Treatment for Common Forms of Stomatitis
Mouth sores generally don't last longer than two weeks, even without treatment. If a cause can be identified, your doctor may be able to treat it. If a cause cannot be identified, the focus of treatment shifts to symptom relief.
The following strategies might help to ease the pain and inflammation of mouth sores:
- Avoid hot beverages and foods as well as salty, spicy, and citrus-based foods.
- Use pain relievers like Tylenol.
- Gargle with cool water or suck on ice pops if you have a mouth burn.
For canker sores, the aim of treatment is to relieve discomfort and guard against infection. Try the following:
- Drink more water.
- Rinse with salt water.
- Practice proper dental care.
- Apply a topical anesthetic such as lidocaine or xylocaine to the ulcer (not recommended for children under 6).
- Apply a 1-to-1 mixture of hydrogen peroxide with water or baking soda with water to the ulcers.
- Use a topical corticosteroid preparation such as triamcinolone dental paste (Kenalog in Orabase 0.1%), which protects a sore inside the lip and on the gums.
- Blistex and Campho-Phenique may offer some relief of canker sores and cold sores, especially if applied when the sore first appears.
For more severe sores, treatments may include:
- Lidex gel
- Aphthasol, an anti-inflammatory paste
- Peridex mouthwash
If you seem to get canker sores often, you may have a folate or vitamin B12 deficiency. Talk with your doctor about being tested for these deficiencies.
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids (including prednisone) are the most effective treatment for canker sores, as they will reduce swelling and pain. They are also effective for cold sores after the sore has been present for three to four days because at that point the virus has disappeared and only the inflammation remains.
Not all people can take certain types of anti-inflammatory drugs. For example, if prednisone is given to people with diabetes, their blood sugars will go up. Talk to your doctor about any health conditions you have before starting a new medication.
There is no cure for cold sores. Treatment includes:
- Coating the lesions with a protective ointment such as an antiviral agent (for example, 5% acyclovir ointment)
- Applying ice to the lesion
Taking L-lysine tablets may also help, as might antiviral mediations that a doctor prescribes. Some experts believe that these drugs shorten the time that the blisters are present.
Not all sores are harmless. Schedule an appointment with your doctor if your mouth sores haven't healed within two weeks.