Top 16 Effective Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Canker Sores June 30, 2016

You may be particularly careful about your oral health and dental hygiene, but sometimes, you still end up getting sores, and it can be quite a task to get rid of them.

What Are Canker Sores

Canker sores are a type of ulcers that erupt around your mouth area. These can be difficult to treat with just over the counter medication. Those who are affected with canker sores find it difficult to eat, speak, or even drink without discomfort.

Although these sores are rather small and insignificant in size, they can end up giving you a lot of pain and discomfort. They are white or yellow in the center, with a red halo around them. They can form on your lips, inside the mouth, on the gums, and even on your tongue as well as your throat. Though not contagious or cancerous, they can end up causing sudden fever and sluggishness (1).

Canker Sores Home Remedies

Amazingly, instead of ointments, you can easily treat canker sores using some useful home remedies. If you have been suffering from them, proper caution and the following remedies can work wonders.

  1. Alum
  2. Essential Oils
  3. Lysine
  4. Coconut Oil
  5. Baking Soda
  6. Honey
  7. Tea Tree Oil
  8. Listerine
  9. Milk Of Magnesia
  10. Salt Water
  11. Vitamin B12
  12. Cayenne Pepper
  13. Aloe Vera
  14. Kiwi
  15. Ice
  16. Sage

Get Rid Of Canker Sore Quickly With These Remedies

1. Alum

Alum

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

A small amount of alum

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply about a pea-sized amount of alum directly on the canker sore.
  1. Leave it on for a minute. Do not swallow the alum. Spit it out after some time.
  1. Do not rinse your mouth with water after this.
When You Need To Do This

A one-time application should reduce the pain considerably. You can repeat this the next day if the pain persists.

Why This Works

Applying alum wherever you have a sore is known to reduce or relieve the pain. It is also an antiseptic (2).

Caution

A slight burning sensation is normal, so don’t worry about it when you apply the alum. This remedy is not suitable for multiple or large canker sores.

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2. Essential Oils

(a) Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender Essential Oil

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Lavender essential oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply a drop or two of the essential oil on the canker sore on your lips or inside your mouth.
  1. If you are applying it inside the mouth, leave it on for a couple of minutes and rinse with water.
  1. When applied to the outer mouth parts, you can leave it on for a few hours.
When You Need To Do This

Do this two to three times a day.

Why This Works

The therapeutic applications of lavender oil are endless. It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that will reduce the chance of building an infection in the canker sore in your mouth. It also has analgesic properties that will reduce the swelling and pain (3, 4).

Caution

Lavender oil is for topical application only. Be careful not to swallow any of it.

(b) Peppermint And Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Peppermint And Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 10 drops of peppermint oil
  • 8 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A small spray bottle
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the essential oils well with the olive oil and transfer this mixture to a spray bottle.
  1. Spritz the oils directly on the canker sore in your mouth.

Remember to shake the bottle well before every use.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat this twice a day.

Why This Works

Both these essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties and work as astringents. They tighten the tissue around the sore and reduce swelling and pain. These oils also have antimicrobial properties, thus reducing the chance of infection (5, 6).

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3. Lysine

Lysine

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

L-lysine tablets

What You Have To Do
  1. Take 500 mg of lysine thrice a day.
    1. Take the morning tablet on an empty stomach.
When You Need To Do This

You should notice a difference in the canker sore in 24 hours. You can take the tablets till the ulcer heals.

Why This Works

L-lysine is an amino acid that has been known to get rid of canker sores quickly. Taking these external supplements balances the deficiency of this essential amino acid that might have resulted in the mouth sore. Also, lysine helps in getting rid of the viral infection (7).

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4. Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • Coconut oil
  • Cotton swab
What You Have To Do
  1. With the help of a cotton swab, apply a liberal amount of oil on the canker sore.
  1. Leave it on. Ingesting coconut oil is not harmful to health.
When You Need To Do This

Do this two to three times a day.

Why This Works

Coconut oil is multipurpose in its function when it comes to treating canker sores. It has antimicrobial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties, thus soothing the burning sensation, and eliminating the pain and infection (8).

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5. Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the baking soda in the water to make a paste.
  1. Apply this paste to the affected areas and leave it on.
  1. You can also mix one teaspoon of baking soda in half a cup of water and use this baking soda rinse to gargle and wash your mouth.
When You Need To Do This

Apply the paste twice or thrice times a day. Rinse your mouth with the baking soda water a few times in the day.

Why This Works

Baking soda has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that will help reduce canker sores, alleviate symptoms, and give you immense relief. Within a few days, you will feel the symptoms vanish. It also restore the pH balance in your mouth and neutralizes the acid that is leaching away at the sore (9, 10).

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6. Honey

Honey

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4th teaspoon of turmeric
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the turmeric with the honey to make a fine paste.
  1. Apply the paste generously on the sores and let it stay on for about 10 minutes.
  1. Rinse with water.
When You Need To Do This

Repeat this twice a day, until you get relief from the canker sore.

Why This Works

Honey, when combined with turmeric, will act as an antiseptic and relieve both pain and inflammation (11, 12).

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7. Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 10-15 drops of tea tree oil
  • A glass of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the tea tree oil well in the glass of water.
  1. Rinse your mouth with this water thoroughly.
  1. You can also use a cotton swab to apply the herbal oil gently on the sores.
When You Need To Do This

Rinse with tea tree oil water two to three times a day.

Why This Works

Tea tree oil is often touted by many as one of the most effective treatments to fight canker sores. The oil is rich in antibacterial and antiseptic compounds. These will help in treating canker sores and will minimize the risk of the occurrence of the sores again (13).

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8. Listerine

Listerine

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Listerine or a similar mouthwash

What You Have To Do

Rinse your mouth with the mouthwash and then with clean water.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat this a few times a day.

Why This Works

Listerine works as an antibacterial agent and reduces the infection. It also numbs the area around the sore, thus reducing the pain (14).

Caution

Listerine might burn a little at the affected area. You can use a non-alcohol based mouthwash as well.

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9. Milk Of Magnesia

Milk Of Magnesia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • Milk of magnesia
  • Cotton swab
What You Have To Do
  1. Apply milk of magnesia directly to the canker sore with the cotton swab.
  1. Let it cover the sore completely. Leave it on.
When You Need To Do This

Repeat this three to four times a day, preferably after meals.

Why This Works

Milk of magnesia reduces the pain and speed up the healing process of the canker sore.

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10. Salt Water

Salt Water

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4th cup warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the salt to the warm water and mix well.
  1. Gargle with this water and swish it around in your mouth for a minute or two.
When You Need To Do This

Do this thrice daily till you get relief from the canker sore inside your mouth.

Why This Works

The salt water works well for puffed up mouth ulcers. It reduces the puffiness, and the warmness of the water offers some relief from the pain. This salt water mixture also controls the infection (15).

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11. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Vitamin B12 capsules

What You Have To Do

Take one tablet daily before going to bed.

When You Need To Do This

Do this daily for a few months.

Why This Works

Canker sores can form due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Consistent daily intake of these supplements will help resolve the deficiency issues and reduce the formation of canker sores in the long run (16).

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12. Cayenne Pepper

1. Cayenne-Pepper

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • Water
  • Cotton swab
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix enough water with the cayenne pepper to make a thick paste.
  1. With the help of a cotton swab, apply this paste to the canker sore.
  1. Leave it on for a few minutes and rinse with water.
When You Need To Do This

Repeat this twice a day to get instant relief from canker sores.

Why This Works

Cayenne pepper has capsaicin that is capable of numbing the nerves,  thus relieving you of the pain associated with canker sores (17).

Caution

Cayenne pepper is sure to cause some initial irritation, but will soon begin working on the sores.

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13. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • Fresh aloe vera pulp
  • Cotton swab
What You Have To Do
  1. Dry out the sore with the help of the cotton swab.
  1. Squeeze out some fresh pulp from an aloe vera leaf and apply on the sores.
When You Need To Do This

Repeat thrice a day till the canker sore heals.

Why This Works

Ancient Indian texts and scriptures on medicine highly recommend the use of aloe vera that has curative powers. It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that will help you bid goodbye to those nagging sores (18).

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[ Read: Benefits Of Aloe Vera Health ]

14. Kiwi

Kiwi

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Kiwis

What You Have To Do

Eat a kiwi every day, especially for breakfast.

When You Need To Do This

Eat kiwis regularly for a few months to eliminate the problem of repetitive canker sores.

Why This Works

Kiwis are rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids that enhance the body’s immune system and help conquer the canker sores issue from the root (19).

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15. Ice

Ice

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

A few ice cubes

What You Have To Do

Hold the ice cube directly over the sore for a few minutes.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat this a few times during the day.

Why This Works

Ice acts as a numbing agent and dries up the sore quickly (20).

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16. Sage

Sage

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • A few sage leaves or sage powder
  • A cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Steep the sage leaves in water for a couple of minutes.
  1. Strain the water and rinse your mouth with this decoction.
  1. If you do not have sage leaves, mix a teaspoon of sage powder in a glass of warm water and use this to rinse your mouth.
When You Need To Do This

Repeat this twice or thrice a day.

Why This Works

Sage has been used since time immemorial to treat myriad skin problems. Its calming properties make it a great remedy to alleviate the symptoms of even a bad case of canker sores (21).

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These remedies mentioned above have a high success rate. They are very effective and come without any side effect unless someone is allergic to the ingredients being used. Let us now look at the some of the cause behind these annoying sores.

What Causes Canker Sores?

Canker sores or mouth ulcers can rise due to a number of reasons. The most common reasons are listed below:

  • Viral infection
  • Mouth injury
  • Roughly cleaning the teeth
  • Biting the tongue or cheek
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Food allergies
  • Iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12 deficiency

Sometimes, the cause behind these sores is unknown, and anyone can develop a canker sore, irrespective of gender and age (22).

How Long Does It Take For A Canker Sore To Go Away?

Canker sores can take 12 to 15 days to heal by themselves. Even though the pain subsides in a week or so, the ulcer takes longer to heal. When the sore is present inside the mouth, for example, a canker sore on your tongue or a canker sore on the inner side of the cheek, or even your gum, it takes its own sweet time to heal as it is continuously subjected to the digestive enzymes present in your mouth.

By using one of the home remedies listed or even over the counter medication, you can speed up this healing process easily.

Why Do I Keep Getting Canker Sores?

Recurrent canker sores may indicate a deficiency in essential amino acids and vitamins in the body. Skin ailments usually occur because of vitamin deficiencies, and in the case of canker sores, low levels of vitamin B12 is the main culprit. Other nutritional deficiencies like that of folic acid, iron, and zinc can also cause canker sores to erupt again and again. Also, as canker sores can form due to viral infections, people with poor immunity are more prone to develop them repeatedly (23).

A proper nutritional diet that replenishes the body with all the required nutrients is essential to maintain healthy levels of immunity.

Canker sores are something we all wish to avoid. If you are inflicted with them, make sure you use some of the home remedies listed in this post. Also, make sure to follow a good dental and oral hygiene routine. Get well soon!

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