Have you ever taken a swig of orange juice and felt a familiar sting in your cheek? Mouth sores happen more often than you’d think, but that doesn’t mean you have to wallow in pain until they go away.
There are ways to treat such sores at home, but sometimes you might need to see a dentist to get them taken care of for good. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips.
Types of Sores
When it comes to pain in our mouths, we usually aren’t so concerned about what it is as much as how to make it go away. The problem is, what it is determines how to make it go away. So let’s look at the basic types of sores that can wreck havoc in your mouth.
- Irritation. Mouth sores can develop due to rubbing from braces, broken teeth, biting your cheek or tongue, burning your mouth, even from chewing tobacco.
- Cold sores. These sores are caused by the herpes virus and can be very painful. They usually arrive with a tingling sensation, turn into blisters, and then scab over. The virus lives in your body, and the sores pop up when triggered by things such as stress or another illness. Oh, and they’re highly contagious (no kissing!).
- Canker sores. These irritating sores aren’t contagious, but no one knows exactly why they appear. They usually look like an ulcer, and arrive solo or in a group. Mysteriously, women tend to get them more than men.
- A sign of illness, tumor, or reaction to medication. Since the reasons for these kinds of sores is varied, so is what they look like.
How to Make It Go Away
Now that you know what to look for when a mouth sore crops up, how do you treat it? We’re only going to cover treatment for 2 of the sores above as sores caused by irritation are easily solved (stop irritating them) and a sore brought on by an illness, etc. should be looked at by a medical doctor.
Of the two sores above that are treatable on your own, let’s start with canker sores, since those are easy to work with. One website lists 5 home remedies and two prescribed treatments for canker sores. That’s a lot of ways to get rid of them! They include treatments with hydrogen peroxide, milk of magnesia, baking soda, liquid antihistamine, and antiseptic mouth rinses. In severe cases, you can get prescriptions for oral anti-viral medications and liquid steroids (though this last one is rare). You can use similar home treatments for sores caused by irritation since those are basically just cuts. The goal then becomes to clear out bacteria to promote healing, and all the home remedies we listed do just that.
As for cold sores, you might just have to wait it out. They usually last 10 days. Over-the-counter medicines like Abreva can reduce the irritation and pain of a cold sore. You can get oral anti-viral medications for cold sores as well.
When to See a Dentist
When a mouth sore won’t improve after a week of home remedies, it’s usually time to seek a professional. The American Dental Association specifically recommends seeing a dentist after a week with no change in a mouth sore. Usually mouth sores go away on their own after a maximum of 2 weeks, so if one persists beyond this, you should certainly seek medical help. If you suspect your mouth sore to originate from one of the rarer causes listed above—illness, tumor, or reaction to medication—you should certainly see a dentist or doctor.
What’s your mouth sore cure?
If reading about these issues isn’t enough information for you, check out this slideshow of mouth problems. These images may be able to help you diagnose your own mouth sore, saving you an unnecessary trip to the dentist.
Do you treat your mouth sores with any of the home remedies we mentioned? Which ones work for you the best? Have you heard of treatments we forgot about? Let us know! Our readers will be excited to hear that they’re not alone in treating their mouths.