How Can I Get Rid of a Canker Sore Overnight?
Let’s get straight to the point: canker sores are the worst!
You don’t want to deal with the discomfort and pain of that canker sore for another minute, let alone another few days.
So you want to know how to get rid of a canker sore in 24 hours. Can it be done? With the right treatments and self-care, it’s possible to accelerate the canker sore healing process, though it may not happen overnight.
How to Make Sure You Actually Have Canker Sores
Canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are shallow white lesions with inflamed pink borders that occur inside the lips and mouth. The sores are typically 1-4 mm in size, but aggressive sores can be larger than 5 mm.
Though they are often confused with cold sores Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), canker sores are not contagious. Raw canker sores make it challenging to eat, sleep, and speak. Even with traditional therapies, they can take as long as 2-3 weeks to heal.
The most common triggers for canker sores include:
- - NSAIDs (Motrin®, Aleve®)
- - Vitamin deficiencies (low vitamin B12 or iron)
- - Foods high in citric acid, such as oranges, tomatoes, and some cheeses
- - Underlying autoimmune conditions (HIV/AIDs, Lupus, Behçet's disease)
- - Chronic high stress or a traumatic life event
- - A family history of canker sore outbreaks
Mouth ulcers are often a signal that the body is in distress. However, if you've made positive lifestyle changes and still can't figure out what causes canker sores for you, genetics may be to blame. Recurrent canker sores can less often be due to Helicobacter pylori infection of the gut which may require specialized treatment.
What Are the Types of Canker Sores?
Not all canker sores are created equal. They emerge in different sizes and severities, so it’s helpful to know which type of canker sore you’re currently experiencing.
Minor canker sores are the most common, accounting for about 80% of canker sore cases. These are small sores that cause some discomfort but no scarring. In most cases, minor canker sores heal within a week.
Major canker sores, on the other hand, are less common and cause more severe side effects. These sores can last more than two weeks and grow to over 1 centimeter in diameter. Patients usually experience extreme pain and discomfort during major canker sore outbreaks.
Herpetiform canker sores only occur in about 5% of people with canker sores. Small ulcers cluster together to form a much larger ulcer, but they tend to heal within a week.
Canker Sore Treatment Options to Accelerate Healing
Canker sores make talking, chewing, and even smiling painful until they heal. These treatment options offer relief and may even accelerate healing.
Antimicrobial rinses such as Listerine, Peridex, and Periogard are all popular options for people vulnerable to frequent canker sore outbreaks.
These rinses reduce the number of bacteria and microbes in the mouth, which can protect the gum tissue from canker sores in the future. The deep cleaning effect of antimicrobial rinses can also control plaque and prevent canker sores from becoming aggravated by excess bacteria.
Though pharmaceutical medications are not available to treat canker sores, you can try over-the-counter oral medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen to alleviate your discomfort. Zinc throat lozenges may also help reduce canker sore symptoms.
Over-the-counter topical anesthetics like benzocaine (Kank-A), and Orajel provide safe, temporary numbing of painful sores. You can apply local anesthetics a few times a day to relieve discomfort until your canker sore heals completely.
Vitamin and Supplements
Research suggests that a nightly dose of vitamin B12 helps prevent canker sores in the mouth. The addition of vitamin C and Lysine may also help to speed healing if taken from the first signs of canker sore onset.
You may not even need to drive to the drugstore for a canker sore treatment. Check your medicine cabinets and pantry first for these simple household canker sore treatments.
Vinegar for Canker Sores
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains “the mother”, a substance that consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and healthy bacteria. “The mother” creates a murky vinegar appearance and is credited for a wide range of health benefits.
Some evidence suggests that the antimicrobial and antiviral properties of ACV help combat infections in the body, including canker sores. Vinegar kills pathogens, which is why it’s popular in cleaning and disinfecting applications.
Just be sure to use apple cider vinegar for canker sores safely, since vinegar is an abrasive substance. These tips may help:
- - Dilute apple cider vinegar with water in a 1:10 radio, then soak a cotton ball in the solution. Apply to your canker sore once or twice a day until the ulcer heals.
- - Make a paste by blending honey and diluted ACV. Apply the paste once or twice daily for up to ten minutes.
Silver Nitrate Canker Sores Treatment
Silver nitrate is a natural chemical compound that’s been used since the 13th century for its antimicrobial properties.
As soon as silver nitrate is activated by contact with moisture, it can deliver free silver ions to wounded tissue. This reaction binds the tissue and obstructs blood vessels, which cauterizes active wounds and reduces the pain they cause.
It’s not the most pleasant experience, but it’s certainly effective. Silver nitrate is a popular remedy for skin tags, nosebleeds, skin ulcers, and other skin conditions.
Just keep in mind that this home remedy can damage or irritate healthy skin, so it should always be used carefully and in moderation. If you need to quickly stop the effects of a silver nitrate applicator stick, apply 0.9% saline solution to the treated area and then rinse with water.
Overall, research shows that treating canker sores with silver nitrate is a simple and affordable way to decrease the pain caused by ulcers, though the healing time remains about the same.
Natural DIY remedies are also easy to find if you’d prefer a gentle path to canker sore relief.
Milk of Magnesia
Milk of magnesia, best known by the brand name Maalox®, can be blended with Benadryl® or another antihistamine to alleviate the pain caused by your canker sore.
Milk of magnesia is an antacid that coats your canker sore to prevent irritation, while antihistamines treat inflammation symptoms and create a sedative effect. If your canker sore is uncomfortable and prevents you from sleeping, this combination is a helpful solution.
Chamomile has been a favorite natural remedy since ancient times. This herbal remedy is known to help heal wounds and ease the pain with its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic compounds. You can use a chamomile tea bag as a warm compress to soothe angry canker sores or rinse freshly brewed chamomile tea in your mouth for the same effect.
Supplement Your Canker Sore Treatment With High-Powered Light Therapy
Canker sores can cause weeks of discomfort during and after the healing process, even with the help of home remedies. Treatment with high-powered, medically optimized light is a gentler, safer, and more reliable way to alleviate even your worst canker sores.
The Luminance RED is an FDA-registered device used for canker sores, cold sores, and more. As you hold the soothing red light to your ulcers, your skin receives a burst of powerful energy that can speed up healing times up by 49% and even stop future outbreaks from forming.