Nothing spoils a meal quite like a canker sore you didn’t know you had. You bite into a Cajun chicken sandwich or snack on some chips and salsa and pain suddenly screams from a small ulcer inside your mouth.
These mouth ulcers, also called canker sores, can appear on the inner part of your lips, on the inner linings of your cheeks, on your tongue, under your tongue and even in your throat. They can be white, yellow or gray surrounded by a red rim. And they can be very painful any time you drink citrus juices, eat citrus fruit or eat spicy foods.
While canker sores typically linger for one to two weeks, the good news is you can take steps on your own to lessen the pain and help the ulcers go away faster. Here are five ways to treat canker sores:
1 - Avoid spicy, citrus and acidic foods and drinks.
These can irritate the ulcers, make them more painful and delay their healing. Eat more bland foods and rinse your mouth with water after each snack and meal so food particles don’t irritate the ulcer.
2 - Use a salt or baking soda rinse.
Mix your own warm water rinse by adding either a half-teaspoon of salt and dissolving or adding one teaspoon of baking soda to a half cup of water. Gently swish the rinse around your mouth, spit out and repeat until the glass is empty. You can do this a few times each day, as needed.
3. Let ice chips dissolve in your mouth.
Do not chew on ice cubes or put an entire ice cube in your mouth at once. Use ice chips and let one slowly dissolve to numb the pain and reduce inflammation in your mouth. This is helpful for when you accidentally irritated the ulcer, such as by drinking or eating something acidic.
If you tend to get mouth ulcers frequently, you may want to talk to your doctor. Repeated canker sores may be caused by a vitamin deficiency, allergy or certain medications.