Clinical studies have shown that zinc lozenges can help shorten the length of the common cold and zap sore throats. It turns out they are also an effective natural canker sore remedy for many people. Zinc is known to possess antibiotic agents, so if your canker sore is caused by bacteria in the mouth, it may help blast away your ulcer.
Just What is Zinc?
It’s an essential mineral for normal cell and tissue growth. It is required in the bio-chemical formation of connective tissue. Food sources include shellfish, especially oysters, fish, red meat, dark meat of chicken and turkey, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Symptoms of deficiency include slow wound healing, susceptibility to infection, decreased appetite, impaired night vision and diminished sense of taste. A deficiency has even been implicated as a potential cause of canker sores in some people.
So how might taking zinc help canker sore sufferers? Zinc bolsters the immune system and creates an environment that makes it hard for canker sores to thrive in. It’s natural antibiotic agents help heal bacterial infections. Some people find that after sucking on zinc lozenges the pain from their mouth ulcers starts to diminish and they experience faster healing.
Recommended Ways to Supplement
You can find zinc supplements in a variety of formats but according to the Nutritional Supplements Health Guide, zinc is best absorbed if taken in the form of a Zinc Gluconate Lozenge. Suck on a lozenge to get it moist then try to place it on your canker sore, or as close as you can get to it, and leave it there as it dissolves. This allows the essential mineral to get absorbed right where you need it.
Some health professionals recommend 50mg zinc lozenges, which can be purchased at most health food stores as well as many drugstores. Let the lozenge dissolve in the mouth three times a day. Other recommendations are for lower potency lozenges of 5-10 mg which you can suck on or dissolve against your ulcer four or five times a day.
Another option is to dissolve one or two zinc lozenges in half a cup of hydrogen peroxide a half cup water and gargle with the mixture several time a day. Important: be sure to spit it out afterward, do not swallow this concoction.
Some experts suggest that zinc be taken in conjunction with vitamin C for best results, preferably 500mg of vitamin C along with 200 mg of zinc sulfate as an oral supplement in capsule form, taken with food to prevent stomach upset. This can be taken daily until the mouth sore heals, but you shouldn’t take this much for long periods of time.
People who get frequent mouth sores (recurrent aphthous stomatitis) may find they get fewer outbreaks by taking 10-15mg of zinc as a daily preventative. Check with your doctor to see if this is okay for you.
High doses of zinc on a regular basis may interfere with the absorption of other key minerals including copper. Some people experience nausea, vomiting, heartburn, cramps, headache or insomnia if they take too much. Zinc may also react negatively with certain antacids, some antibiotics such as tetracycline and penacillamine, and some other drugs. It is important to check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter products to make sure you won’t have any negative reactions.
If something as simple as a zinc lozenge could help cure your canker sore and end your pain and discomfort, it is certainly worth a try. Just be careful not to take too much and check with your doctor first.