Scientists report that they have developed a method for the effective healing of, and relief of pain associated with, canker sores.
Canker sores (scientifically known as aphthous ulcers) are painful recurring ulcers inside the mouth that afflict 60 million Americans. They are not viral or contagious. The most common form, called minor aphthous ulcers, are less than 10 mm in diameter and typically heal within 10-14 days.
The direct cause of canker sores is unknown, but studies have shown that stress, family history, and cuts in the mouth (like those caused by braces or accidental bites) are indirect causes. Diet may be a factor for some people as well, though specific triggering foods have not been identified. There are no significant complications caused by unhealed canker sores, but the acute mouth pain can interfere with the ability to eat, drink, or speak and impair the sufferer's quality of life.
Licorice has been used for over 4000 years as a healing agent. The medicinal capabilities of licorice root (Glycyrrhiza) extract (GX) have been established by long-term clinical use and, most recently, by scientific research. GX has been identified to have anti-inflammatory, soothing, and coating abilities and provides proven, rapid relief for canker sores.
The researchers presenting here in New Orleans will report on a study of a new, patented dissolving oral patch with this traditional herbal medicine. In randomized, controlled trials conducted by researchers at the University of Washington and Orahealth Corporation, 8 out of 10 people using an oral GX patch (CankerMelts®) had no more base pain after 3 days of use. Further, the canker sores treated with the oral GX patch shrank to one-tenth their original size after 7 days, while untreated canker sores grew larger. In a separate prior study, 26 out of 27 canker sores (96%) that were treated with the CankerMelts oral patch healed in 3 or fewer days.
The gels and mouthwashes used for years by canker sore sufferers are designed to numb the pain or cover the ulcer in a protective coating to protect against irritation. To many people, this is simply inadequate: A numb mouth and days or weeks of excruciating pain can make it tough to enjoy your favorite foods and drinks or talk comfortably with friends and family. The CankerMelts oral patch technology allows the disc to stick inside the mouth, in contact with the sore and usually covering the sore to protect it from irritation. Pain relief (not numbing of the mouth) is achieved in roughly 10 minutes, and the all-natural disc dissolves slowly in the mouth, providing 2-6 hours of time-released medication exactly in the needed spot.
This is a summary of abstract #1207, "CankerMelts Patches Reduce Pain and Speed Resolution of Aphthous Ulcers", by J. Haley et al., of the University of Washington and Orahealth Corporation.
Materials provided by International & American Association for Dental Research. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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