OTC Treatment Options for Canker Sores
Most of us have felt the frustration of developing a canker sore at some point. Eating, drinking and even talking can become extremely painful when these sores develop.
Canker sores can sometimes take several weeks to heal, and the healing time can be further prolonged if you accidentally bite the sore.
Fortunately, you don't have to suffer without help. There are many over-the-counter medicines for canker sores inside the mouth. These treatments include topical treatments, patches, dental products and light therapy.
Most over-the-counter treatments for canker sores use ingredients that numb the sore or speed its healing. Some are even organic and homeopathic. Light therapy uses high-powered, medically optimized light to quickly relieve pain and promote healing without chemicals.
Topical Liquids, Creams and Ointments
You can find canker sore topical treatments like liquids, gels and ointments both online and at local pharmacies. Many options are available, but here are a few of the top choices.
Kank-A Mouth Pain Liquid, for use only in adults and children above 2 years of age, is an example of a product that uses benzocaine, an anesthetic, to numb the area of the canker sore. It also includes a film-forming agent to create a protective barrier over the canker sore.
Kank-A liquid can last several hours and can be used several times a day for relief from pain and to renew the protective barrier. Kank-A has a handy wand built into the lid for ease of application.
Another topical product on the market is Orajel 4X Medicated for Tooth and Gum Cream. Orajel 4X contains four active ingredients for maximum effectiveness. Benzocaine and menthol provide pain relief and a cooling sensation, while benzalkonium chloride fights bacteria and zinc chloride tightens up the injured tissue.
Orajel 4X offers relief for several hours and can be used up to four times per day without exceeding 7 days of continuous use. You can apply it easily with a clean finger or Q-tip. Only use in adults and children above 2 years of age.
Curoxen Mouth Sore Treatment is an example of a homeopathic over-the-counter medicine for canker sores inside the mouth. Curoxen contains three active ingredients: calendula, clove oil and olive extract.
Calendula has been used for many years to help soothe and heal a wide variety of skin problems, and recent research supports its effectiveness. Research has also shown clove oil to be as effective as benzocaine in providing topical pain relief. Olive extract (oleuropein) provides antimicrobial activity to protect from infection. Curoxen also includes cinnamon oil and stevia for taste.
Curoxen can be applied throughout the day as needed for continued pain relief.
Topical treatments may come to mind first for treating canker sores, but many other products are available as well.
Several over-the-counter treatment options form a film, patch, or bandage-like covering over a canker sore. They can be especially useful in protecting sores from irritation while you talk, eat or drink. These are just a few of the products available.
Zilactin-B Mouth Sore Gel is a gel that can be applied with a clean finger or cotton swab. When Zilactin-B dries, it creates a film that protects the canker sore. Benzocaine is the main active ingredient.
DenTek Canker Cover
There are also tablets that can form patches over a canker sore, such as the DenTek Canker Cover. Hold the tablet against a dried canker sore for about 20 seconds. The tablet will stick to the sore, and after several minutes will form a patch that protects the sore for 8-12 hours. Then the patch will dissolve on its own.
DenTek Canker Cover also includes menthol to cool and soothe the canker sore.
Hyland's Canker Sore Healing Dots
Another natural option to try is Hyland's Canker Sore Healing Dots. These are homeopathic tablets that include calendula, borax, causticum and several other natural ingredients.
Unlike with other products, you don't apply Hyland's healing dots directly to your canker sores. Instead, you dissolve them on your tongue several times in the first hour, and then hourly as needed.
Many dental companies produce mouth rinses, toothpastes and other products specifically to target canker sores. The focus of most of these products is killing bacteria to speed healing and prevent infection.
Colgate Peroxyl Antiseptic Mouth Sore Rinse
One example of an oral rinse for canker sores is Colgate's Peroxyl Antiseptic Mouth Sore Rinse, which uses hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria and remove any contaminants. You can swish this rinse around in your mouth several times a day along with your normal dental care routine.
G-U-M Canker-X Gel
Other dental products, like G-U-M Canker-X Gel, form a thin barrier over the canker sore. Canker-X Gel covers the sore without stinging or burning, and provides aloe vera to help soothe and hydrate the mucus membrane.
Arm & Hammer PeroxiCare Toothpaste
Certain toothpastes on the market go the extra mile to control oral bacteria that can exacerbate canker sores. These pastes, such as Arm & Hammer PeroxiCare, can be used in place of your usual toothpaste after meals, before bed, and in the morning.
In addition to over-the-counter medications, light therapy is another nonprescription option to treat canker sores.
The Luminance RED
The Luminance RED is an FDA-registered light therapy device designed to manage canker sores. It is one of the only chemical-free treatment options for canker sores. Clinical studies show that light therapy is an effective way to reduce the pain and healing time of canker sores.
You can use the Luminance RED in tandem with the pharmaceutical methods mentioned above for faster healing. Though clinical testing on combining therapies has not yet been conducted, nothing indicates that they should not be used together. If you have questions, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider.
Canker sores aren't anyone's idea of a good time. Fortunately, there are many over-the-counter treatments to help relieve pain, speed healing and get you back to enjoying life.