Aphthous ulcer treatment may consist of mouth rinses and oral or topical medications. Some home remedies may also help, like using milk of magnesia and altering the patient's diet. In some instances, it is a sign of an underlying condition, such as food sensitivities or allergies, in which case the cause must be treated as well. Mild aphthous ulcers may not require any treatment, as they will typically subside on their own in a week or two.
A patient with an aphthous ulcer, more commonly called a canker sore, may sometimes confuse this condition with a cold sore. Cold sores occur on the lip, while aphthous ulcers develop inside the mouth and can become painful, rendering speech and eating problematic. Troublesome aphthous ulcers may be covered with a thick paste made of baking soda and water. The patient can also try a homemade mouth rinse, consisting of either salt and water or baking soda and water.
Ice chips may also be used for aphthous ulcer treatment. The patient should hold ice on top of the sore several times a day to relieve pain. Topical application of a drop of milk of magnesia a few times daily may accelerate healing. The avoidance of spicy or abrasive foods can also complement aphthous ulcer treatments. Diligent oral hygiene can help prevent the aphthous ulcer from developing a bacterial infection.
When a sore does not heal within a week or two, or it is severe, patients should see a doctor for aphthous ulcer treatment. A prescription-strength mouthwash can ease inflammation and alleviate discomfort. He may also prescribe a paste that contains fluocinonide, amlexanox, or benzocaine to help accelerate the healing process. These pastes must be applied topically to the canker sore. Another topical aphthous ulcer treatment is debacterol, a chemical solution.
The doctor may also recommend oral medications for aphthous ulcer treatment, which may include heartburn medications. Less commonly, corticosteroids may be used when the sore does not respond to other treatments. Patients who consume inadequate diets may benefit from supplements, such as B vitamins and iron.
Aphthous ulcers may sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Patients should inform their doctors of all their other medical conditions. It may be a response to food allergies or sensitivities. Patients should eliminate the offending foods from their diets to complement aphthous ulcer treatment. These sores may also be a sign of a compromised immune system, celiac disease, or inflammatory bowel diseases, for which the doctor will likely prescribe other treatments.