Oral & Vision Health Blog

Canker Sores, Mouth Ulcers, and Fever Blisters. Causes and Remedies.

You have probably woken up to find a small painful sore in your mouth or a fever blister in the corner of your mouth and wondered how it got there. Canker sores and other conditions of the mouth are a part of life, but there are ways to treat them—with both medical and home remedies.

Canker Sores

These are small sores inside the mouth that may appear three to four times a year and last about 1-2 weeks. The cause is unknown but stress or tissue injury is suspected. Citrusy or acidic fruits and vegetables (lemons, oranges, tomatoes, etc.) can also trigger canker sores or make them worse.

  • Painful sore(s) on your tongue, back of the roof of your mouth or inside your cheeks.
  • Sores are round, and white or gray in color, with a red border.
  • In more severe cases: fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes.
Medical Remedies
  • Prescription mouth rinse to lessen pain and inflammation.
  • Prescription topical paste to reduce pain and speed up healing.
  • Oral steroid medication for severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments.
  • Chemically cauterizing the sores using an instrument or substance to burn the tissue.
  • Nutritional supplements prescribed by your doctor that may help, including folic acid, B-6, B-12 or zinc.
Home Remedies
  • Rinse your mouth using salt water or baking soda (1 tsp of baking soda in a ½ cup of warm water); spit these our after rinsing.
  • Make a paste with baking soda and a little water, and cover the sore with the paste.
  • Purchase over-the-counter products such as Anbesol and Orajel, both of which can numb the sore.
  • Allow ice chip to dissolve over the sores to relieve discomfort.
Mouth Ulcers

These are injuries to the delicate tissue in the inside of your mouth, usually from biting your cheek. Other causes can be injury from a toothbrush slipping while brushing, burns from hot food, irritation from mouthwash and even some infections. The ulcers can be swollen and painful for a few days, or a bit longer if you keep accidentally biting the same spot.

  • Swollen skin around the sore.
  • Tenderness.
  • Difficulty chewing or brushing teeth because of soreness.
  • Sensitivity and irritation by acidic or salty foods.
Medical Remedies
  • Antimicrobial mouth rinse to reduce pain.
  • Steroid ointment to speed up healing.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease swelling.
  • Prescription medication if ulcers are a result of a virus, bacteria or fungus.
Home Remedies
  • Avoid hot, spicy, salty, citrus-based foods.
  • Swish salt water around your mouth.
  • Eat ice, ice pops, other cold foods.
  • Take acetaminophen for pain.
  • Don’t squeeze or pick at the sores or blisters.
  • Mix baking soda and water solution and cover the sores.
  • Mix one part hydrogen peroxide and one part water and dab on the affected area.
Fever Blisters

These are also called cold sores and a herpes simplex virus (HSV). They are clusters of small blisters on the lips and mouth. The skin around the blisters can be red, swollen and sore. The blisters may break open, leak clear fluid and then become scabs after a few days. They usually clear up after several days to 2 weeks. 

  • Sore mouth that makes eating, drinking, and sleeping uncomfortable and even painful.
  • Fever.
  • Sore throat.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Clear fluid draining from the blister.
  • Once infected, HSV remains in your body; you can get recurrent cold sores.
Medical Remedies
  • Prescription anesthetic gel to relive pain.
  • Antiviral oral medication to speed healing and avoid reappearance (Valtrex is the most common).
Home Remedies
  • Cover blisters with petroleum jelly to help protect them from infection.
  • Use an anesthetic ointment with benzocaine to numb the sores.
  • Try aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and other over-the-counter pain reducers.
  • Avoid stress, which can cause an outbreak (yoga, meditation, exercise and other relaxation techniques can help).

Remember that the discomfort is temporary and the remedies listed may help relieve pain and heal the sores. While most sores on and in the mouth can be cared for at home, if you’re experiencing a lot of pain, contact your doctor to seek a treatment plan. Have you been looking for a dental plan? Get a FREE month on us! Click the image below to get your coupon code!

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