sores to get the minimal pain and least lasting violation?

[sub]Excuses for my poor english, I’m Norwegian. Be gentle. And step away from the goat.[/sub]

Pack each sore with salt. It’ll make you jump around like a dog on a hot plate, but it helps. Or rinse your mouth out with hydrogen peroxide (don’t swallow!) or salt water. Or let a goat lick the inside of your mouth. :wink:

I see someone missed the minimal pain part of my post :eek:

[sub]And again, step away from the goat![/sub]

My dad swears that eating apples will clear up canker sores painlessly* within a couple days. I haven’t tried it myself, though, so I can’t give any personal experience. But hey, fruit is good for you anyway, so it’s worth a shot.

*that’s not to say the canker sores won’t still hurt as usual, but at least there’s no additional pain, like Marlitharn’s salt method!

When I used to suffer terrible outbreaks, my doctor prescribed “Miles Solution.” It worked great and didn’t sting or burn or anything. You might try asking your doctor about it.

I’ve never had more than one at a time – don’t know how practical this is for multiples. I cut a small square of high quality paper towel (app. 2"x2"; the paper towel I use is Viva) and fold it into fourths, then put the folded paper towel between the site of the sore and the gums. This helps keep the sore dry enough to let it heal. If I leave the paper towel in overnight, the sore is usually pretty much healed in the morning. If the paper towel gets too soggy, I replace it with a dry one. Remove the paper towel carefully as some of it will heal into the sore, but that doesn’t seem to hurt anything.

I second the recommendation of using hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash, especially if you dilute it with water. At full strength, the taste can be on overwhelming, and I seem to recall being told by my doctor that it’s “too strong” and can be counterproductive. Works fastest if you use it several times a day, but even once a day will help. I’ve used prescription meds before, but they didn’t seem to work any better or faster than the peroxide. I’ve also used diluted salt water rinses, but the taste made me gag. I can’t imagine putting salt directly on the sores - ouch!

Good luck.

The main things I have tried for treatment/pain relief were Orajel (numbing gel) and some kind of superglue (I am not kidding!) marketed to put on the sores to protect them.

In addition to stress, many people find Sodium Laureth Sulfate in toothpaste causes canker sores. I suggest switching to a brand without SLS (Rembrandt makes one, so does Biotene). This made a world of difference for me. You could use baking soda if these aren’t available.

How do you think he got those sores in the first place? (at least he’s only got them in his mouth)

Anyway . . . I’ve had some success with Orabase B (not Orajel, not Orabase A). I’ve also heard of people using sauerkraut juice, but haven’t tried it myself.

I just start brushing my teeth more frequently - at noon, maybe part way through the afternoon - seems to help keep the mouth cleaner or something.

Oh, and a topical anæsthetic like OralJel right on the canker sore.

TCP mouthwash
Clorhexidine mouthwash/gel
Salt water mouthwash
Bonjela or a teething gel

Here’s a site about them that might help:

When they’re on the inside of my cheek, I pop them. First I put a bit of Kleenex between the sore and my gums, then I push my cheek (at the site of the sore, of course, and from the outside) until the sore bursts.
A little gross, but effective.

I’m on a steady course of working my way through the cures listed above and I really appreciate the input - knew the Dope wouldn’t let me down :slight_smile:

I’ve never had any success when trying to pop them, since any laceration I’ve caused on them seems to have had no effect. And they do not seem to be filled with any kinds of pus or liquid, that I can detect. (Long experiments over the years with a set of q-tips and a pocket knife being the only ‘proof’ I can proffer, though)

Harriet the Spry
While the thought of applying superglue to my gums makes my jaw clench involuntarily, I’ll look up Orajel when I’ve got access to an apothecary tomorrow. (I live in a rather rural part of the district, but I’ll be in town tomorrow) Scribbles name down on list - Thanks!

I don’t really think I’ve got cause to take this all the way up to the doctor level unless it gets a helluva lot worse than it is, but I’ll have a talk with my brother-in-law when I visit the in-laws in the summer. Thanks for the tip! Scribbles name down on list

My gf, who’s had a stolid and long relationship to dentures, also really recommended Bonjela, or something that sounded vaguely like it, over the phone - I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it. Salt-water solution moutwash is up on the agenda for tonight. Oh, yurgh - but hey, if it works… Thanks for the tip!

[sub]And again, many excuses for the spelling/grammar. Be gentle.[/sub]

Mr. S gets them a lot and he swears by alum, 99 cents at the grocery store. Just put a little pinch on the sore. It’ll make you spit, but it’ll also close up the sore.

Cough drops are a great way to numb them. This is not a cure but it’ll certainly make them less annoying.

I’ve discovered that preventative measures are easiest. I never got canker sores too often, but once is one time to many.

Anyway, it really helps to use mouthwash every day, if you don’t already. Keeps your mouth clean, or something like that. More sleep and less stress never hurt, either.

You might want to talk to your doctor, and get the lesions cultured to find out if they’re herpes simplex. If so, and you have them frequently, use of an antiviral like acyclovir or its cousins can speed healing quite a bit.

If it’s determined they’re true canker sores, a little kenalog orabase from your doc might be appropriate.

Otherwise, topical viscous lidocaine (prescription only) or a little diphenhydramine solution or powder (available over the counter) can provide halfway decent numbing of the lesions.

At least that’s what I do for my patients with frequent painful lesions.

I started taking Claritin for hives once, and discovered to my delight that my chronic, multiple canker sores disappeared along with the hives. I went off Claritin to test this theory, and after a few days, the canker sores came back. Now I take Claritin (actually its Costco generic equivalent) daily and am canker sore-free.

My mother-in-law swears by alum. She says it stings, but it will shrink the sore.

I’m now just recovering from a 2 week outbreak resulting from final exams, senior project and graduation stresses. When the acute pain really got to me, I used a warm saltwater gargle. No sting and provided temporary relief. It didn’t do much for the dull ache, though and even for the sharper pain, it wore off after a few minutes.

Anyway, it’s probably ingredients you have around the house.