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10 Products With Hidden Powers

Aloe vera
If you're prone to canker sores -- which are often triggered by trauma such as biting your cheek or jabbing your gum with your toothbrush -- you've probably noticed that many over-the-counter medications simply dull the pain rather than cure the sores.

Luckily, aloe vera can be used to not only reduce pain but also accelerate healing, says Dr. Eric Z. Shapira, spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry and founder of Aging Mentor Services in Montara, Calif.

It also has other advantages.

"Because aloe vera does not have a bad taste or sting when applied, it is a great, natural way to treat canker sores," Shapira says.

You can buy aloe vera juice (which is also purported to help with digestion and overall health) at certain supermarkets, drugstores and grocery stores.

"Just apply a few drops over the wound several times a day and it should be effective over a week's time," the doctor says.

Vinegar
Discolored nails are unsightly and embarrassing, but vinegar may be able to help.

"Soaking in vinegar is one of those old-fashioned treatments that work because most bacteria and fungi don't really like acidic environments, so it kind of discourages anything from growing," Benabio says.

If you have toenail fungus, the Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies suggests soaking your feet for 15 to 20 minutes in a mixture of one part vinegar and two parts warm water. If your skin becomes irritated, you can try increasing the proportion of water in the mixture or try soaking your feet just two or three times a week.

Pencil erasers
One of the most frustrating parts about wearing earrings is dealing with earring backs, which can get lost easily or simply fall out of your ears, the latter of which runs the risk of you losing your earrings altogether.

A simple solution: Grab a pencil eraser, cut it in half, and voila! You've created two perfectly good earring backs, Picoli says.

We tested whether this really works, just to be sure, and it was actually quite effective. It might not be the most glamorous solution, but it's a good choice if you're in a bind.

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