How to Heal Mouth Inflammation

Five Methods:Dealing with Mouth UlcersUsing Medication for Mouth UlcersDealing with Sores Caused by Dental IssuesUsing Natural RemediesPreventing Future Mouth Ulcers

There are many different causes of inflamed tissue in the mouth, which range from injuries to cold sores to gingivitis. However, there are ways to heal the inflammation caused by mouth ulcers and other conditions. There are also things that you can do to reduce the pain and discomfort you experience.

Method 1
Dealing with Mouth Ulcers

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    Learn about mouth ulcers. A common cause of inflammation in the mouth is mouth ulcers. Mouth ulcers, also called mouth stomatitis, vary in size and shape and are caused from a variety of different factors. They can be caused from herpes (cold sores), canker sores, yeast infections, tobacco use, medications, fungal infections, injury, and some systemic illnesses.[1]
    • See your doctor or dentist for mouth sores that are painful and last for more than 10 day.[2]
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    Steer clear of certain food and beverages. Ulcer inflammation is painful and can last five to fourteen days. Avoiding certain types of beverages and food can help to heal the inflammation, reduce your pain, and reduce the amount of time you suffer. In order to lessen irritation, avoid hot beverages and foods as well as foods that salty, spicy, or have citrus elements. These can increase the irritation to the mouth tissue.[3]
    • This includes hot coffee and tea, spicy red peppers, foods with cayenne pepper or chili powder, overly salted soups and broths, and fruits such as oranges and grapefruits.
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    Treat tobacco related ulcers. Ulcers from tobacco use are called aphthous ulcers, which is also known as a canker sore. These irritations can be healed by reducing or eliminating the use of all tobacco products. If you continue to use tobacco products, the sores may take longer to heal and continue to reappear.
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    Take care of yeast infections. Yeast infections of the mouth can cause thrush to the tongue, which is when the fungus candida, the fungus behind vaginal yeast infections, occurs in the mouth. Thrush can cause an inflammatory response and pain in your mouth.[4] Thrush can also cause mouth ulcers.[5] Healing inflammation from a yeast infection will require medication from your physician.
    • These medications can be used in otherwise healthy adults and children for 10 to 14 days and come in lozenges, liquid, or pill form. However, children and adults with a weakened immune system require different help.[6]
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    Deal with ulcers caused by medications. Some medications, such as anti-cancer drugs, can cause mouth ulcers. These drugs kill the fast growing cells but do not specifically target cancer cells, which means they can also kill the cells in your mouth, which grow and replicate quickly. These sores are painful and can last for more than two weeks.
    • Sores from these medications may require topical painkillers applied directly to the mouth sores. These medication can also numb your mouth, so use caution when eating or brushing your teeth after you apply them.[7]
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    Take care of general mouth ulcers. If you are not sure what causes your mouth ulcers, there are some general guidelines you can follow to ease your pain and discomfort. Other than the techniques used to treat and prevent certain kinds of ulcers, you can also:
    • Use coating agents to help protect the sores and minimize the pain you’ll experience while eating and drinking
    • Avoid sharp or crunchy foods, such as chips, crackers and pretzels
    • Limit or eliminate alcohol, which can irritate an already sore mouth. This applies to drinking alcohol as well as mouthwashes and mouth sprays.
    • Eat smaller meals more frequently and cut foods into smaller pieces, in order to reduce irritation to your mouth
    • Talk with your healthcare team about using special foam swabs that reduce the physical irritation if brushing is too difficult.[8]

Method 2
Using Medication for Mouth Ulcers

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    Take pain relievers. Over the counter pain relievers can help to reduce inflammation and pain from mouth ulcers. Try taking a pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These pain relievers will not necessarily heal your ulcers, but they can help to relieve pain caused by the ulcers while the ulcer heals.
    • You can also use topical products like Anbesol, which is applied locally for pain relief.
    • Use these products for children and adults as directed.[9]
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    Treat ulcers with over the counter medications. There are multiple kinds of medicine that can help mouth ulcers. Topical corticosteroid preparations, such as triamcinolone paste or Orabase, can help treat sores on your lips or gums. Blistex and Campho-Phenique provide relief against the pain of canker sores and cold sores.
    • These work best if you apply them at the first sign of a mouth ulcer.[10]
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    Take prescription medication. If you have serious issues with your mouth ulcers, you can get medication from your doctor to help. Your doctor may prescribe medication such as Zovirax or Denavir, which can reduce the healing time of the ulcer by half a day. They also decrease the pain associated with the inflammatory response.
    • If you have a severe cold sore, your doctor may prescribe oral antiviral medications, which can be used to help heal the herpes simplex virus stomatitis that causes them. These include medications like acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir.[11]

Method 3
Dealing with Sores Caused by Dental Issues

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    Learn about gingivitis. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are irritations and infections of the gum tissue, which cause an inflammatory response and pain. Gingivitis occurs when plaque is not cleaned from your teeth. This causes harmful bacteria, which causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Periodontal disease can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth and form spaces or pockets that become further infected.
    • Bacterial toxins and your body’s natural responses can break down the connective tissue between the gums and bone, which cause inflammation and pain.[12]
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    Control the infection. The treatment of the inflammation caused by gingivitis or periodontal disease depends upon the severity of the inflammation. The main goal is to control the infection, which triggers the inflammation. Any treatment will require that you keep up good daily care at home, including:
    • Flossing daily
    • Brushing twice daily
    • Reducing alcohol intake and the use of mouth washes
    • Reducing the amount of sugar you eat[13]
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    Treat the infection. In order to help the infection, your dentist will remove any plaque through a deep cleaning, which helps to reduce the inflammation. After the procedure, you may experience less bleeding and swelling, but you will still have to continue good oral hygiene at home.
    • If the infection is advanced, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help reduce the infection, which will also reduce the inflammation.
    • If medications and cleaning are not sufficient your physician may recommend surgical procedures to clean the teeth closer to the root and help regenerate bone and connective tissue.[14]
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    Learn about cavities. Dental cavities are caused by infections that cause permanent damage to the hard surface of the teeth. Frequent snacking, drinking sugary drinks, not brushing your teeth, and the natural bacteria in your mouth increase your risk of cavities. Cavities and tooth decay are one of the world’s most common health problems and they affect people of all ages.[15]
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    Treat the cavities. The inflammation and discomfort caused by cavities cannot be healed until you fill the cavity. To treat cavities, your dentist will likely give you fillings. Fillings are made from tooth-colored composite resins, porcelain, or silver amalgam.
    • Silver amalgam fillings contain mercury, but they are considered safe by the FDA. However, if you have an allergy to any of the components of amalgam fillings (silver, tin, copper, or mercury), then you may develop oral lesions as a result. Tell your dentist about any allergies you have.[16]
    • If your tooth decay is advanced, you may need a crown. These are custom fitted fake caps that cover the tops of the teeth. A root canal may also be needed to repair or save a damaged or infected tooth, instead of removing it.
    • If the tooth is too damaged, pulling the tooth may be necessary. If you have to have it pulled, you may need a bridge or replacement tooth to keep your other teeth from shifting.[17]
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    Care for teeth with braces. Braces are used by orthodontists to straighten or correct teeth alignment. Braces have so many parts and often aggravate the mouth, and the brackets and braces can trigger the development of a canker sore in your mouth. To treat, rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce the inflammation and speed healing. Also try:
    • Eating soft foods to reduce the irritation to the tissue
    • Avoiding spicy foods, alcohol, mouthwashes, and sharp foods, like potato chips and crackers
    • Making a paste of baking soda and water and placing the paste over the canker sore.[18]

Method 4
Using Natural Remedies

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    Use water. Extra hydration in your system can help with mouth inflammation, especially from canker sores. This will help relieve discomfort from the inflammation and fight off infection. You can also use water with salt to reduce the pain and speed healing in your mouth.
    • To use the salt water treatment, pour a generous amount of salt into a cup of warm water and stir to combine. Put some of the water in your mouth and swish it around, focusing on the area where the sore is. Spit the water out after a minute or so, and repeat with the rest of the water.[19]
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    Apply aloe vera. Aloe has natural healing and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains saponin, a chemical which acts as an antibacterial agent. It is also known to soothe and relieve pain in inflamed areas.[20] To use:
    • Get an aloe leaf and cut it open. Apply the gel that leaks out directly onto the area that is most inflamed. Do this three times a day for the best effect.
    • You can also get aloe vera gel that is specifically meant for your mouth. Again, apply the gel directly to the inflamed area. Do this three times a day for the best effect.
    • Avoid swallowing the gel if possible.
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    Suck on an ice cube. Cold water and ice can help to ease your pain and reduce the inflammation in your mouth. It is the same concept behind icing a sore knee, because the cold temperature decreases the amount of blood cells flooding to the injured area, which decreases the swelling and pain.[21] Ways to apply cold to your inflamed mouth include:
    • Sucking on an ice cube, popsicle, or sorbet
    • Drinking and gargling small sips of cold water
    • Putting ice cubes in a plastic bag and holding it on the inflamed area
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    Use tea tree. Tea tree oil has a natural antiseptic effect that helps kill bacteria. It can also help to control the infection and help in the healing process. This is especially useful with inflammation caused by gingivitis and periodontal disease. One of the most common ways to use tea tree oil for inflammation is as a mouthwash.
    • Make a mouthwash by adding 10 drops of oil in 1/3 cup of water. Swish this mouthwash around your mouth for 30 seconds and spit it out. Do not swallow the mouthwash. Rinse your mouth with fresh water afterward.[22]

Method 5
Preventing Future Mouth Ulcers

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    Prevent future cold sores. Cold sores need arginine to develop. Arginine is an amino acid found in foods such as walnuts, chocolate, sesame seeds, and soy.[23] To prevent additional cold cores, avoid these foods. Instead, eat foods with the amino acid lysine, which counteracts the influence of arginine with cold sores. Foods high in lysine include red meat, pork, poultry, cheeses, eggs, and brewer’s yeast.[24] Pay attention to your lysine to arginine ratio to help prevent the appearance of more cold sores in the future.
    • You can also take an oral supplement of lysine daily. Dosing will depend upon several factors, so discuss your intentions with your physician.[25]
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    Inhibit yeast infections. You can help prevent yeast infections by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, reducing or eliminating the use of mouth wash, and not sharing any eating utensils that may pass the infection from one person to another. If you have diabetes or wear dentures, take special care of your oral hygiene as these are possible triggers for a yeast infection.
    • Limit the amount of sugar or foods that contain yeast that you eat. Yeast requires sugar to multiply and grow. Foods with yeast include bread, beer, and wine, which can encourage the growth of yeast.[26]
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    Seek medical attention. There are situations when your mouth sore is more than a canker sore or cold sore. If they are persistent, the sores may be cancer, which is an uncontrollable growth of the cells that invade other areas and cause damage to the surrounding tissue.[27] Oral cancer can occur on the tongue, lips, floor of the mouth, cheek, and the hard and soft palate of the mouth. This is life-threatening if undiagnosed and untreated.
    • Look for a lump or thickening of tissue in the mouth, a sore that doesn’t heal, a white or reddish patch in the mouth, tongue pain, loose teeth, difficulty chewing, jaw pain, a sore throat, and feelings of foreign objects stuck in your throat.[28]
    • Treatments to heal inflammation from this type of trigger requires the immediate intervention from a physician. Treatment protocols may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments.[29]

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Categories: Pain Management and Recovery