Get rid of Canker Sores with These Terrific Tips

canker sore on tongue

There probably aren’t too many skin conditions more painful than a raw canker sore on tongue. Not only is the sight of them embarrassing, but they can also affect how you eat or talk to add to your frustration. There are several things you can do to relieve your pain and cure canker sores and treat your symptoms.

What are Canker Sores

Canker sores appear as white sores in mouth. You may find them under your tongue or on your gums. Pictures of canker sores don’t hide the fact that they can make your life miserable for several days until they heal. They are a type of skin lesion that is simply a mouth ulcer. You might be familiar with the term ulcer as it relates to the stomach.

It is essentially a small hole in the soft tissue of your mouth as a gastric ulcer within the stomach. Your skin and lining of your organs provide the first line of defense against disease-causing agents or pathogens. The hole means that this barrier has been broken, putting you at risk of an infection. Part of the treatment involves preventing additional problems.

They can be simple or complex. Simple canker sores usually heal on their own. Complex canker sores are larger and may take longer to heal. There is a risk of scarring. There is also a third type called herpetiform canker sores. These are smaller in size and less common. They typically occur in older individuals. Canker sores are generally more common in women than men.

Canker Sores vs. Cold Sores

Canker sores differ from cold sores in several ways. First, a cold sore also known as a fever blister is caused by the herpes simplex virus. That makes them highly contagious. They typically occur outside of your mouth. Something that looks like a cold sore in mouth is a canker sore. Their like appearance is the only similarity between the two.

The cause of canker sores is unknown though there are several suspected culprits. Unlike cold sores, they are not contagious and are confined to inside the mouth. There is some variability in the susceptibility of both cold sores and canker sores. Some individuals get them frequently whereas others appear immune.

Canker Sore Symptoms

The most obvious symptom of a canker sore under tongue or on your gums is a stabbing pain. You may also find them inside your cheeks or on your soft palate. They appear as circular whitish or yellowish spots. The canker sore stages often start with a warning. You may notice a burning sensation or redness a day or so before the onset of pain.

The pain is acute and doesn’t subside. In more serious cases, you may even develop a fever or have swollen lymph nodes. Remember, it is a break in the tissue that normally safeguards your body from bacteria and disease. They usually resolve themselves without intervention in about a week. However, you may need to consult your doctor for more severe cases.

Causes of Canker Sores

The fact that they show up as mouth sores suggests some type of injury. A canker sore under tongue from something as benign as biting your tongue or from rubbing of braces or dentures. Something breaks the surface of the skin, causing the ulcer to form. Because it’s an open wound, it will cause inflammation, and thus, the pain.

With many canker sores, you will find that children often have them because they will get more injuries than adults. Everything from chewing too quickly to talking too fast can cause an injury to the mouth that will lead to a canker sore. It not limited to just how you treat your mouth either. Certain foods can determine whether or not you will get a canker sore and can even make a canker sore worse.

Some foods such as tomatoes or citrus fruits may trigger a sore on gums or worsen an existing condition. There is also evidence that suggests deficiencies in nutrients such as zinc or iron may trigger recurrences. That research may also explain why people with malabsorption symptoms such as celiac disease patients may have a greater risk of developing them.

Treatment Options

You’ll have many choices for canker sore remedies, depending on the severity of your symptoms. Often, over the counter (OTC) treatments will provide immediate relief of your pain. If you have a complex canker sore, there are prescription options to keep it from worsening. You may also find home remedies helpful for a quick fix for small sores.

If your canker sore won’t heal, you should consult your doctor especially it persists for more than two weeks or is accompanied by a fever. The latter may indicate the presence of a secondary infection that may require antibiotics.

For the most part, you should be able to deal with a canker sore all by yourself right at home. One of the best ways to allow your mouth to heal is by time. With time, your canker sore should be able to heal all on its own. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do right at home to help speed up the healing process. Some of these remedies can be found at the store while some just involve a couple of ingredients from your kitchen or medicine cabinet. 

Over the Counter Treatments

OTC canker sore medicine and treatments will target the pain and other symptoms. They provide more in the way of supportive care than a quick fix to how to get rid of canker sores. In any case, you’ll find it easier to eat and talk without discomfort. Some may even speed up the healing process.

Many of these topical treatments will include active ingredients such as benzocaine. These products work by deadening the pain. You can apply them as needed. You’ll also find treatments that contain fluocinonide. These products reduce inflammation. There are also mouth rinses that will work in a similar fashion.

Prescription Topicals

Many OTC topical treatments are available in prescription strength. Your doctor may prescribe one of these products if your sores are slow to heal or if your pain is severe. In more serious cases, your doctor may suggest other medications such as those used to treat intestinal ulcers or oral steroid drugs.

Home Remedies

If your canker sores are minor, you can also try DIY home remedies to bring some relief. Many of these solutions work like OTC topical treatments for reducing pain which is exactly what you want when you have a canker sore on tongue. Some may also speed healing.

Different Home Remedies For Canker Sores

We’ve put together a list of treatments that you can make at home with everyday ingredients.  You may find a combination of treatments works best for you. These solutions include pain relief, anti-inflammatories, and some that can attack bacteria that can worsen an existing condition.

As with all treatments, discuss your options with your doctors especially if you are on medication or have a pre-existing condition. Some remedies such as chamomile may interfere with action of some drugs. But as you’ll see, you have plenty of options from which to choose.

Homemade Numbing Spray

You can attack the problem directly with a DIY numbing spray using a combination of any of the herbs or spices listed below such as one tablespoon sage and five drops of clove oil. You’ll need to first steep the herb to extract their full potential using a base of ½ cup of boiling water. Mix the strained solution with ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar to reduce bacteria in your mouth.

Allow the mixture to cool completely. Pour into a small spray bottle and use as needed. Store the unused portion in the refrigerator and discard it at the end of the day. This remedy comes with one important precaution. The vinegar may sting on an open wound. Discontinue use if it aggravates your pain.


Sage offers a way to treat canker sores as an anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is your body’s normal response to injury and infections. However, it can worsen pain. Sage can reduce pain when applied directly to your sores. You can use it with other treatments in our list. Add five drops of sage essential oil to one tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply every four hours.

Clove Oil

Clove oil has a long history of folklore use for pain relief, especially toothaches. You’ll find it a common ingredient in many oral health care products. You can apply it directly to the source of pain. Clove will numb the sore and the surrounding tissue. The relief is temporary but nonetheless beneficial.


Honey is probably one of the more delicious ways to treat canker sores. It acts on several fronts. It is an anti-inflammatory to reduce pain and swelling of ulcers. It can prevent secondary infections caused by bacteria and viruses, according to research by the Human Genome Centre. Researchers found it was particularly effective for wounds that are slow to heal.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can help you find relief from that canker sore on tongue in two ways. First, it has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling and redness of the ulcer. Second, it may relieve pain too. Researchers from Payap University confirmed that it has a moderate analgesic effect when applied topically in experiments done with rats. Apply to sores as needed.


The healing properties of aloe vera are legendary with its use going back centuries. You should look for a product with at least 20 percent aloe vera since it’s often an added ingredient in preparations. Apply to the canker sore two to three times a day. You should see quick improvement in the appearance of your sores after a few days.


Chamomile is a safe herb that you may enjoy if just for its pleasant scent. Some research suggests that it may act as a preventive for mouth sores. You can use it in an oral rinse by mixing 10-15 drops of chamomile extract in a ½ cup of water one to three times a day when you first detect that burning sensation that means a canker sore is developing.

Hot Pepper

It may seem counterintuitive, but hot peppers are an effective treatment for pain due to its active ingredient called capsaicin. This chemical interferes with the way nerve cells signal pain to the brain. You can use it in your numbing spray or as a gargle. Steep a ½ teaspoon of cayenne in one cup of hot water and rinse up to three times a day.


The benefits of probiotics when it comes to how to cure a canker sore stem from its effects on your immune system. Canker sores caused by some type of injury put you at risk of secondary infections. A properly functioning immune system is essential so that the sores don’t become a greater health problem. You can take oral supplements as directed for optimal immune function.

Salt Water Gargle

You may remember using a salt water gargle as a kid for treating a sore throat. Well, Mom was right. You can use it as a treatment for canker sores too to prevent a secondary infection. Rinse with about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt in one cup of water, making sure that the salt is completely dissolved. You can use this rinse as needed.

A salt water gargle works great because the salt will help to pull out any fluid buildup in the canker sore. With that, the salt will also prevent a bacterial infection from developing. When you avoid a bacterial infection, you will help to speed up the healing process. 


If all else fails, you can always fall back on a surefire cure for canker sore pain. Ice temporarily deadens pain and reduces swelling that may make you feel uncomfortable. Break up an ice cube into chips and hold them in your mouth against the canker sore until they dissolve. You can use ice in addition to other treatments as needed.

As you add ice to your canker sore to help numb it up, you will find that it will become a little less painful. This can be the perfect remedy when you simply can not deal with the pain. Just be sure that when you use ice, you take extra care not to keep it in one area of the skin for too long. This can cause more pain than healing. 

Canker Sore Tips

Sometimes the best way canker sore cure is prevention. The fact that you may know you’re getting one is an excellent opportunity to identify any triggers you may have. You might want to consider keeping a journal to track your symptoms. Armed with this knowledge, you can avoid the discomfort of a canker sore on gums.

Don’t Smoke or Drink

Smoking and drinking may cause canker sores by irritating the tissues of your mouth. That can make you vulnerable to developing an ulcer. The risk increases with your usage and consumption.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Acidic food may prove problematic for some individuals. Acid may breach the skin barrier, causing the characteristic lesion. Pay attention to any unusual mouth pain after you eat foods such as pineapples or oranges. Sometimes you may find that these same foods trigger acid reflux, making avoiding them a smart choice.

Add More Vitamins to Your Diet

A healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is essential for good health. It can also act as a preventive measure against canker sores. Research has identified several deficiencies that are associated with their development. Dietary sources provide the best way to get adequate nutrition. But you may benefit from a multivitamin if your diet is less than ideal.

Dont Move Your Mouth Too Much

If you have ever had a canker sore, then you know the pain that comes with it. With that, you probably already know that when you move your mouth, you may exacerbate the pain more than necessary. One of the best ways to help your mouth heal up quickly is by limiting the movement. Every time you move your mouth, you irritate the skin just a bit more. This irritation will then open up any healing that might have happened. When this happens, you will feel the pain of the canker sore getting injured again. You can easily avoid this headache of pain by limiting the amount of movement your mouth undergoes. This means speaking less and chewing with a little more caution. 

A canker sore on tongue doesn’t have to make your life miserable. With simple home remedies, you can find relief from the pain so that you can enjoy your day. And if you suffer from them frequently, there are several effective prevention steps you can take so that you never have to worry about mouth pain again.