Doctors have a fancy name for canker sores—aphthous ulcers—but they don’t have good treatments. These sore spots on the inside of the cheek or on the tongue usually occur where there has been some kind of small injury from biting the tongue or the cheek, for example, or scratching the inside of the mouth with foods such as pretzels or potato chips. No one seems to know why some people get them and others don’t. Canker sores are common, so home remedies abound.
My doctor had me take Prelief because he thought I had interstitial cystitis. It turns out I don’t, but I was plagued with canker sores in my mouth every time I ate something acidic, like salsa or barbecue sauce. Since I started using Prelief I have hardly had any. I take it before I eat an acidic food, and it really has helped me. I hope you will pass this information on to other canker sore sufferers.
Prelief is calcium glycerophosphate. It is sold as a supplement to take the acid out of food, which can be helpful for people who suffer from heartburn or bladder problems. We’re glad to hear it worked for your canker sores.
My husband has canker sores in his mouth all the time. The doctors he has seen say there’s no cure, so he has to live with it. He has tried many topical remedies, plus some prescription drugs, but he is not sleeping well due to the pain. How can he get relief?
Here’s one reader’s remedy: “Sauerkraut juice has worked like a miracle for me! It starts clearing up a canker sore within hours, and the sore usually heals by the next day. Juice from canned sauerkraut doesn’t work nearly as well as the fresh stuff (in the refrigerated deli section). It’s such a weird remedy that I did some research on sauerkraut to see why it might work. Sauerkraut is fermented (like yogurt or sourdough) and is full of probiotics. I’ve discovered that if I sip a little sauerkraut juice every couple of days, I don’t develop canker sores in the first place.”
I have suffered from canker sores all my life. Each one resulted in more than a week of pain. I’ve tried numerous family remedies, but none of them helped. A few years ago a co-worker suggested using a styptic pencil. I put the pencil in a plastic bag and smashed it with a hammer, then put the powder in a bottle with a little water to make a paste. At the first sign of a canker sore, I put some of this paste on it two or three times a day. Usually within a couple of days it goes away completely. This has only one bad side effect: a nasty taste. But I’ll live with the taste for two days to avoid seven to ten days of pain.
Styptic pencils, used to control bleeding from small cuts such as shaving nicks, usually contain alum (aluminum potassium sulfate). We have heard from others that powdered alum can help canker sores heal faster. Alum is sold on the spice shelf of the supermarket. Home canners use it to make pickles crunchy.
Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic