Some of the best tips for canker sore relief include using medications for the pain associated with these sores in addition to various home remedies. Most canker sores go away quickly and only cause pain for a few days, and for this reason they rarely need medical care. A person can treat the temporary pain associated with his canker sores by using oral medications that are intended to treat pain in the mouth, such as a numbing gel or paste. Mouth rinses used three or four times a day may also be helpful for canker sore relief, and these can be made at home using small amounts of baking soda, salt, and warm water. Canker sores that are very painful and large might require doctor-prescribed pastes and mouth rinses.
In addition to numbing oral medications and homemade mouth rinses, a person may be able to get some canker sore relief by eating very cold, soft foods. Ice cream or frozen yogurt may be very soothing to painful canker sores. Some people additionally use ice directly on their canker sores because it can temporarily numb the area, which might make it easier for a person to eat without experiencing pain. Aloe gel taken directly from the leaf of an aloe plant might also temporarily soothe a painful canker sore.
There are certain things that may make canker sore pain worse that a person should avoid until the sore starts to heal. Just as very cold foods are recommended for canker sore relief, very hot foods might increase canker sore pain. Foods that are hot and spicy can burn and sting tender canker sores and should be avoided until the sore goes away. It may also be a good idea for a person to avoid foods that are hard and crunchy, such as cereals or chips, while she has a canker sore. The sharp edges of these types of food could irritate existing canker sores and be very painful to eat.
Even though canker sores do not typically require medical attention, a person should not ignore them if he has several canker sores at one time that appear to be spreading. Very large canker sores that do not go away on their own after a few weeks should also raise a red flag. In some cases, canker sores must be treated with doctor-prescribed medication. It is also important for a doctor to evaluate any canker sores that are very large, painful, and aren't going away on their own, because this could be a sign of an underlying health problem.