Remedy for Canker Sore on the Tongue
by Brendan Pelsue
Canker sores are a mouth ulcer that can grow on the gums, inner cheeks and, most painfully, the tongue. There is no single cause for canker sores, though stress, nutrition and genetics are all contributing factors. Tongue sores are especially difficult to treat, since many commercial remedies are designed for the gums, but there are ways to reduce pain and quicken recovery times. If canker sores last longer than three weeks, contact a doctor.
Many industrially made toothpastes are high in sodium lauryl sulphate, a chemical compound that is believed to contribute to some instances of canker sores. Sore sufferers might consider switching to a natural toothpaste. Some brands will advertise themselves specifically as canker sore prevention toothpastes, but look at the ingredients list before making a purchase--more important than any label claims, a canker reducing toothpaste should be low in chemical compounds and high in xylitol and aloe vera. Toothpastes with licorice root have also been shown to reduce canker pain.
Mouthwashes are an important part of treating canker sores on the tongue, since patches, gels and other commercially available treatments do not stick well to such an active muscle. The National Institutes of Health recommends mixing equal parts milk of magnesia and liquid allergy medication and gargling for one minute around the affected area. Gargling frequently with warm saltwater helps reduce canker pain. Dabbing hydrogen peroxide on the affected area is an effective canker sore treatment, although it may leave a foul taste on the tongue.
Acids exacerbate canker sores, so most doctors recommend that patients avoid spicy foods and dishes high in Vitamin C. These restrictions hold especially true for those with cankers sores on the tongue, as it is difficult to avoid putting food on affected areas. At the same time, canker sores can result from nutrition deficiencies. The Mayo Clinic recommends that sufferers consider taking supplements with folic acid, vitamins B-6 and B-12, and zinc.
Doctors will sometimes recommend oral steroids for large canker sores lasting over three weeks. The Mayo Clinic recommends that patients consider this method only after consulting with their physician about the potential long-term effects of steroid medication.