28 Home Remedies for Canker Sores

Nearly everyone will have a canker sore at some point in their life. Canker sores are a type of small ulcer that forms inside of the mouth, usually on the insides of the cheeks or under the tongue; they can appear anywhere on the gums. Unlike cold sores, which appear on the outside of the mouth, canker sores are not contagious.



No one knows exactly why canker sores form. It is suspected that they can be caused by a number of reasons, not just by one thing. Some of the most popular theories/possible causes are listed below. One or more of these factors may be causing your canker sores.

  • Acidic diet
  • Vitamin/mineral deficiencies
  • Bacteria/poor dental hygiene
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Stress
  • Immune system disorders
  • Eating gluten (if you have Celiac Disease)
  • Inflammatory diseases (IBS, Crohn’s Disease, etc.)



Most people can recognize a canker sore when they see or feel one. They are soft bumps on the gums in your mouth. They are usually about the size of a pencil eraser. Canker sores, depending on how irritated they are, can be pink, red, or white in color.

Most canker sores are painful to touch. They are likely to become aggravated when you are eating or drinking, especially when you consume acidic or spicy foods and drinks. Eating very hot foods may also trigger pain in your canker sore.

Luckily, canker sores are usually nothing to worry about. You do not need to see a doctor unless you canker sore last more than two weeks, if you have many at one time, or unless you have a fever. Canker sores usually clear up on their own. Still, you can use these home remedies to work on treating the pain and irritation and to encourage the sores to disappear faster than they would on their own.


Home Remedies for Canker Sores

  1. Good Dental Hygiene

Having good dental hygiene can both help to prevent and treat canker sores. Some of the best practices to keep in mind is to brush your teeth two to three times a day and to floss at least once a day. Using mouthwash, with or without alcohol, can also help.

When you are shopping for toothpaste and other dental supplies, read the ingredient list carefully to ensure that your products do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate, as this may make the canker sores worse.

toothpaste, baking soda, burning mouth

Using a soft-bristled toothbrush can also help

  1. Avoid Acidic Foods and Drinks

Since acidic foods and drinks can both cause canker sores, it is best to avoid them when you already have a canker sore, as these foods and drinks will only make them worse. Avoid drinks like soda, juice, and alcohol. Also, avoid citrus fruits, berries, and candy.


  1. Avoid Spicy Foods

It is best to avoid spicy foods for the same reason you should avoid acidic foods. Avoid peppers and hot spices (cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and chili powder). Avoid these foods for the entire time you have a canker sore and for a few days after it heals.


  1. Baking Soda Rinse

Using a baking soda rinse can help to numb the pain and irritation of a canker sore. To use his home remedy, mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Gargle with this mixture until all of the water is gone. You can use this home remedy as often as needed.


  1. Salt Water Gargle

This home remedy is similar to the baking soda rinse. For this home remedy, simply mix a tablespoon of salt with a cup of water. Use this home remedy in the exact way you would use the baking soda rinse. You can also use this home remedy as often as you like.


  1. Relax

Since stress is one of the possible causes of canker sores, becoming a more relaxed person can help to both treat and prevent canker sores. Find activities you enjoy that can take your mind off stressful situations. Try listening to music, practicing yoga, or meditation to lower your stress levels.

meditation, mindfulness, calm

Try meditating for just a few minutes a day to relax and practice deep breathing

  1. Vitamins B6 and B12

Vitamins B6 and B12 work well alone, but they work even better together! Luckily, there are many foods that contain one or both of these vitamins. Try to add more of the following foods into your diet to prevent and treat canker sores: beef, fish, poultry, chicken, eggs, and dairy products.

Sadly, if you are a vegan, you are going to have to take vitamin supplements instead of getting these vitamins from food sources. When taking vitamin supplements, always make sure to take them as directed on the packaging.


  1. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is full of antioxidants, making it a perfect home remedy for canker sores. There are many foods you can try that are naturally high in vitamin E. Some of these foods include seeds, tree nuts, fish, and avocado. Try to add more of these foods into your diet to make your canker sore heal faster.


  1. Zinc

Like vitamins B6 and B12, taking in enough zinc may be able to both treat and prevent canker sores. One of the best ways to take in this mineral naturally is through eating foods that are rich in zinc. Some foods that are rich in zinc include dark green leafy vegetables, beef, seafood, seeds, garlic, and beans. Try to take in more of these foods when possible.


  1. Milk of Magnesia

Milk of Magnesia can temporarily relieve the symptoms of canker sores. To use this home remedy, simply dip a cotton swab in the Milk of Magnesia. Dab this on your sore. Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse out your mouth. Do this at least once a day to see results.


  1. Ice/ Cold Compress

Cold can help to numb just about any part of the body, including the inside of the mouth. For this home remedy, you can use either ice or a cold compress. To use the ice, you only need to chew on an ice cube or let one slowly dissolve in your mouth. You can do this as often as needed.

To use a cold compress, dip a clean cloth towel in ice-cold water. Hold the towel to your canker sore until it is no longer cold. Do this as often as needed.

ice, burns

Any size ice cube will work for this home remedy

  1. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is great at curing all types of ailments. To use this home remedy, all you need to do is put a dab of aloe vera gel on and around the canker sore. You can use this home remedy as often as needed. It is okay if you swallow the gel.


  1. Black Tea and Tea Bags

Black tea can work in two ways to treat a canker sore. The easiest way to use this home remedy is to simply drink a cup of hot black tea. Adding honey to the tea will make it extra effective. However, do not add lemon juice, as it is too acidic. You can use this home remedy up to three times a day.

Another way to use black tea is to use the tea bags. Place used black tea bags into the refrigerator until they are cold. Once chilled, put the teabag in your mouth. Keep it in your mouth for several minutes. You can also use this home remedy up to three times a day.


  1. Sage Tea

Sage tea is another tea that can help to ease the pain and irritation of canker sores. Like black tea, all you need to do is drink this tea to see results. Drink this tea up to twice a day for the best results.


  1. Licorice Tea

Licorice tea can also help to ease the pain, but licorice candy will not work. Simply drink this tea up to twice a day to get the best results.


  1. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is also effective when it comes to treating canker sores. Like the other teas on this list, all you need to do is drink the tea up to three times a day. As an added bonus, this tea can also be soothing to the nerves, which may help to relieve stress.

Organic Chamomile Tea, 15-pack ($5.49)

  1. Echinacea Tea

Echinacea tea is the last tea on our list, but that doesn’t make it any less effective than any of the other teas in this article. To use this tea, simply drink it up to twice a day to get the best results.


  1. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is great at killing bacteria and germs that may be lingering in your mouth and encouraging your canker sore to stick around. To use this home remedy, mix equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide. Use this as a mouthwash. Try not to swallow the hydrogen peroxide! Use this once a day, every day, until you no longer have a canker sore.


  1. Quit Smoking

Smoking won’t cause canker sores, but it can make it harder for them to heal. If you are a smoker, it is best to quit right away. If you cannot quit forever, at least try to not smoke until your canker sore heals. It is also best to avoid using chewing tobacco for the same reasons.


  1. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds contain many healthy vitamins, making them great at helping to cure your canker sore. Try to add these seeds into your diet. They are tasty in salads.


  1. Basil

Basil is a healthy herb that can also help to treat canker sores. Simply add more basil into your diet. There are several ways to do this. Basil can be added to salads and sandwiches to zest them up. Basil is also the primary ingredient in pesto.

basil, herb, dengue fever

Fresh basil leaves

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt is full of healthy probiotics. They are great for getting rid of any bacteria that may be causing the canker sore. Eating yogurt every day may also be able to prevent canker sores. To use this home remedy, all you need to do is eat a cup of yogurt every day. Any flavor will do!


  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

While apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a bit acidic, it can be useful in treating canker sores when it is diluted in water. To use this as a home remedy, mix a teaspoon of ACV in a cup of water. Gargle this cup one mouthful at a time. It is okay if you accidentally swallow this mixture. It may even help your digestive system! Use this home remedy at least once a day to see results.


  1. Alum

Alum is a helpful powdered product that can help to shrink canker sores. This is because of its helpful astringent properties. To use this home remedy, mix a pinch of alum powder with a drop of water. Put this mixture on your canker sore and let it sit for just a minute. When the time is up, rinse the paste out of your mouth with lukewarm water. Do this once a day to get the best results.


  1. Honey

Honey is one of the many natural cure-alls that are frequently discussed on our website. To use this home remedy, all you need to do is put a dab of honey on the canker sore. You can do this as often as needed. You can also add honey to your tea.


  1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another natural cure-all. Not only is it great for the outside of the mouth for treating chapped lips, but it also helps to cure ailments affecting the inside of the mouth. All you need to do is put some coconut oil on the canker sore.  Alternatively, you can cook with coconut oil to get similar results.

coconut oil, ad, shop

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ($14.97)

  1. Peppermint Oil and Candy

Peppermint is a great home remedy ingredient. Not only can it be used on the skin to cure acne, inside the body to ease stomach aches, but it can also be used to numb canker sores. The first way to use this home remedy is to add peppermint oil to milk or tea. Do not add it to water, as it is not likely to dilute properly. Drink this once a day.

The second way to use this home remedy is to eat peppermint candy. Sucking on hard peppermint candies can help with many ailments, including canker sores and even nausea.


  1. Vitamin C Alternatives

Taking in enough vitamin C may also help your canker sore to shrink faster. However, many foods that are rich in vitamin C are also acidic or spicy, like berries, citrus fruits, and peppers. Luckily, there are some other natural foods that are high in vitamin C, but that won’t hurt your canker sore. Try eating Peas, cauliflower, and dark leafy green vegetables to get in enough vitamin C.

Alternatively, you can instead take vitamin C supplements. If you opt to do this, make sure you take the supplements as directed.

vitamin c, vitamin b12, supplements, canker sores

Always make sure to read the directions before you take supplements

Which of these home remedies are you most likely to use? Comment with your answer below!











Cover image credit to Genppy

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