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Spring can be a busy time, whether you’re studying for final exams, planning out a summer vacation, or diving into a deep clean. Of course, it’s hard to stay focused on anything else when you develop a canker sore. Stress is thought to be one of the main causes of these pesky, painful ulcers, but don’t fret; here are some tips to help you power through and get back to what’s important.


While you may not be able to pin down the exact cause of any given mouth ulcer, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk.

  • Relax—Make sure to take some time to breathe, relax, and cope with any extra stress you may be feeling. Whatever the issue, adding a painful ulcer certainly won’t help!
  • Keep an eye on your orthodontia—if a loose wire or sharp edge on your braces rubs you the wrong way, don’t wait it out! Talk to your orthodontist about anything that feels uncomfortable to avoid tissue damage that can leave you susceptible to sores.
  • Cool Down your Diet—if you encounter ulcers often, try to cut down on spicy and acidic foods. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, and hot dishes are major culprits, and if you already have a sore, they can further aggravate it.

Home Remedies

When a canker sore does rear its head, there are plenty of great ways to relieve the pain while it heals.

  • Baking Soda Rinse—baking soda kills bacteria and neutralizes acids that may irritate the sore. This one-two-punch solution couldn’t be simpler; try a ratio of 1 teaspoon baking soda to ½ cup of warm water.
  • Tea Time—tea is also an alkaline that can neutralize stinging acids. Apply a damp tea bag to the ulcer for a few minutes to calm the pain. Any tea can help, but try goldenseal tea for added antimicrobial power.
  • Vitamin E—cut a vitamin E capsule and squeeze the oil directly onto the offending sore. The oil coats the vulnerable tissue, allowing it to heal more quickly.

Recommended Products

If these at-home remedies aren’t quite giving you the relief you need, a quick trip to the drug store might just do the trick.

  • Maalox—rinsing the affected area with this liquid antacid will sooth and coat it quite effectively. Milk of magnesia works, too!
  • Orajel—Orajel makes several mouth sore products that aim to create a protective seal against irritants and to numb the area with mild anesthetic ingredients.
  • Gly-Oxide—cleansers like Gly-Oxide release oxygen, which foams up to loosen any debris and kill bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used, but should be diluted with water first!

While there might not be a quick canker-killing cure, there are plenty of care options to explore. Find the one that works best for you and you’ll be running full speed again in no time.


At Birmingham Orthodontics, our mission is simple:  we create smiles.  Not only do we straighten the crooked grin, fix the bite, and adjust the jaw, we also brighten yearbooks, help young people come to like their looks, and give adults the confidence they have wanted for a long, long time.  We also believe in our staff. Our culture of continuous learning has allowed us to host monthly training sessions for each team and bring in leading industry consultants to help keep us ahead of the curve.  Contact us for a free consultation, or any questions you might have.

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