Natural Home Remedies for Canker Sores

Updated on December 13, 2017
GoldenRod LM profile image

As a former USN Hospital Corpsman, John draws from many years of experience in surgery and general sick bay treatment.

What Is a Canker Sore?

Canker sores, medically termed apthae, are small, white, swollen, and painful ulcers inside the mouth. Mouth ulcers may appear on the tongue, throat, lips, or roof of the mouth (also known as the soft palate). The medical term for the condition is Aphthous stomatitis. Since these ulcers may be a symptom of another disease, it is advised to see a doctor if the sores continue to reappear.

The condition is marked by benign and non-contagious ulcers, and occurs in healthy individuals. These sores can make eating and drinking difficult.

Dentists categorize canker sores into three categories:

  1. Minor canker sores (small in size)
  2. Major cankers sores (large in size)
  3. Herpetiform cankers sores (multiple; in groups or clusters)

The base of an ulcer is generally red and inflamed. Sometimes, the white portion of the sore can have a yellow center. It is common to feel a tingling or burning sensation a day or two before the appearance of the sore.

Most cankers heal themselves. The condition can last for a week to a month, but the average healing time is 7-10 days. Prescription medication is often used for mouth ulcers that the body cannot resolve on its own.

Q: How did the monster cure her canker sore?

A: She spent all day rinsing and gargoyling.

Source

Precaution

None of these remedies have been reviewed by a scientific board. They are natural home remedies. Due to the risk of allergy and adverse reactions, consult with a physician first. These substances may interact with certain medications. Understand the limitations of self-treatment.

Home Remedies for Canker Sores

  • Yogurt: Yogurt is made from fermented bacteria, which may help balance the bacteria in your mouth. This presumes that an imbalance of bacteria is the cause of ulcers.
  • Saltwater: Saltwater has astringent properties and can draw liquid out of the ulcer. By reducing swelling, you are less likely to irritate the sore when eating or talking; salt has antiseptic properties.
  • Honey: Honey can reduce inflammation and heal the skin. Honey contains beneficial enzymes that can deactivate microbes. To use honey, follow the directions below:
  1. Mix one teaspoonful of honey with one-quarter teaspoon of tumeric powder to make a paste (tumeric is an anti-inflammatory).
  2. Leave the paste on the sore for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Rinse with water, and do this twice a day.

Honey is a natural remedy that can help relieve and reduce canker sores.
Honey is a natural remedy that can help relieve and reduce canker sores. | Source
  • Ice: Some folks apply ice directly to the spot where the tingling starts. Applying ice to the canker sore directly reduces pain and swelling. There are claims that ice can stop an ulcer from developing or getting worse.
  • Plum juice: Plum juice is said to be helpful.
  1. Swish around two teaspoons of plum juice for at least 3 minutes.
  2. Dip a cotton ball in the juice and press it directly on the sore.
  • Grapefruit seed: Grapefruit seed extract is also beneficial. Mix it in a glass of water and rinse once daily. Note: Citrus can cause cankers (this is grapefruit seed extract).
  • Peppermint: Peppermint promotes healing, decreases inflammation, and has numbing and cooling properties that help with the pain. Prepare peppermint tea for gargling, or just to sip and soothe your mouth.
  • Coconut oil and beeswax: Coconut oil can be used to treat mouth ulcers. Dip a finger in the oil, and rest it on the sore. You can use a cotton swab if you choose. Beeswax will coat the sore and keep it from hurting when the sore is rubbed. Beeswax can be particularly helpful if you have dental appliances in your mouth. Melt one tablespoon of beeswax and two teaspoons of coconut oil for pain relief and protection. Apply a blob to the affected area.

Tannic acid in tea works as an astringent that will dry a canker sore and result in less pain and inflammation.
Tannic acid in tea works as an astringent that will dry a canker sore and result in less pain and inflammation. | Source
  • Aloe vera: Aloe vera has strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and analgesic properties. I have a plant in my yard and use it for ulcers and sunburns. If you are going to cut the plant, cut a leaf diagonally—you'll get a bit more out of it. Squeeze the leaf, and apply the gel to the sore. Repeat as often as you like. You can also purchase food-grade aloe vera gel at grocery stores, health food stores, or drug stores. Take 2 tablespoons twice a day.
  • Coriander: Coriander can be used on cankers, also. Coriander has anti-fungal properties. Use as follows:
  1. Place leaves in 8 ounces of water and boil.
  2. After boiling, drain the water and use it as a mouthwash.
  3. Use 3 or 4 times a day.
  • Tannic acid: Tannic acid is an astringent that will dry a canker sore and result in less pain and inflammation. A used tea bag that has been refrigerated can be used to reduce discomfort. Take the cold, moist tea bag, and press it on the sore for a few minutes. This can be done 2-3 times a day.
  • Sage leaves: Steep sage leaves in 2 cups of water for at least 15 minutes, and use the water as a rinse as often as you like. Smashing the leaves into a pulp makes a poultice. You can place the poultice on the sore for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not ingest.
  • Licorice root: Licorice contains glycyrrhizin. Extract purchased at the market can shrink the size of the ulcer and promote faster healing. Use as follows:
  1. Add one tablespoon of ground licorice to 2 cups of water.
  2. Let the brew sit for at least an hour.
  3. Use as a rinse. Do not ingest.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile tea bags, when applied to the sore, can provide relief. People with plant allergies in the Asteraceae family, may have a sensitivity to chamomile.
  • Lady's mantle: The herb, lady's mantle, can be smashed up and combined with glycerin. This gel can be applied 3 times a day.

Source

When to See a Doctor

Consider seeing a doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • sores last longer than 2 weeks
  • sores are larger than a dime
  • you have difficulty eating or drinking
  • you experience a sore throat and inflammation
  • you have a fever

Causes of Canker Sores

There are many factors that cause mouth ulcers; studies show that they are not transmitted by sexual contact. One theory suggests that the condition is an immune response associated with triggered T cells (T lymphocytes). Biopsies have shown that the sores are mainly composed of T cells.

Even though most researchers support the theory that mouth ulcers are caused by the immune system turning on the body, the condition is not like other autoimmune diseases. No correlation has been found between the condition and other autoimmune diseases. Common antibodies that are present in autoimmune diseases are not present in Aphthous stomatitis. Instead, T cells invade tissue when triggered, but the trigger has yet to be identified.

Recurring mouth sores can be frustrating, but the condition is said to resolve with age. Trying to cheer up those affected by the condition seems fruitless, but here's a try:

Foods That Can Trigger Canker Sores

 
 
 
Chocolate
Nuts
Spicy food
Strawberries
Cheese
Shellfish
Coffee
Eggs
Acidic foods
Abrasive foods can cause cankers.

Common Triggers of Canker Sores

  1. Small injuries to the mouth can trigger an ulcer. Examples include dental injuries, brushing, biting your cheek, or a blow to the mouth.
  2. Sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste and mouthwash may result in cankers.
  3. Any abrasive food can be a culprit. I get mouth sores if I eat tomatoes or walnuts.
  4. Some bacteria in the mouth can result in cankers.
  5. Hormonal changes and stress are reported as precipitates.
  6. Inflammatory diseases or a malfunctioning immune system are commonly believed to be associated with mouth ulcers.
  7. Cankers can come about after HIV/AIDS infection.
  8. A vitamin B-12, folic acid, zinc, or iron deficiency may result in mouth ulcers.
  9. Cigarette smoking can cause mouth sores.

Conclusion

Canker sores are not only painful, but they frequently disrupt our daily routines such as drinking our go-to morning coffee. To boot, eating a piece of toast can be torture. 25% of us suffer from cankers on occasion, and we endure the discomfort for one to two weeks. Luckily, several of the aforementioned home remedies can make the experience a little less uncomfortable.

How often do you get canker sores?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 John R Wilsdon

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, remedygrove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://remedygrove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)