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Medication and how to treat canker sores at home

The medication for canker sores aim to help reduce pain, facilitate the healing process and eliminate the bacteria that develop in the wound, which can appear in various locations of the oral mucosa, such as lips, tongue and throat.

Treatment is usually not necessary, because the cold sore usually goes away on its own within a few days, but if the cold sore does not go away within a week or two, or if it is too large or too painful, medication may need to be used.

Medication and how to treat canker sores at home

The causes of canker sores is unknown and treatment is usually performed only to relieve pain, accelerate healing of canker sores, decrease the frequency and severity of canker sores, and prevent the development of infections.

1. Topical protectors

These are gel or spray remedies that, when applied, form a protective film, or adhesives, which protect the affected region, lessen friction and enable temporary pain relief. An example of a protective remedy is Orabase, Zilactin or Orabase Soothe-N-Seal.

2. Local Anesthetics

Topical local anesthetics, such as procaine or benzocaine, for example, act by temporarily reducing pain. An example of local anesthetic canker sore medication is benzocaine 5 – 20%, for example.

3. Polycresulene

Polycresulen is also used to treat oral thrush due to its healing properties. An example of a polycresulen remedy in its composition is albothyl concentrate gel or solution.

4. Antiseptics

Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash or locally applying an antiseptic gel such as Orajel is an example. They can help prevent the development of infections in the region. Examples of products with antiseptics in the composition are  Amosan, Cankaid, Gly-Oxide and Peroxyl, for example.

5. Topical Corticosteroids

In more severe cases, where the cold sore is very large and remains for a long time, topical corticosteroids such as triancinolona, clobetasol or fluocinolona, may need to be used, but only if recommended by your doctor. Examples of corticosteroid medication in the composition are temovate or Fluonex.

6. Sucralfate

Sucralfate solution can also be used for the treatment of foot-and-mouth stomatitis, as it has a protective effect and can help to reduce pain and speeds the healing of mouth sores and ulcers. Sucralfate is marketed under the name Carafate.

7. Amlexanox

Amlexanox is an anti-inflammatory that can help relieve pain and reduce the size of the lesion.

Generally, the products used in the treatment are accompanied by adhesion facilitating agents, which fix better in the mucosa, since common medications are easily removed by saliva, making contact with the ulcer difficult.

The exact cause for the development of cold sores is not yet clear and may arise in adults or children. Possible causes involve minor local trauma such as brushing or allergies to food or medication, gastroesophageal reflux, stress, vitamin C deficiency, folic acid, iron and zinc, or certain infectious or systemic diseases.

Therefore, if canker sore arises frequently for treatment to be effective, it is important to seek a general practitioner or dentist to investigate and treat these situations. In cases of severe cold sore, the use of topical medicines may not be sufficient and the doctor may have to prescribe systemic action drugs, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, among others, for the treatment to be effective.

Medication and how to treat canker sores at home

Non-pharmacological treatment

Some measures that can be taken to prevent canker sores are:

  • Use of detergent-free toothpaste and a soft toothbrush;
  • Better oral hygiene to prevent bacterial infections;
  • Perform a mouthwash with saline solutions;
  • Avoid very hot, spicy, acidic or hard foods and alcoholic and carbonated drinks;
  • Apply ice directly to the lesions for 10-minute periods to provide temporary pain relief.

Also, heat should be avoided because it favors bacterial proliferation.


  • CENTRO DE INFORMAÇÃO DO MEDICAMENTO - ORDEM DOS FARMACÊUTICOS. Estomatite aftosa recorrente. Link: <www.ordemfarmaceuticos.pt>. Access in 18 Apr 2019
  • ANVISA. OMCILON-A ORABASE. 2016. Link: <www.anvisa.gov.br>. Access in 18 Apr 2019
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