If you have ever had a canker sore, you know it’s there as soon as you get one or two. Ever had a glass of orange juice or tried to eat, only to feel pain radiating from the mouth sores?
Canker sores are common, but many people don’t know what they are or what causes them to pop up suddenly in our mouths. They just seem to be there one morning, stick around for a while, make us feel miserable, and are often slow to disappear.
What are Canker Sores
What’s a canker sore, anyway? A canker sore, also known as an aphthous ulcer, is an open and painful ulcer or sore that appears in your mouth. You’re most likely to get a canker sore on the inside of your lips, cheeks, or on your gum line. You may even find a canker sore on tongue. They are usually white or yellow in appearance and surrounded by red and inflamed soft tissue.
Although canker sores are most common for individuals between the ages of 10 and 20, anyone can get one. How long do canker sores last? Canker sores aren’t contagious but may take anywhere from a week to six weeks to heal, depending on the severity.
So, what causes sores? Canker sore causes vary in each person, but some of the most common causes include a viral infection, stress, hormonal fluctuations, menstrual cycle, a food allergy, or an injury to the mouth. Regardless of the cause, the pain and inconvenience will have you wondering how to get rid of canker sores fast.
Although canker sores are rarely severe, you may find it hard to talk, eat, or brush your teeth. You may also experience fatigue or cold sores developing outside of your mouth. In some cases, you may have a fever and even cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection. For the sake of your health and pain management, it’s important to find a canker sore treatment that works for you.
20 Home Remedies for Canker Sore Treatment
We will discuss some canker sore home remedies that will help in healing canker sores more quickly so you can get back to your regular, pain-free daily routines. Many of these natural remedies for canker sores include things you may already have in your home, are easy to try, and will bring you canker sore relief fast.
1. Baking Soda
There’s a good chance you already have at least one box of baking soda in your kitchen cabinet. Baking soda is one of those inexpensive products that is versatile and a “must have” item. What makes baking soda a good canker sore treatment? It’s an alkaline, which means it neutralizes acids that can irritate the sore, reducing pain and inflammation.
Want to know how to get rid of mouth sores? There are a few ways that baking soda can help. First, try adding a little water to one teaspoon of soda, mix to make a paste. Apply the paste to the sore with a sterilized cotton ball or your clean finger. Leave the paste on for a couple of minutes and rinse your mouth with warm water.
Another baking soda canker sore remedy is to mix two teaspoons of the soda in a glass of warm water. Swish the mixture around in your mouth and use as a rinse. Both canker sore treatments are safe to do a few times a day.
2. Aloe Vera Gel
Want to know how to heal canker sores fast? If you have an aloe vera plant in your home, you have probably used it for treating minor burns, but did you know it’s also used as a popular canker sore home remedy? The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in aloe help reduce pain, inflammation, and speed up the healing process.
There are a few ways to use aloe vera as a canker sore treatment. First, extract the gel from an aloe vera leaf by cutting the leaf open. Apply the fresh gel directly on the canker sore. You can also ingest about two tablespoons of gel.
Rinsing your mouth aloe vera juice, which can be found in most health stores, is also effective. If you don’t have an aloe plant, you can purchase gel in the store, or it may be time to buy an aloe plant. All aloe treatments are safe home remedies for canker sore and are beneficial if you do them a few times a day.
3. Milk of Magnesia
You may have a bottle of Milk of Magnesia in your medicine cabinet to treat an occasional bout of constipation, heartburn, or an upset stomach, but it’s also good at getting rid of canker sores. Want to know how to heal a canker sore fast? Sip a small amount, swish it around in your mouth as you would any other mouth rinse.
How does Milk of Magnesia work as a canker sore treatment? The same properties that treat your heartburn neutralize the acids in your mouth. Don’t want to use a rinse? Put a dab of the “milk” on a canker sore.
Some people recommend mixing a teaspoon of the medicine with a teaspoon of liquid allergy medicine, like Benadryl. The treatments are safe to do a few times a day.
4. Tea Bags
Making a cup of tea? Don’t throw out the tea bag. The alkaline in tea makes it an excellent home remedy for canker sores. After you let a tea bag steep for a few minutes, let it cool a bit and put the tea bag on the canker sore. Holding a tea bag on your canker sore for just five minutes can offer some relief. Try this treatment every time you make a cup of tea.
5. Swish Sage
Have a sage plant in your garden? It’s time to use the leaves for something more than adding flavor to some of your favorite dishes. If you want to know how to heal canker sores, pick a few leaves and put them directly on the sore for about five minutes. Don’t have a sage plant, no problem, there are other home remedies for canker sores to try.
Put a couple of teaspoons of dried sage leaves in a cup of boiling water. Cover and let steep. Once cool, use as a mouth rinse. If you have sage oil on hand, you can add a few drops to a glass of water and use as a mouth rinse, too. Try these treatments a few times a day.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide
If you want to know how to heal canker sores fast, hydrogen peroxide is one of the many effective canker sore home remedies. You probably use hydrogen peroxide to heal other sores or small cuts on your body, right? A canker sore is no different and to heal it needs to be kept clean.
Before you try this canker sore treatment, make sure that the hydrogen peroxide is 3%; don’t use any other kind. Add one tablespoon of peroxide to a glass of water, mix well, and use as a rinse. Never swallow a peroxide solution.
You can also mix one teaspoon of peroxide and one teaspoon of water, dip a sterile cotton ball or swab into the solution and apply directly to the sore. Leave the solution for a few minutes and rinse your mouth well. Try both treatments about three to five times a day.
7. Salt Water
The thought of putting salt on canker sore may be anything but pleasant, but salt water is an effective remedy if you want to know how to heal a canker sore. The salt helps by drawing fluid from the canker sore and speeds up the healing process.
Try this treatment for canker sores about four or five times a day. Mix one teaspoon of salt with one cup of lukewarm water, stirring well. Use the solution as a mouth rinse, swishing around for about 30 seconds, and spit it out.
If you want to know how to get rid of canker sore fast, you may want to try to put a little salt directly on the sore after you have used a salt water rinse. It might hurt a bit, but it is one of the most effective home remedies for mouth ulcers.
8. Licorice Tea
Licorice root has a long history in home remedies due to its healing properties. Next time you make a cup of tea, try a mug of licorice tea. After you drink it, you can even save the tea bag to try the tea bag treatment we mentioned earlier. Licorice can be very effective for cold sores.
9. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a versatile and essential vitamin with many healing properties. If you are looking for additional ways on how to treat canker sores, Vitamin E is a good home remedy for canker sores.
All you need to do is cut open a Vitamin E gel capsule and squeeze a bit of the liquid directly onto the sore. The oil will coat the sore, protect it from infection, and allow for a fast cure.
Many experts believe that one of the reasons for canker sores is a vitamin deficiency. L-lysine is just one of the amino acids that many people lack in their daily diets. Research suggests that taking 500 mg of the amino acid supplement daily, can prevent painful canker sores.
If you want to use it as a canker sore treatment, 4000 mg daily may decrease the length of canker sores and ultimately speeds up the healing process.
11. Vitamin C
Another vitamin that many people are deficient in is Vitamin C. Vitamin C has many benefits and helps to boost your immune system. While citrus fruit is an easy way to get your daily dose, it can cause canker sores in some people.
Experts recommend that how to use Vitamin C to get rid of a canker sore is to catch it early. As soon as you notice a sore starting to appear in your mouth, take 200 mg of a Vitamin C supplement two to three times a day. You can try a higher dosage for a short period, but this may cause an upset stomach and diarrhea.
This boost in vitamins should keep your sore from getting severe and decrease how long the sore is in your mouth.
While zinc can be found in a variety of different foods, many people are zinc deficient. Like other vitamins and minerals, zinc is a good mouth sores treatment because it can help to speed up the healing process. As soon as you detect a sore, start taking 30 mg of zinc lozenges each day until the sore is gone.
Much like the baking soda and Milk of Magnesia canker sore treatments, an antacid tablet works to reduce and neutralize the acid in your mouth. All you need to do is either crush up a few antacid tablets, mix with a little water to make a paste and apply to the sore, treat it as you would with the baking soda remedy.
Don’t want to mess around with crushing tablets? Chew up a few tablets in your mouth, let your saliva make a paste and let the paste settle in the affected area for a few minutes. Rinse and repeat when necessary.
14. DIY Numbing Spray
If your canker sore has become so painful that it’s hard to eat or even talk, you may find relief from a numbing spray. Most OTC numbing sprays, which contain ingredients like benzocaine, lidocaine, camphor, and phenol, have a less than pleasant taste and can cause a chemical burn if over applied.
It’s easy to make your own natural numbing spray, and you may already have the ingredients at home. All you need is olive or grapeseed oil, peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils, and a glass mister bottle. This mixture is one of the best canker sore treatment when it comes to a numbing spray because it helps to reduce infection and won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth.
15. Coconut Oil
Do you already use coconut oil for all your cooking and beauty treatments? Not only does it taste good, but it has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. All you need is to dab the coconut oil directly onto the spot. If you are having problems getting the oil to stick, try melting one tablespoon with a half of a teaspoon of beeswax to make it thicken.
Another way to use coconut oil is by oil pulling or swishing it around in your mouth for up to 20 minutes. Just remember not to swallow the oil and always spit it out in the trash. Rinse your mouth well and brush your teeth, being gentle around the sore.
16. Clove Oil Cotton Ball
Clove oil has a long history as a natural painkiller and used to treat oral pain from toothaches to canker sores. Like the homemade numbing spray, a dab of clove oil can temporarily numb the pain of an inconvenient canker sore.
It’s important to remember that with a pure essential oil, it’s always smart to use the mix with a small amount of a carrier oil (such as olive oil) to prevent skin irritations. To use clove oil as a canker sore medicine, first, rinse your mouth with a salt water solution (you can follow the steps we mentioned earlier). This will clean your mouth.
Next, mix a half of a teaspoon of olive oil with four to five drops of clove essential oil. Soak a sterile cotton ball in the oil mixture and apply the cotton ball directly to the sore for up to eight minutes.
Like coconut oil, honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which help to speed up the healing process. Want to know how to heal canker sores? With honey, of course. The honey treatment is most beneficial when you don’t need to talk or eat, but are just enjoying some quiet time like reading or watching a movie.
First, rinse and swish your mouth with warm water and then apply a liberal amount of honey to the sore. Raw, organic honey is recommended. Apply this treatment a few times a day.
18. Eat Yogurt
Eating yogurt daily is credited to helping your gut maintain a healthy flora. The good news is that yogurt can help to balance out the bacteria in your mouth, too. Some people get canker sores because the bacteria in their mouths is unbalanced.
Look for a yogurt that contains live cultures and skip the flavored yogurts, just buy the plain. To reap any of the bacteria balancing benefits, make sure you eat at least one tablespoon of plain yogurt (with live cultures) about three times a day. If you’re a fan of yogurt, you shouldn’t have any problem eating enough. Need a little sweetener? Add honey.
Using cayenne pepper as a canker sore treatment may sound like a stretch, but the capsaicin can have a numbing effect and reduce pain and inflammation. If you’re hesitant to try this treatment, start out small by sucking on a candy that contains cayenne pepper.
A more effective way to offer pain relief is to mix a little water with a small amount of cayenne powder and make a paste. Apply the paste to the sore and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse your mouth well and repeat when necessary or twice a day for a few days.
20. Wax Cap
Canker sores can become more irritated if they rub against a tooth, braces, or dentures. When this happens, the healing process takes longer, and the pain may feel unbearable. Want a little relief? Try this canker sore home treatment.
To make the wax cap, melt one tablespoon of beeswax with two teaspoons of coconut oil. Let the mixture cool slightly enough to handle. Take a small dollop to place over the tooth or part on the braces or dentures that hit the sore. The wax cap acts as a “buffer” and allows it to heal more quickly and with less pain.
Canker Sore Tips
Most of the time, a canker sore appears without warning and when we least expect to get one. If you are prone to canker sores on a semi-regular basis, try to pinpoint your trigger. Take stress, for example. If you get a painful sore every time you have stress, do your best to stay relaxed and try different relaxation methods like meditation.
Practice good oral hygiene and always brush your teeth with a soft bristle brush, making gentle and circular strokes near your gum line. Vigorous brushing can cause your gums to be sore or cause an injury, which can turn into a canker sore.
If you are unsure what causes your canker sores, consult a health professional. He or she can help you determine if you have a vitamin deficiency or if your sores are food related (such as spicy or acidic). Always try to avoid acidic foods when you have a canker sore and skip crunchy or “sharp” foods that may prevent the sore from healing at a faster rate.
Although we’ve given you 20 remedies to try, feel free to mix and match. If you don’t feel comfortable trying one, don’t try it; there are many more to test out. In time, you’re likely to find the one or two that works well for you.
Keep in mind that a canker sore can stick around for quite a while, depending on the severity. While there is no treatment designed to make the canker sore disappear overnight, they will help speed up the healing process if you do the treatment right.
If a sore gets worse or you start to feel unwell, contact your doctor just in case your canker sore has turned into a serious bacterial infection. It’s always best to get something checked out rather than waiting for things to get worse.