How to Ease the Pain of Mouth Ulcers

Mouth sores are terrible.  They cause pain when you eat, drink and speak.  They can affect people of all ages.  There are some people who tend to develop an ulcer every time they see the dentist or accidentally bite their lip, cheek or tongue.

If you or a loved one suffer from mouth sores, here is what you need to know to manage the pain they cause.

Simple Home Remedies

Regardless of what caused the ulcer, there are a few simple remedies that will alleviate some of the pain they cause.  The easiest is to create a numbing effect by holding a small piece of ice in your mouth, positioned over the sore.  The cold will soothe some of the inflammation present in the ulcer and reduce the painful sensations.  Obviously, this is a temporary fix only.  You can repeat it as needed, but do not hold the ice in place for more than 10 minutes at a time, and take time to rest between applications.

Another simple home remedy is rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.  Sometimes referred to as “saline rinse”, warm salt water has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  You can swish warm salt water around your mouth for one to two minutes up to five times each day.  This will reduce some of the tenderness in an ulcer and keep it clean as it heals.

Over-the-Counter Products

There are multiple over-the-counter products marketed for mouth ulcers and sores.  Some of these can provide substantial relief, and others could actually damage the tissues.

Colgate makes a mouthwash named Peroxyl rinse specifically aimed at reducing inflammation and healing mouth sores.  Make sure you use it only as directed.  Many people find relief from teh pain of ulcers by using products designed to treat dry mouth.  These products, like Biotene mouthwash and gel, have a lubricating effect, so they make it less likely for you to re-injure the ulcerated area.

One category of products with which you should be cautious is topical anesthetic gels or creams like Orajel and Anbesol.  These products contain benzocaine, which will numb the surface tissue, providing temporary relief.  However, when this ingredient is used too frequently, it can actually delay the healing process may damaging the surface tissues.

Patients who suffer from cold sores or fever blisters may use over-the-counter anti-viral ointments to soothe the sore and shorten its duration.  It is important to only use these anti-viral medications (like Abreva) if you are certain your sore is from the HSV-1 virus.  If you’re not sure, you should see your dentist before using these medications.

Treatment by Your Dentist

If these other tactics do not relieve the pain of your ulcer, you should make an appointment to see Dr. Chowning.  When you have a severe sore or major aphthous ulcer, the pain can linger much longer than the average of seven to ten days.  These large sores can cause severe pain, affecting your ability to eat or drink at all.

Some ulcers respond to laser therapy, which fights inflammation and promotes quicker healing.  Laser therapy is NOT an option for sores caused by any type of virus.  Only canker sores and aphthous ulcers are candidates for treatment with a laser.

Your dentist can prescribe special formulations of mouthwash or ointment that will reduce pain and inflammation, as well as promote healing.  As you learn to recognize the early signs of ulcers, you can begin using these prescription products in the early stages.  This helps reduce your overall pain and shorten the lifespan of the mouth sore.

More Questions about Mouth Sores?

Call Timberlake Dental at 940-382-1750 today to schedule a visit with Dr. Chowning.  He can assess your current issue and recommend the best treatment regimen of prescription or over-the-counter products to relieve your pain and help you heal as quickly as possible.

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