Canker Sore / Aphthous Stomatitis / Aphthous Ulcer
A mouth ulcer is a very painful open sore inside the mouth, caused by a break in the mucus membrane. Don’t panic—these sores are not herpes.
They start with tingling and burning, then form a red bump, which opens up into an ulcer, also called a canker sore. The ulcer is light colored with a red border. They sometimes have a white circle around it. The ulcer may cause painful swelling below the jaw.
Small oral ulcers heal on their own in a couple weeks. Even a group of very small ulcers will generally heal before a month is up, with no scars or other negative effects. Larger or more painful ulcers, however, usually take more than a month to heal and you may end up with scar. Natural treatments to reduce the swelling and inflammation are a good idea for these ulcers.
What Causes Oral Ulcers?
Oral ulcers are usually an overreaction by the body's own immune system, which can be caused by food allergies, stress, and exhaustion. You can also get them from injuries such as biting the lip or getting hit on the lip, wearing braces, and passionate kisses. Here are some other causes:
- Hormonal imbalances including menstrual cycles and imbalances caused by coffee, prescription drugs, and stress
- Deficiencies in B vitamins, particularly B2, and in iron
- Candida infection
- Gluten, which is found in wheat, oats, spelt, rye, or barley and can result in chronic mouth ulcers. Many products, even natural ones, include added gluten, so read the ingredients. Even beer is often made from wheat, and of course, most bread products include gluten.
- Vitamin C products, especially ascorbic acid or citric acid
- Illness can bring on the canker sores. If they occur often and you have avoided the known causes, your immune system is not functioning correctly.
Treatments for Oral Ulcers
- Use a highly concentrated solution of sea salt in water as hot as you can stand to hold in your mouth. Keep swishing the solution around in your mouth and on the affected area until the water cools. The salt will sting, but it will clean the bacteria out and help your tissues contract and clot, then grow back together more efficiently. Remember, your body is nearly 1% salt (sodium chloride). This salt mouthwash first expands the tissue at the wound site, then shrinks it naturally.
- Herbalists also recommend aloe vera gel and deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) chewable tablets for oral ulcers. Aloe vera gel soothes and heals the mouth’s delicate mucous membranes. Clinical research suggests that chewable DGL tablets are extremely effective oral ulcer cures. According to one study, chewing on DGL tablets completely healed oral ulcers in 15 out of 20 patients. Best of all, the healing was done within only three days.
Try Vitamin E oil on the scarred areas to make them disappear.