5 Tips to Get Rid of Canker Sores Faster

If you’ve ever had a canker sore, you know what a nuisance those little suckers can be. Different from a cold sore, canker sores are small ulcers that appear inside the mouth and on the tongue. They are not caused by a virus and are not contagious, but they can be extremely painful and can cause difficulty eating or swallowing.

While the exact cause of canker sores are unknown, stress is believed to play a large role in canker sore formation. “People who are doing too much work or college kids who have a lot of stressful exams often come down with canker sores,” says Dr. Eddie Saremi, DMD, a dentist based in Los Angeles.

Canker sores typically take one to two weeks to heal, but that can be a long time to deal with the uncomfortable pain. To help heal your canker sores faster, we asked Dr. Saremi for his top tips to get rid of those pesky ulcers.

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Stop stressing

“The bottom line I tell my patients: don’t stress — life is too short,” says Dr. Saremi. Try to find a way to relax, whether it’s taking a walk during your lunch hour or taking a quick study break to get a meal with friends. Finding a way to wind down will help prevent the formation of new sores and allow your current ones to heal.

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“Many patients I know put alum on their canker sores,” says Dr. Saremi. Normally used as a food additive, alum can be put on canker sores to help with pain relief and help the sores heal faster. Just place the crystalline powder on the sore and wash out with water after a few minutes. Repeat once or twice a day as needed. Alum can be found in the spice section of the supermarket.

Alum, $8, Amazon

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Brush and floss

Proper dental hygiene can help with healing of canker sores by making sure no bacteria gets into the affected area. Brushing and flossing helps keep bacteria count down and allows the canker sore to heal without interference. You can also use a non-alcoholic rinse to help keep the mouth clean and free of bacteria.

Colgate Toothpaste, $22, Amazon

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Avoid spicy and acidic food

Try not to eat spicy or acidic foods, which can irritate sores. Avoid coffee, chocolate, and juices. Eating bland foods will help to let your canker sores heal, so stick to foods like dairy products, soft potatoes, hot cereals, and soup.

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Use a dental gel like Oxyfresh

Gel creams can help soothe and heal canker sores and also help with keeping your mouth clean. These gels contain ingredients like aloe and chamomile to help soothe inflammation. “I have been using Oxyfresh for 30 years,” says Dr. Saremi. “It’s a great antibacterial to help your mouth heal faster.

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