That little crater in your mouth causes more pain than anything so small deserves to. Rest assured that in a week or two, your ulcer will be history. Meanwhile, here are ways to blunt the pain.
- Over-the-counter ulcer products form a long-lasting protective coating over the sore to speed healing and provide fast pain relief.
- Cut open a vitamin E capsule and squeeze a bit of the liquid onto the sore.
- Use a small amount of milk of magnesia as a mouth rinse, or apply it to the sore three to four times a day.
- Vitamin C helps heal your mouth's mucous membranes. Normally, we would turn to citrus fruits for vitamin C, but these may actually cause ulcers in some people. Instead, take vitamin C supplements. Try 1,000 milligrams three times a day. If you develop diarrhoea with dosages this high, switch to 500-milligram supplements instead.
- Zinc may help mouth sores heal faster. As soon as you detect a sore developing, take 30 milligrams of zinc lozenges each day until it's gone.
The Power of Prevention
- See your dentist if you have any kind of tooth problem that could irritate the inside of your mouth. Ill-fitting dentures, especially, can be a problem.
- People plagued with frequent mouth ulcers may have a deficiency in certain B vitamins or Iron. Try taking a daily B-vitamin complex and a daily multivitamin/multimineral for iron. To get more B vitamins into your diet, look to beans, wheat germ, and fortified cereal. Lean beef is a good source of iron.
- Make a tea from calendula, valued for centuries in the treatment of minor sores. Pour a cup of boiling water over a teaspoon or two of dried petals. Let it steep for 10 minutes, strain out the leaves, and let the tea cool down until it's barely warm. You can gargle and rinse several times a day, or drink the tea.
- The sap of aloe vera-the ubiquitous "first aid plant"-can bring welcome relief. Squeeze a bit of gel from an aloe vera leaf. Dry the sore with a cotton swab, then dab on the gel. Repeat as often as you like.
- Echinacea is an herb that strengthens your immune system. Take 200 milligrams two or three times a day when you first notice a sore starting to appear.
- Apply a damp tea bag to the sore for five minutes. Tea is alkaline, so it neutralizes acids. It also contains astringent compounds, which may help relieve the pain.
When to consult a dentist
If the pain is too distracting or it's keeping you from eating or drinking, call your dentist. Definitely call the dentist if you have more than four sores at a time or if the sores last longer than two weeks.
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