Mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores or aphthous ulcers, are open lesions that can occur on the inside of your cheeks or on or around your tongue. Canker sores are not to be confused with cold sores, which are found on the outside of your mouth. Canker sores always occur on the inside of your mouth and usually are white in colour with a red, irritated border. Mouth ulcers, especially on the tongue, can make talking and eating difficult and incredibly painful. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to treat ulcers with things from around the house.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Baking soda
- SLS-free toothpaste
- Numbing gel
Avoid spicy and acidic foods. Do not eat jalapeno peppers, tomatoes or tomato sauce, citrus or any other acidic foods while treating your tongue ulcer. Foods that are spicy and high in acidity will make your ulcer more irritated, slow healing time and make the ulcer feel worse.
Place salt on your tongue ulcer. Place a teaspoon of salt in your hand and add two or three drops of water. Mix the salt around in your hand until it forms a paste. Place the paste directly on your tongue ulcer until it dissolves. This process may sting at first. Apply salt to your tongue three times a day.
Apply baking soda to the ulcer. You can purchase baking soda at your local drugstore or grocery store (see Resources). Place a teaspoon of baking soda in your hand and add four or five drops of water. Mix the baking soda in your hand until it forms a paste. Place the paste directly on your tongue ulcer until the paste dissolves. Apply baking soda to your tongue three times a day.
Brush your teeth twice a day with SLS-free toothpaste. Sodium laureth sulphate is a foaming agent added to most toothpastes. It can irritate some people's mouths and cause mouth ulcers. Purchase a SLS-free toothpaste, like Rembrandt Whitening Canker Sore Toothpaste at your local drugstore or grocery store.
Apply numbing gel to manage the pain. If you are having trouble eating or talking with your mouth ulcer, apply a numbing gel containing benzocaine, like Anbesol. Apply the numbing gel directly to your sore several times a day, as needed. As the sore heals, you will no longer need to use the numbing gel.
Tips and warnings
- Eat slowly to avoid biting your tongue.
- If your tongue ulcer is accompanied by a high fever, contact your doctor immediately.
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