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Canker Sore Medicine

A canker sore can develop without warning and quickly begin to interfere with your daily life. The pain that you may experience with a canker sore can get in your way of eating, drinking and talking comfortably. Fortunately, canker sore medicine is available to help provide relief from symptoms. You'll find many options to suit your needs here at Walgreens.

What Is a Canker Sore?

A canker sore is an open shallow ulcer or wound that develops anywhere inside of the mouth. A cold sore looks like a crater that is white or yellow in color with red around the edges. Doctors don't fully understand what causes canker sores to develop. Unlike cold sores, a canker sore is not caused by a virus and is not considered contagious. Scientists think that that the immune system causes canker sores to form in response to stress, injury in the mouth, acidic foods, hormones, nutritional deficiencies and other triggers. Canker sores can be very painful, but they typically will disappear on their own within one to two weeks.

What to Do for Canker Sores

Currently, there are no medications available that cure canker sores. Instead, there are medicines that alleviate pain while the sores heal. Typically, this is done with an FDA-approved over-the-counter topical anesthetic like benzocaine. These treatments work by deadening the nerves in the affected area in order to temporarily relieve pain. Numbing medicines for canker sores are available in different forms. You can purchase patches that are placed directly over the sore to provide medicine right to the area. Topical gels and ointments can be applied to a canker sore and are a convenient option when you have more than one sore in your mouth at a time. You can also purchase lozenges that melt in your mouth and distribute medicine over a wide area. These products can also numb the throat, so they may not be ideal for everyone.

Natural Solutions for Canker Sore Symptoms

Some people are sensitive to topical anesthetics or prefer not to use medications to address canker sore symptoms. For these individuals, there are some natural alternatives available for pain management. These products typically contain a natural substance that has a cooling effect on the skin like menthol. They may also contain herbal extracts and other natural ingredients that are traditional folk remedies for canker sores. Natural products for canker sores are not evaluated by the FDA, and they may not provide relief for all people.

Caring for Canker Sores

If you've never had a canker sore before and have suddenly discovered what you think is one in your mouth, it's important to see your doctor. Your physician can provide you with a diagnosis and help you determine which over-the-counter products are right for your pain relief needs. Make sure to read the instructions carefully prior to using any canker sore medicine to help you get the best possible results. Most products are intended for use only for a certain number of days. If your symptoms persist beyond that time, consider seeing your medical doctor or health care provider.

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