6 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Canker Sores In Your Mouth Or Tongue

Canker sores appear as shallow crater-like ulcers on the tongue or on the inside of the cheek or lip. A typical canker sore has a red boarder and white or yellow center and it may cause pain especially when chewing.

Majority of people experience canker sores at some point in their lives (or regularly in some cases) but unlike cold sores, canker sores cannot be transmitted to other people. So how does one get rid of canker sores in mouth? Let’s start with the basics.


The actual cause is unknown but some conditions have been known to encourage canker sores. The following conditions can lead to canker sores in your mouth:

  • Extreme stress
  • During menstrual cycle- in the case of women
  • Trauma to the mouth- or other injury such as from biting inner cheek or lip
  • Braces
  • Some food allergies
  • Acidic foods or drinks
  • Malnutrition and lack of essential vitamins including folic acid and Vitamin B12

How To Get Rid Of Canker Sores In Your Mouth Or Tongue

You don’t need to see a doctor for most canker sores- they go away on their own. You can however, apply any number of things on the ulcer to relieve pain or expedite the healing process. The following are safe, natural home remedies that you can use to treat mild symptoms and get rid of the sores.

canker sores on tongue

1.) Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera contains natural anti-inflammatory properties that help minimize puffiness and also speed up healing. Apply the jell directly on the canker sore a few times a day or rinse the mouth with aloe juice at least three times a day.

2.) Coriander

Coriander is surprisingly effective at managing canker sores. It has natural antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that alleviate discomfort and boost healing. To apply, use any of the following methods:

  • Boil a small amount of coriander leaves and strain the solution. Wait till lukewarm and gargle the water three times a day.
  • Add a teaspoon of coriander seeds to hot-boiled water and let it sit for a while and then strain the water. Use the water to rinse your mouth a few times a day.
  • Make fresh juice from coriander seeds and drink a few times a day for the same effect. Sip casually to allow the juice to rest in the mouth longer.

3.) Salt

Salt is effective at drawing the fluid inside the canker sore to speed up the healing process. To apply, mix one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and stir. Rinse your mouth with the solution and swish it around in your mouth for about 60 seconds and then spit it out. Repeat this process three or four times a day and after each rinse, put a tiny pinch of salt directly on the ulcer to draw the fluid- it will hurt but it helps a lot.

canker sores pictures

4.) Baking soda

Baking soda is ideal for neutralizing acidity from the sores as well as minimizing inflammation. To apply, mix a little water with a teaspoonful of baking soda to make a paste. Apply this paste directly to the canker sore and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing your mouth with warm water.

Alternatively, add a teaspoonful of baking soda to a glass of warm water, stir and use it to rinse your mouth a few times a day.

5.) Honey

If food is causing you major irritation perhaps you could try a natural soothing substance like honey. Use just one teaspoonful of honey and apply all around the area. It will sting a bit but the pain and inflammation will subside within a few minutes.

Alternatively, mix a small amount of honey with turmeric powder to make a paste. Apply this paste directly on the area and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing your mouth. Do this at least twice daily for greater effect.

6.) Sage

This is a natural herb that you can use for the calming effect to provide instant relief from pain and inflammation. Boil three teaspoons of sage in a cup and allow it to cool to room temperature and then use the liquid to rinse your mouth a few times a day. You can also apply powdered sage directly on the affected area and leave it for a few minutes, before finally rinsing your mouth with warm water.

Managing pain and discomfort

Canker sores make it difficult to eat acidic or spicy foods so avoid harsh foods and stick to mild ingredients such as those found in dairy products.

  • Cut your food into small, manageable pieces and drink cold fluids such as iced tea. If the drink causes stinging pain try sipping out of a straw and hold an ice cube on the canker sore until it goes numb.
  • Brush your teeth lightly using a soft-brittle toothbrush and avoid touching the open sore directly as that may cause sharp pain and even bleeding.
  • Take a pain-reliever such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or other non-steroidal medicine when the pain becomes intense.

Will I catch a canker sore?

  • Anyone can get canker sores but women, teens and young adults are more vulnerable. If after two weeks of trying these steps at home the ulcer doesn’t go away, there could be another problem so visit your doctor before attempting to use any other medicine.

  • If in the past certain foods caused canker sores in your mouth or tongue, avoid those foods and also keep away from dry foods such as bread crusts or potato chips as they may sting the open sore. Alcohol and tobacco are to be avoided as well because they contribute to stress and will interfere with the healing process.

  • Proper nutrition is important in fighting canker sores. Always include enough iron and vitamins in your diet- such as folic acid, zinc, iron, and Vitamin B12. Try these tips the next time you see a canker sore appearing in your tongue or mouth and make sure to protect the soft tissues in your mouth from harsh foods or hot drinks because that may cause sores to appear.
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