Even life’s loveliest pleasures, like eating and kissing, lose their appeal when you’ve got a canker sore. No need to swallow your pain, however. New research in General Dentistry reports that licorice-root extract can heal canker sores naturally.
Unlike cold sores that appear on your lips (contagious, fluid-filled blisters caused by the herpes-simplex virus), canker sores show up on the inside of your cheeks, lips, gums, or even under your tongue— and they aren’t contagious. They usually appear white, gray, or yellow in color, with a red border. are round or oval with a white or yellow center and a red border. They form inside your mouth — on or under your tongue, inside your cheeks or lips, at the base of your gums, or on your soft palate. You might notice a tingling or burning sensation a day or two before the sores actually appear.
What Causes Canker Sores?
The exact cause of most canker sores is unknown. Stress or tissue injury is thought to be the cause of simple canker sores. Certain foods — including citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables (such as lemons, oranges, pineapples, apples, figs, tomatoes, and strawberries) — can trigger a canker sore or make the problem worse. Sometimes a sharp tooth surface or dental appliance, such as braces or ill-fitting dentures, might also trigger them.
Some complex cases are caused by an underlying health condition, such as an impaired immune system; nutritional problems, such as vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron deficiency; or gastrointestinal tract disease, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.
They have a white or yellow center and a red border, and they’re usually brought on by stress, hormonal changes, or certain food sensitivities, such as wheat and dairy. “Licorice-root extract stimulates the mucus-secreting cells necessary for mending the lining of your mouth,” says Steven D’Antonio, ND.
Look for powdered licorice root labeled deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), and dissolve 200 mg of it in 3/4 cup of warm water; swish the mixture around in your mouth every morning and evening for one week or until the canker sore improves.
Most canker sores go away on their own in a week or two. Check with your doctor or dentist if you have unusually large or painful canker sores or canker sores that don’t seem to heal.
By Beth Swanson