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Soothing Mouth Ulcer Treatment Tips

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Have you ever developed a white painful sore with red borders inside your mouth? These are mouth ulcers. Although these lesions are common, the actual cause often remains unclear. A slight injury to the soft tissues in the mouth, ill-fitting dental appliances like dentures or braces, and even irritation from acidic foods are possible contributors. Luckily, mouth ulcers often heal by themselves within a couple of weeks. Still, there are some things that you can do to treat these and reduce pain and discomfort.

What are Canker Sores?

Canker sores are a type of mouth ulcer. They are painful sores that appear on the inside of the mouth—namely, the inner lip, cheeks, gums, tongue, or palate. They can have a white or yellowish appearance with a red outer layer. Unlike cold sores, mouth ulcers are non-contagious and will generally heal without scarring in about a week or two. If you experience severe canker sores that do not get better, you can always consult with a medical doctor or dentist. These are some of the early signs and symptoms of canker sores:

  • A tingling or burning sensation inside your mouth
  • White or grey sores forming inside the mouth
  • Feeling feverish
  • Feeling physically unwell or sluggish
  • Swollen lymph nodes

At-Home Remedies

Although mouth ulcers often go away on their own, they can make daily tasks like eating and toothbrushing uncomfortable. Common home remedies can help with pain relief. Here are a few care tips for treating mouth ulcers:

  • Place an ice cube over the affected area and allow for it to dissolve.
  • Rinse your mouth with saltwater. To make this at-home mouthrinse, simply mix a teaspoon of salt with a half cup of warm water.
  • Apply a small amount of milk of magnesia on your canker sores a few times a day.
  • Avoid acidic and spicy foods as these may further irritate the area.

Over the Counter Mouth Ulcer Treatments

Over-the-counter products can speed up recovery, reduce discomfort, and assist with more severe mouth ulcerations. You can use an antibacterial mouthrinse to soothe irritation or apply a mild topical paste to the affected area. If the sores don't heal after 7-14 days or seem to be reappearing, you should consult with a doctor or dentist.

Can Mouth Ulcers Be Prevented?

Mouth ulcers can reoccur, but you can reduce how often this happens by:

  • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush to minimize soft-tissue irritation.
  • Avoiding acidic, hot, or spicy foods.
  • Avoiding biting or chewing your inner cheeks and lips.

Mouth ulcers can be an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, you can recover from these mouth sores with minimal to no treatment. At-home mouth ulcer remedies can help with pain relief. You can also purchase an over-the-counter, antibacterial mouthrinse or topical numbing gels, creams, or pastes. Use these remedies to encourage faster recovery and soothe irritation while you wait to heal.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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