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Alum: The Canker Sore Home Remedy

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If you're as unlucky as me, you have what's known in the medical community as aphthous stomatitis. It's a condition that causes small, painful lesions in your mouth, especially inside your lips. It makes even talking or eating painful, and can last for over a week! The whitish, shallow abrasion isn't contagious, and is often confused with the very similar looking cold sore, which is caused by a variant of the herpes simplex virus. But though it's a relief to know you won't pass it on, many different triggers can leave you chewing ice for relief for weeks out of the year!

Luckily, there's a very similar home remedy that's pretty effective in my experience. When I feel one sprout (usually do to high stress or poor diet,) I go to my spice cabinet for my jar of alum. Alum is a grainy white powder used in pickling. It's used in pickling as an astringent, tightening the skin of a cucumber and helping prevent it from taking on too much liquid. As it happens, alum is also very sour. We with canker sores can use it to dry out the lesion and tighten the skin, speeding the healing process.

1. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water

2. Form a paste with a small amount of alum and water. You want about 3 parts alum to 1 part water

3. Dab (don't rub) the paste directly on the canker sore

4. Leave on for approximately 10 minutes. During this time, it's totally normal to salivate, but don't rinse your mouth, and try to contain it as much as possible.

5. Rinse your mouth with plain water again

6. Repeat 2-3 times daily. Avoid spicy or acidic food for the duration of your treatment

Photo: Wikipedia

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