Canker and Cold Sore Survival Guide
Canker sores are little ulcers inside of your mouth that hurt like the dickens. Cold sores, on the other hand, are sores on the outside of your lip. Although they are similar, they are actually quite different.
Cold sores are caused by a virus and can be spread to other people. Canker sores are not contagious, just unpleasant. If you ask a doctor what causes canker sores, the scientific answer would be “they are of unknown etiology.” This means “despite a lot of research, we’re still not sure.” There are, however, some things that trigger canker sores. . . stress, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, allergies and physical trauma – like biting your tongue or cheek.
Both cold sores and canker sores typically last 7-14 days and are completely healed, without intervention, within 21 days. However, for those who experience them regularly, they can be really painful and alter the ability to eat and speak properly.
What can be done to prevent them?
Try to minimize stress
- Get plenty of sleep
- Have some fun
Be kind to your mouth
- Don’t brush so hard, use a gentle touch
- Avoid foods that irritate your mouth
- Fix any broken or sharp teeth
- Use toothpaste without Sodium Laurel Sulfate (check the label)
- Tell your dentist if your mouth seems too dry
- Buy it at any health food or vitamin store
- Take 500 mgs two to three times daily
- (Note: during a flare up, increase the dose to 1000mgs three times daily until the sore heals)
What can be done to treat the sores?
- Eat bland foods
- Rinse with salt water after every meal and before bedtime (use 1 tsp salt in a cup of warm water and gently rinse your mouth)
- Use one of the following products:
- Lip Clear Lyseine– by Quantum Health
- For treating cold sores on your lips. l L-Lysine is an essential amino acid that inhibits the normal replication of viruses. The result is that it shortens the duration of an outbreak. This product, a topical cream, is a combination of L-Lysine and other botanicals and nutrients that will help relieve the symptoms of your outbreaks. Studies show that using this product at the first sign of an outbreak (typically an itching or tingling sensation) can reduce the duration of your outbreak by up to 50%. Sold at Whole Foods.
- Canker Cover– by Quantum Health
- This is a canker sore patch that adheres easily to the ulcer in your mouth and forms a clear gel. It claims to provide immediate pain relief and total protection from food and drink. A patch should last 8-12 hours. It may be just the kind of relief you need to get through the day. Sold at Whole Foods.
- Cankermelts– by Ora Health
- This is another canker sore patch that adheres to ulcers. It is all natural and utilizes an anti-inflammatory extract from the licorice root. It claims to heal sores in 1 to 5 days. Sold at CVS pharmacy.
IMPORTANT: If your sore does not heal after 2 weeks, see your dentist. You may have a more serious condition.