Mouth sores can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the inner cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, or palate and is comparable to having a tooth ache especially when it burst in areas in close contact with our teeth or on our tongue. It's difficult to speak, eat and the discomfort it brings hinders us from accomplishing our daily tasks. Mouth sores can be caused by a sharp or broken tooth, biting lip, toungue or cheek, burning your mouth from hot or cold drinks or braces. It can be related to a virus, a temporary weakness in your immune system, hormonal changes, irritation, stress or low level of vitamin B12 or folate.
For unknown reasons, women seem to get canker sores more often than men. This may be related to hormone changes. With the kind of heat we have this summer, we're definitely vulnerable to certain kinds of irritation such as mouth sores.
Mouth sores usually go away in 10 to 14 days, even if you don't do anything. They sometimes last up to 6 weeks. The following steps can make you feel better:
- Avoid hot beverages and foods, spicy and salty foods.
- Gargle with cool water or eat popsicles. This is helpful if you have a mouth burn.
- Rinse with salt water. 1 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1 cup (250 ml) of warm water (a.k.a. a saline solution).
- Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 1 part water and apply this mixture to the sores using a cotton swab.
- Rinse regularly with ginger, lemon and honey tea. All 3 ingredients have strong anti-bacterial properties.
- Rinse the mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash (e.g., Listerine), which can relieve pain for a few hours
- Gargle a mouthful of warm vinegar with a half-tablespoon of salt for about 30 seconds, 3 times per day. This may be extremely painful and immediate removal of white viscous cap on the sore will provide pain relief after rinsing quite quickly, but healing can be seen in as early as 2 days.
- Cut a clove of garlic in half and rub on to ulcer several times per day. This may be painful at first but does appear to aid healing.
- Apply powdered alum, (tawas) dry directly to the ulcers and this can be very painful at first, and then sore will be numbed.
- Make a paste of baking soda and water; apply directly to the ulcers.
- Rinse the mouth with a baking soda-water mix—1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 1 cup (250 ml) of warm water.
Consider consulting a physician if a mouth sore has not healed within 2 weeks, if you have a weakened immune system (for example, from HIV or cancer), or if you have other symptoms like fever, skin rash, drooling or difficulty in swallowing.
Now prevention is better than cure. So to avoid getting mouth sores often, talk to your doctor about taking folate and vitamin B12 to prevent outbreaks. Chew slowly. Avoid very hot foods or beverages. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Visit your dentist right away if you have a sharp or broken tooth or misfitting dentures. Stop smoking. Drink plenty of water. Always eat a well-balanced diet. And above all, stop touching the singaw. You're making it worse.