Canker Sore Treatment

Canker Sore Medicines

An overview of the different canker sore treatments, including benzocaine, lidocaine, and natural treatments.

The standard OTC treatments for canker sores are benzocaine and lidocaine. These drugs are esters - which means they are compounds made from the organic acid PABA (para amino benzoic acid) and the alcohol ethanol. Dentists use a related ester - procaine, also called Novocain - as a topical anesthetic during dental work.

Benzocaine and lidocaine are also chemically similar to cocaine, another drug with topical anesthetic properties. These drugs interfere with the body's ability to send electric signals through the nerves. That's how they numb the pain. However, too overdoses of these esters can cause blurred or double vision; confusion; convulsions; dizziness; slow or irregular heartbeat; trouble breathing; anxiety; and unusual fatigue. In addition, patients taking cholinesterase inhibitors or sulfonamides should avoid benzocaine and lidocaine.

Natural alternatives for pain relief to the ester-class drugs include menthol and camphor. Although these natural pain relievers may not be quite as strong as the drugs, they are far safer, and have a reduced risk of side effects. Other natural substances may reduce healing time. Some of the most promising herbs and vitamins for the treatment of canker sores are:

An amino acid with healing and anti viral properties

Aloe Vera
Soothing plant used to speed healing.

An FDA approved oral analgesic and pain reliever

A traditional remedy for gum and mouth irritations.

Licorice (DGL)
Clinically proven to heal canker sores fast (J Assoc Physicians India. 1989 Oct; 37(10):647.)

Has astringent properties that help treat wounds and sores.

Native American herb traditionally used to heal open sores.

Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil is anti-fungal healing oil distilled from the Australian plant Melaleucan alternifolia

Gum Benzoin
A gum resin used in healing skin irritations.

Vitamin B12
Deficiencies of this vitamin are thought to cause canker sores.

Plant resins collected by bees for their hives, this is a traditional canker sore treatment.

Many herbalists recommend applying calendula to canker sores.

Cajeput Oil
Used as a cooling and healing agent, according to the German "Commission E" Report.

Clove Bud Oil - Helps numb the skin and relieve discomfort.

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