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Before we talk about the best remedies for mouth ulcers we need to know a little bit about them and what they look like. So what are mouth ulcers ?.
Mouth ulcers or canker sores are painful round sores that are found in the mouth, typically on the inside of the mouth on the cheeks or lips.
They’re usually white, red or yellow in colour and are inflamed (red and swollen) around the edge as well as being sore to the touch.
Although mouth ulcers can be uncomfortable, especially when you are eating, drinking or brushing your teeth, they are usually quite harmless.
Most ulcers clear by themselves within a week or two. You may only need to see your GP or dentist if the ulcer gets worse or lasts for longer than three weeks, or if you continue to develop ulcers regularly.
How common are mouth ulcers?
Mouth ulcers are quite normal, particularly in females and younger adults,and most people will have one or two a year.
However, some people have mouth ulcers or canker sores that can come back regularly. Recurrent mouth ulcers tend to affect about one in every five people.
What causes mouth ulcers?
Most minor mouth ulcers are caused by damage to the mouth, for example by accidentally biting the inside of your cheek while eating food or from something sharp in the mouth such as a sharp tooth or a filling.
The cause of recurrent mouth ulcers is not always clear, but it’s likely to be brought on by a combination of factors which can include genetic traits, or other factors such as stress or anxiousness, eating certain foods, hormonal changes and quitting smoking.
Sometimes, recurrent mouth ulcers can be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as an iron deficiency (anaemia) or of Crohn’s disease.
How to treat mouth ulcers.
Usually most mouth ulcers heal within 10-14 days and usually don’t cause any harm or any lasting problems, although severe ulcers may last for several weeks and could potentially leave scarring.
If you have a mouth ulcer that is particularly painful or is interfering with your normal routine and affecting things such as eating, there are some measures and medications that may help.
These can include using a soft bristled toothbrush when brushing your teeth, avoiding hard foods, and using mouthwash, spray, gels or lozenges that can help to reduce the pain and help the ulcer to heal faster.
Some of the best remedies for mouth ulcers you can use to help alleviate the pain and discomfort triggered by ulcers include:
Honey has many great properties including antibacterial properties and potentially anti-inflammatory properties as well, making it a wonderfully soothing coating for a painful mouth ulcer.
It also helps in reducing scarring and hastens the process of new tissue growth. This, along with its anti-microbial properties ensures faster healing of the mouth ulcer.
Dab a little honey onto the ulcer or mix it with a little bit of turmeric to make a paste that can then be used to coat the affected area.
Chamomile is an herb that people have used for centuries and is most commonly used to help with sleep, aid relaxation, and also to aid digestion. German chamomile has been shown to reduce inflammation and also has antiseptic properties.
The ability of chamomile to reduce inflammation and to act as an antiseptic make it great in reducing the pain mouth ulcers or canker sores cause and also can help to potentially speed up the healing process.
Coconut oil, dry coconut or even coconut water are very useful at treating mouth ulcers. Drinking coconut water helps to cool down the body.
Applying a small amount of coconut oil directly onto the affected area or chewing some dry or fresh coconut helps reduce the pain and inflammation of mouth ulcers and also helps the ulcer to heal faster.
Warm Salt Water.
If you have a canker sore or mouth ulcer that is really sore, gargling with salt water can help to reduce the pain greatly.
The warm water also helps to produce a soothing sensation, whilst the salt helps to keep the area clean.
Liquorice has several medicinal properties. Studies have found that it contains ingredients that have anti-inflammatory properties which can help in tackling painful mouth ulcers. Liquorice is available as stem pieces as well as in powder form.
By rubbing the stem of the liquorice plant with a little water to make a paste you can then apply this to the affected area, or use liquorice powder with a bit of honey and apply this to the mouth ulcer.
You can also mix a bit of the liquorice powder with a small amount of turmeric into a glass of warm milk and then drink this three or four times in a day. Not only does it taste nice it also helps to alleviate the pain of the ulcer.
Can mouth ulcers be prevented?
Although the exact cause of most recurrent mouth ulcers is unknown, there is no certain way to prevent them. However, following some of the tips outlined below may help reduce your risk of developing mouth ulcers:
Avoid things you think may be triggering your ulcers or canker sores, such as specific foods.
Learn some relaxation tips that can help to relieve stress.
Make sure you maintain a good oral hygiene regime that includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing and using a antibacterial mouthwash preferably one that doesn’t include alcohol.
Have regular check ups at your dentist as your dentist may be able to spot and treat any problems that may be causing the ulcers such as sharp teeth or fillings that can cause damage to the inside of your mouth.
And finally; eat a healthy balanced diet, rich in vitamins and nutrients.
What to Do if Mouth Ulcers Persist
Mouth ulcers that are left untreated generally go away within in a week or two; with the best remedies for mouth ulcers given above, you can expect faster relief. However, after a few weeks if you notice that the ulcer is still present although not causing you any pain, do not neglect it or try to continue to treat it with the home remedies mentioned above.
Make an appointment to see your doctor or GP as soon as possible as it may be the sign of another underlying health problem you may have been previously unaware of.
Taking care of your mouth by following a good oral hygiene routine can have more benefits than just having a great smile and fresh smelling breath.
A healthy mouth can also improve the benefits on your overall health as well. It can reduce the risk of some serious diseases and also help improve self confidence.
So if you ever feel the need to skip brushing or using dental floss or avoid seeing the dentist. Remember you could be doing not only damage to your mouth but to your health as well.
Good Oral Hygiene is not essential just for avoiding mouth ulcers. Below are just some of the benefits that have been attributed to good oral hygiene.
Improving Self Confidence.
As poor oral hygiene is associated with bad teeth and bad breath this can affect self Benefits of Good Oral Hygieneconfidence and self esteem, so if we have a healthy mouth we naturally feel better about ourselves.
Help with heart disease.
Some studies have shown that there may be a link between Benefits of Good Oral Hygieneadvanced gum disease and heart disease which may suggest that maintaining good oral health may lead to a healthier heart.
Can help keep diabetes under control.Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Because people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease it is important that they have a good oral care regime in place as some studies suggest that the bacteria produced because of gum disease can increase blood glucose levels.
Can help with losing weight.
It may seem strange but brushing your teeth can actually help you lose weight. If you have Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene a craving try brushing your teeth for 2 minutes this should help to reduce the cravings and helping you reduce your calorie intake, plus nothing tastes nice after brushing your teeth.
Preserving memory in later life.
Tests have shown that adults with poor oral hygiene,specifically gum disease scored less in tests based on memory and cognitive skills than adults that showed no signs of gum disease according to a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Most of the time gingivitis is easily treatable by using a specially designed mouthwash or toothpaste. If the problems do persist it is important that you schedule a visit to see your dentist to discuss further treatment.
As more and more research is conducted on the benefits of good oral hygiene and more evidence is becoming available showing how good oral health can benefit the body as a whole and the untold benefits on your health.
It is important that you become aware of oral hygiene and start to implement it into your everyday routine.