Canker Sores - Topical Medications

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What topical medications have been effective treatments for your canker sores?

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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 (Orajel) 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.
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See what others are saying

Comment from: jj13u, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 26

I just wanted to share my story, and hopefully will help someone. I religiously drank Bigelow Earl Grey tea from the age of 15. I suffered from canker sores from childhood, but around the same age, my canker sores increased. Doctors attributed the increased sores to puberty. They would last for 2 weeks plus and be so large or so many that I would fake 'no voice' so I wouldn't have to speak, because it would be so painful. Finally at age 34, I decided to eliminate sugar from my diet and my tea drinking ceased, as did my canker sores. Eventually I returned to sugar and drinking tea and the sores returned. It took several times back and forth before I realized that it might be the bergamot oil in the tea that might be an irritant. I can drink other Bigelow black teas without issue. I can still get a canker sore from trauma, if I bite my lip, but it only lasts a few days and does not cause as much pain.

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Comment from: The sufferer, 19-24 (Patient) Published: April 16

I use alum powder on my canker sores when I can, it really only works when you can reach at the sores in your mouth. Do not swish around in your mouth, it tastes exactly like bile. I find it works best when you put the alum directly on to the sore, then put some of the canker medication that's like a gel and it essentially holds the alum in place drying out the sore. Best to do it before bed overnight and it may sting the next day so I just put the gel on to soothe it then do the same thing with the alum the following night.

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