What are canker sores? Round, small painful ulcers that usually heal in 10-14 days without a scar.
What causes canker sores? We do not know. It may be a reaction to stress, hormones, infection, food hypersensitivity, immune problems or hereditary (run in families).
How can I treat them? I recently read an article combining 4 studies.
- Amlexanox is the most effective overall. It is available in a paste and has been shown to increase the chance of being pain-free by day 3 and healing the ulcer by day 3. It is applied four times a day for a week and costs about $30.
- Steroids may help. (In fact, in the short-term, there is a long list of things that
steroids help. . .) Clobetasol paste also helped with pain by day 3 of treatment and decreased ulcer size by day 5.
- A steroid spray may also help decrease pain and ulcer size.
- A silver nitrate stick touched to the lesion by your doctor showed 70% of patients were pain-free by day 1 but it doesn’t speed up ulcer healing.
- Two non-prescription aids which have been shown to decrease pain and number of ulcers are Antiseptic mouthwashes with chlorhexidine and the herbal preparation Eupatorium laevigatum (not yet commercially available) and
Listerine antiseptic containing menthol, thymol, methyl salicylate, and
What can I do to avoid getting more canker sores? Oral vitamin B12 supplements may help. Avoid toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate.
Hope this helps.