Canker sores or aphtous ulcers is a condition in which ulcer-like sores or lesions appear inside the mouth, on the tongue, on the inner cheeks, lips and gums. They are red, sometimes with white coating and they are very painful.
These sores look very frightening, especially when they appear on the tongue, and people who have them are usually very afraid because they look like something serious and dangerous. Canker sores are not dangerous but they are very painful, which is why they should be treated as soon as possible.
Causes of canker sores on tongue
In most cases canker sores develop as a result of a food allergy, local trauma or as a side effect of certain medications. Dentures, bones or abrasive foods are known for causing canker sores in some people. Canker sores can also result from using certain commercial products for oral hygiene, for example toothpastes with chemical additives. Salty, spicy and sour foods also cause this problem quite frequently.
Canker sores can also develop during viral infections, when the body’s immune system is compromised. Finally, hereditary factors are believed to play a role in the formation of canker sores.
Treatment for canker sores on tongue
Canker sores can be treated both with topical medications available over the counter and with natural home remedies.
Hydrogen peroxide can be safely used for this purpose and it is very efficient as an antiseptic. It kills all germs inside the oral cavity and on the sores, prevents the infection of the sores and speeds up their healing. Hydrogen peroxide must be diluted with water by 50% before using it for rinsing and gargling. Of course, it should never be swallowed.
Benzocaine is a substance that is used as a local anesthetic in mouth gels and lozenges. It does not have healing properties but it numbs the mouth so the pain from canker sores on the tongue is more tolerable.
Steroid mouthwashes are also available and very effective, but they require a prescription from a physician.
Salt and baking soda are natural antiseptics. Salt can be diluted with water making saline solution, which should be used for gargling and swishing three or four times a day.
Baking soda is used the same way. Some doctors also recommend making a thick paste of baking soda and a small amount of water, which is then applied directly to the sore. The only problem is it melts quite quickly.
Some people use lime juice and rock salt. This is a very effective home remedy for canker sores on the tongue but it may sting or burn, on account of the acidity of the lime.