Home Remedies for a Canker Sore

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canker sore home remedies

Have you ever eaten something and the hardness, crunchiness, saltiness or acidity irritated the inside of your mouth? Many ignore these signs for a while until they finally catch sight of an unattractive, disturbing oral sore while looking in the mirror. Although it looks pretty intimidating, canker sores are not a life-threatening or serious occurrence. Canker sores are not contagious; meaning you can still kiss your sweetie without passing on the pain, but let’s help you out all the same with some good folk home remedies for a canker sore.

What Are Canker Sores?

Canker sores, (also known as aphthous ulcers or aphthous stomatitis), are small lesions that form in the inside of the mouth, lips, cheeks, throat, and even the tongue [1]. Despite their appearance, canker sores shouldn’t be confused with cold sores or fever blisters, which are associated with the herpes simplex virus. Canker sores may appear as one or develop in clusters. As previously stated, they are not contagious and often heal without treatment between 7-14 days.

Symptoms of Canker Sores

While the main symptoms and signs regarding canker sores are the sore itself and the pain that accompanies it, there are additional details to consider. Below are a few things to expect when canker sores strike:

a) The Size:

Canker sores are round in shape and can vary in size, ranging from about 1/4 inch (or 6 millimeters) to 1 inch (or 25 millimeters) [1]. This means you could have a sore on the inside of your mouth from the size of a corn kernel to the size of a quarter.

b) The Color:

Canker sores swell in size and eventually burst, leaving behind a white or yellow appearance with a red border.

c) The Feeling:

While it takes close to two weeks for a canker sore to fully heal, pain is a definite symptom. Often, the worst of it is experienced during the first 3-4 days of its development. A tingling or burning sensation almost always occurs.

d) Uncommon Symptoms:

In some cases, people may experience a fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and/or feel under the weather.

Causes and Risk Factors

While no one is sure of the exact cause of canker sores, there seems to be a few factors that put people more at risk. Below you will find a few reasons why people may develop canker sores:

a) Heredity:

Even though canker sores aren’t contagious, in some cases, it is believed that the condition can be passed along the family tree. For example, a mother who often develops canker sores has a 90% chance of passing this vulnerability onto her offspring.

b) Poor Diet and Nutritional Deficiencies:

When a person doesn’t get enough folic acid, vitamin B12, and iron in their diet, they run the risk of developing canker sores. Food allergies have also been known to trigger the sores.

c) Weak Immune System:

Those who experience numerous canker sore outbreaks may suffer from a weakened immune system. Paying a visit to the doctor is recommended.

d) Mouth Injuries:

If you bite the inside of your lip or brush too hard, you’re asking for trouble in the oral department. The inside of the mouth is rather delicate and any damage can set off the development of a canker sore.

e) Emotional Stress:

It is believed that stress causes canker sores in a handful of people.

f) Age:

Although canker sores can strike anyone, it seems that younger individuals in their teens and early twenties get them the most.

g) Gender:

On the average, women are two times more likely to suffer from canker sores than men. This may have something to do with their menstrual cycles, where the start of their period has been known to trigger canker sore activity.

Home Remedies for a Canker Sore

Although a doctor may prescribe a topical steroid to treat canker sores, treatments are really unnecessary [2]. Canker sores usually heal without medication within 7-10 days. During this time, a person will often turn to home remedies to ease the irritation and discomfort that the sores bring with them. Below are a few home remedies for a canker sore to consider when you wish to avoid the use of over-the-counter drugs:

a) Homemade Rinses:

You can create a homemade solution that is used four times per day to reduce the discomfort associated with canker sores. The most popular and effective home remedy for canker sore rinses use ingredients, such as hydrogen peroxide, salt, and baking soda. Individuals may find relief when combining 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide with 2 ounces of water. Another canker sore home remedy mixes 4 ounces of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda [1].


b) Black Tea:

Even doctors agree with placing wet black tea bags on canker sores to ease pain. An astringent called tannin is contained within the tea, which reduces discomfort.

c) Myrrh:

You can create a pure myrrh tincture, which is dabbed on canker sores once every hour. This great natural home remedy for a canker sore may also treat mouth and tongue ulcers.

d) Sage:

When creating a sage infusion, you may use as a mouthwash to ease canker sore discomfort.

Canker Sore Prevention

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent canker sores. Once they erupt, they stick around for a little bit and then fade away. If you follow a healthy diet and get enough sleep, you may lessen your chances for suffering a canker sore attack. Stress also affects the onset of canker sores, so perhaps meditation or worrying less could contribute to keeping canker sores at bay. Additional preventive measures include:

a) Avoid Abrasive Foods:

Foods that have an abrasive tendency have a reputation to irritate the insides of the mouth. Potato chips and nuts have been known to cause oral irritation.

b) Avoid Food Irritants:

Protect the delicate nature of your oral cavity by avoiding salty, spicy, and acid-filled fruits and vegetables, such as lemons and tomatoes.

c) Soft Bristle Toothbrushes:

To help break the habit of brushing your teeth too hard, you should purchase a soft bristle toothbrush. Coupled with a hydrogen peroxide or baking soda toothpaste, you may encourage the healthy balance within of your mouth.