Canker Sores (cont.)

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What kind of topical medications (gels or ointments) are available for canker sores?

Topical gels or ointments are used for canker sores to relieve pain, decrease inflammation, and prevent infection.

  • Topical pain medications: Gels such as benzocaine (Oragel) and lidocaine (an anesthetic) are used directly on the canker sore to relieve pain or discomfort. These types of medications can be found over the counter.
  • Topical anti-inflammatory medications: Steroid medications can be used topically to decrease inflammation from canker sores. These medications usually require a prescription and should be used exactly as directed.
  • Topical antibiotics: These medications may be prescribed by your doctor or dentist if there is a possibility of the canker sore becoming infected with bacteria. Redness, crusting, pus discharge, or fever are signs of infection.

Can mouthwash solutions be used to treat canker sores?

There are several mouthwash solutions that may be used to treat canker sore symptoms.

  • Diphenhydramine suspension (Benadryl Allergy liquid) is available over the counter and can be used as a mouth rinse because it has topical anesthetic effects on the tissue of the mouth and the canker sore. Put the suspension in your mouth, swish it around for 30 seconds to one minute, and spit it out. Do not swallow the rinse.
  • Anti-inflammatory steroid mouth rinses may be prescribed by your doctor or dentist to help reduce inflammation.
  • Tetracycline antibiotic rinses may be prescribed and have been shown to relieve the pain and promote healing of canker sores. Tetracycline should not be used by pregnant women, people allergic to tetracycline, or children under 16 years of age.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2014

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Canker Sores - Effective Treatments Question: Please describe what treatments have been effective for your canker sores.
Canker Sores - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your canker sores?
Canker Sores - Topical Medications Question: What topical medications have been effective treatments for your canker sores?
Canker Sores - Oral Medications Question: Which medications have you tried for pain or to treat your canker sores? What would you recommend?
Canker Sores - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with canker sores.