Canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are those small, flat ulcers, usually white or gray, that can appear on this inside of the mouth including the inner lips, cheek, tongue, under the tongue, gum area and roof f mouth (also called the soft palate).
Some people get mouth ulcers as often as monthly or even several times a month and they can be a nightmare. The pain is often intense, so a big goal is relieving the pain and encouraging healing. That is where baking soda comes in.
One thing that baking soda does well is neutralize acid, making the body more alkaline and thus re-balancing the pH level. This is the main reason why baking soda is so popular as an antacid, and it is also why it is useful in zapping oral ulcers.
Canker sores can sometimes be caused by eating acidic foods such as citrus and tomatoes, and even from drinking a lot of coffee, or eating a lot of chocolate. Then once you have a sore, the acid eats into the ulcer, causing more pain and inflammation.
So aside from avoiding highly acidic foods, treating with baking soda can help neutralize all that acid. This will set the stage for healing to take place.
Baking soda also has anti-inflammatory properties. It may help reduce the swelling and inflammation of your mouth sores, just as it does when you get a mosquito or other insect bite.
Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal Benefits
Baking soda’s beneficial characteristics include antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. In addition to neutralizing acid, it can help shield ulcers from infection as well as improve your overall oral health by killing bacteria, freshening your breath and keeping your teeth sparkling clean.
How to Treat Mouth Sores with Baking Soda
It’s important to start treatment as soon as you first feel that mouth sore start to form. You have two treatment options and you can use both if you wish.
Mouth Rinse – Start by combining a half teaspoon of baking soda and a half cup of water. Swish this mixture around your mouth for about one minute then spit it out. The inflammatory properties in bicarbonate of soda can help shrink the swelling and reduce redness. You can use this rinse several times a day. I recommend that you don’t swallow it. For one, it doesn’t taste very good, and two, it can cause burping and gas in some people (think about that burp of relief when you have indigestion). If you are hypertensive it is especially important that you do not ingest it because it is a form of sodium.
Topical Treatment — Another easy option is to make a simple baking soda and water paste. Either with your finger or a Q-tip, apply a small amount to your mouth ulcer. Let it dissolve on its own and while it is doing so, do not eat or drink anything. Some people find that the paste stings a little when first applied, and large ulcers may be even more tender. However, the pain should go away shortly and folks usually find that by the next day their sores are less inflamed and less painful and on the road to healing. Another benefit is that the paste forms a seal over the sore to help protect it and aid in healing. You can apply the baking soda every 3-4 hours until your ulcer heals.
Chronic oral ulcer sufferers sometimes find they can lessen their outbreaks by practicing excellent oral hygiene, including using baking soda and water as a daily mouth rinse. This helps keep the oral cavity pH balanced and banishes bad bacteria. Some also like to brush their teeth with baking soda. This keeps the breath fresh, helps whiten teeth and neutralizes acid. Be careful if you opt for a drugstore toothpaste with baking soda. Many of them also contain SLS, which has been linked in several studies to canker sore outbreaks because it can be irritating and dry out the mouth, leading to microscopic tears.
Cheap Alternative to Drugstore Remedies
If you go to any drug store, most canker sore remedies will cost up to ten bucks or more. Why fork out all that money when you very likely have an effective solution right there in your pantry?