18 Quick and Simple Home Remedies to Relieve Canker Sores

You know when you have one and cherish the times when you don’t… Yes, we are talking about those pesky canker sores that make it painful to eat and chat. (And who wants that?) But not only can these 18 canker sore remedies be completed conveniently in the comfort of your own home, but are quick, simple and painless!

What Are Canker Sores? 

Also known as aphthous ulcers, canker sores are small, shallow ulcers that develop on the soft tissues of the mouth or base of the gums. Although often confused with cold sores, canker sores are not contagious but an undoubted naissance to manage, can be quite painful and irritating, and make it difficult to eat and talk until they disappear. And while most canker sores go away on their own within a week or two and treatment tends to be unnecessary, these canker sore remedies can ease their peskiness in the meantime!

18 Canker Some Home Remedies

1. Salt Water

Whereas touted as a slightly painful canker sore home remedy, salt water mouth rinses are a common practice to dry out the sore. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a ½ cup of water then swirl solution in the mouth for up to 30 seconds. Spit the mixture out and repeat every few hours.

2. Baking Soda

This canker sore remedy is comparable to the salt water mouth rinse, but is further thought to balance pH and reduce inflammation. Instead of salt, simply swap it with 1 teaspoon baking soda and dissolve into ½ cup water. Swish around for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat as needed.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

The antiseptic properties of hydrogen peroxide make it useful for limiting bacteria and combatting against an infection. Mix equal ratios of hydrogen peroxide and water and dab the mixture onto the sore using a cotton swab.

4. Ice

Allowing ice chips to dissolve slowly over the sore can offer quick pain relief!

5. Milk of Magnesia

Along with its predominant role in treating constipation, upset stomach, and heartburn, milk of magnesia is a promoted canker sore remedy. Just dab a small amount on the canker sore daily.

6. Aloe Vera

While mostly known to soothe a sunburn, aloe may also speed healing and offer soothing pain relief to canker sores. Dry the canker sore area with a cotton swab, slice open an aloe leaf, and the aloe gel directly on the sore.

7. Honey

In a 2014 study, honey was found to be effective and safe in reducing minor aphthous ulcer pain and size; so apply a local, unpasteurized honey onto the sore a few times a day.

8. Vitamin B12

Diets low in vitamin B12 (and folate and vitamin B6) have shown to increase the risk of canker sores. A study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found “Vitamin B12 treatment, which is simple, inexpensive, and low-risk, seems to be effective for patients suffering from RAS (recurring aphthous stomatitis) regardless of the serum vitamin B12 level.”

9. Zinc Lozenges

Zinc is required for the body’s immune system to function at its prime, so zinc lozenges may help provide relief and speed up healing time.

10. Tums

Commonly found in the household’s medicine cabinet to relieve stomach indigestion, Tums can also alleviate canker sores. Since sores are provoked by acids and digestive enzymes, munching on a chewable Tums tablet or dissolving one over the sore can neutralize the irritating acids. 

11. Tea Bags

Being alkaline, tea can neutralize the acids that irritate the sore. Apply a damp tea bag to the canker sore for five minutes to feel some relief.

12. Sage

Sage is touted to kill off bacteria and relieve inflammation and gargling with an herbal mouth rinse may speed up recovery time. To make the rinse, simply steep a couple teaspoons into a cup of boiling water. After allowing it to cool, rinse and gargle the sage mixture a few times each day.

13. Echinacea

Along with treating the common cold, the antiviral and immune-enhancing properties of echinacea make it an effective herbal, canker sore home remedy to speed up its healing.

Additional Considerations:

14. Avoid Certain Foods

Citrusy, spicy, and salty foods can aggravate and irritate the sore, so it is best to avoid their intake for the time being. 

15. Gently Brush Teeth

While the canker sore houses itself, good oral hygiene must live on! Gently brush the teeth and use toothpaste and mouthwash devoid of sodium lauryl sulfate. 

16. Wear Appropriate Mouth Gear

Especially if playing contact sports, use appropriate mouth gear to prevent against abrasion.

17. Head to the Medicine Cabinet

Applying commonly stocked over-the-counter (OTC) mouth rinses and oral gels can alleviate pain and inflammation.

18. Reduce Stress

With stress being a culprit for canker sores, reduce it by practicing stress-relieving techniques, including taking a walk, calling a friend, or meditating.