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Clinician’s Corner: Canker Sores

Canker sores

Canker sores also known as aphthous ulcers are painful, round shallow lesions with a grayish base. Recurrent current canker sores are the most common cause of mouth ulcers. Some patients may have only two to four outbreaks per year, while others may have almost continuous eruptions. Canker sores are seen most frequently in childhood and adolescence and decrease in frequency in adulthood. There seems to be an association between recurrent cases of canker sores and an overactive immune system; it is not caused by a specific virus or bacteria.

  • Canker sores are made worse by: trauma, hormonal factors, and emotional stress. Avoid trauma to mouth when brushing teeth.  Avoid eating “sharp” foods like nacho’s and chips to minimize oral trauma.  Cover sharp edges of braces with dental wax.

Remedies you can make at home include:            

  • Applying ice chips directly to the ulcer
  • Rinsing mouth with a baking soda solution: 1 teaspoonful of baking soda to ½ cup of warm water.
  • Dab a small amount of milk of magnesia to the canker sore a few times per day.

Your pharmacist can recommend any of the following over the counter treatments:

  • Zilactin-B forms a protective film over the lesion, and can be applied every 6 hours. Benzocaine helps decrease the pain, but should be avoided in kids under age.
  • Peroxyl® rinse (peroxide) to cleanse the sores
  • Deficiency in the “blood building” supplements folic acid, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 or zinc. Vitamin B-12 sublingual 1000mcg dissolved in the mouth may be effective in treatment/prevention of canker sores.

IF all else fails, your doctor or dentist can prescribe any of the following treatments for canker sores:  These anti-inflammatory drugs are the mainstay for canker sore treatment.

  • Dexamethasone elixir 0.5mg/5ml. Rinse and spit out.
  • Triamcinolone dental paste 0.1%
  • Magic Mouthwash: Benadryl/Maalox/lidocaine2% viscous—equal parts
  • Chlorhexidine gluconate (Peridex) mouth rinses reduce the severity and pain of ulceration but do not affect the frequency.

Whether you choose a home remedy, an over-the-counter remedy or need a prescription for your mouth ulcers, your Thompson Pharmacist is the best resource for quick relief.  At Thompson Pharmacy, it’s all for YOU!