Canker Sores
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How to Get Rid of Canker Sores; Treatment and Home Remedies

Canker sores are small and painful sores that show up in the lining of the mouth or at the base of the gums. They are also medically known as “aphthous ulcers”. It is often short-lived and fades away within days or weeks, on its own. Canker sores usually start as white or yellowish ulcers [in whatever case] that are surrounded by redness. Initially, they are very small [less than 1mm] but may gradually widen in diameter. 

They can pose pains and discomfort when eating or talking. Unlike a cold sore, they do not occur on the lips, neither are they infectious nor contagious. 


There are few types of canker sores, including:

  • Minor Canker Sores

These show up three or four times a year. They are small lesions that heal in about 7 days with no scars. They measure at 3 to 10 mm.

  • Major Canker Sores

Less common than the minor type, these appear with bigger ulcers that can last more than 14 days. They often heal when they leave scars. They have a diameter greater than 10mm.

  • Herpetiform Canker Sores

These are rare. They have been identified as clusters of tiny ulcers. However, they heal around 7 days. Their ulcer sizes 2 to 3 mm, and maybe as abnormally many as 100 ulcers present at a time. There’s usually no scar after it heals.


It is not discovered, what causes canker sores. Nevertheless, certain situations may lead to the upbringing of canker sores. 

These developers include any of the following outlined below:

  1. Stress.
  2. Mouth injury, likely from sharp tooth or dental appliance.
  3. Some foods like:

Citrus or acidic fruits, such as:

  • Lemon.
  • Lime.
  • Oranges.
  • Grapefruits.
  • Figs.
  • Pomegranates.
  • Pineapples.
  • Strawberries.
  • Vegetables, such as tomatoes.
  1. An allergy to some foods or chemicals in toothpaste or toothbrush.
  2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, as well as certain drugs like aspirin.
  3. Bacteria like helicobacter pylori [that can cause peptic ulcers].

Other conditions that might cause complex canker sores to include:

Underlying health issues, such as:

Gastrointestinal diseases, including:

Nutrition deficiencies, like in:

  • Vitamin B12.
  • Zinc.
  • Folic acid.
  • Iron.
  • Smoking.


The signs of canker sores include the following:

  • A painful sore, or sores, inside your mouth; on your tongue, soft palate [the back portion of the roof of your mouth], or inside your cheeks.
  • A tingling or burning sensation before the appearance of the sores.
  • Sores in the mouth that are round, white [or gray], with a red edge or border.

In severe cases, however, the following indications point out the presence of canker sores:

  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Swollen lymph vessels.
  • Weight loss.


Canker sores appear to be among the most common types of oral lesions [sores in the mouth] affecting about one out of every five [1:5] people in the world today. 

Women get canker sores more often than men, perhaps because of hormonal changes. They can be transmitted through the bloodline of families. In individuals with weakened immune systems or gastrointestinal disorders, a higher rate of canker sores may occur. 

Other risk factors include a deficiency in certain specific vitamins and minerals, candidates of organ transplants, as well as those with HIV/AIDS, who are at high risk.


It is highly recommended that you contact your doctor [or dentist] if your canker sores are:

  • Larger than usual.
  • Spreading over your gum and the lining of your mouth.
  • Lasting more than three weeks.
  • Causing severe pains even after taking over-the-counter pain relief medications.
  • Causing undue difficulty drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Accompanied by fever.


Treatment of canker sores often involves the use of topical prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. They include:

  • Gel

Gels such as Benzocaine (Orajel, Orabase) and Lidocaine (an anesthetic) are used directly on canker sores. 

  • Canker Sore Patches (Canker Cover)

These provide pain relief while covering and protecting the sore as it heals.

  • Topical Anti-inflammatory Medications

These include steroid medications such as Triamcinolone acetonide or Fluocinonide.

  • Topical Antibiotics

These are used only when the sore becomes infected with bacteria. Signs of infection are redness, crusting, pus discharge, and/or fever.

  • Zinc Lozenges

This can help to provide relief and speed up healing. Lozenges should not be given to young children because of the risk of choking.

  • Mouthwash

These are also used to treat canker sore symptoms. They include:

  • Diphenhydramine Suspension (Benadryl Allergy Liquid); put the suspension in your mouth, swish it around for 30-60 seconds, and spit it out.
  • Anti-inflammatory Steroid Mouth Rinses; reduces inflammation of the sore.
  • Tetracycline Antibiotic Rinses; relieve pains and promote healing. (Not to be used by pregnant women, people allergic to tetracycline, or a child under 16 years of age.)

Tips On How To Get Rid Of Canker Sores

What natural or home remedies can cure canker sores?

Home remedies can be used to help relieve the pain and inflammation of canker sores. In most cases, they do not require any treatment, and nothing specific needs to be done to get rid of canker sores because typically they will go on their own.

If you are presently suffering from canker sores, there are home remedies that you can use to help relieve the pain or irritation caused by the sore and to speed up healing. They include:

  1. Topical medications applied directly on the sores such as mouthwashes and oral medications which give relief to pain or inflammation.
  2. Drop ice chips in your mouth and allow them to dissolve slowly in your mouth for relieving pain.
  3. Avoid acidic foods that may worsen the sore such as citrus fruits and spicy foods.
  4. Do not apply pressure when brushing your teeth. Use a brush with soft bristles.
  5. Use toothpaste and mouthwash free of sodium lauryl sulfate.
  6. If you have any vitamin deficiency (confirm from your doctor), take supplementation as prescribed.
  7. Mix milk of magnesia with Benadryl liquid and use it as a mouth rinse. Also, you can dab (do not rub) milk of magnesia directly into the canker sore with a cotton swab.
  8. Rinse your mouth with saltwater or baking soda rinse. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda in ½ cup of water and rinse.
  9. Vitamin C, vitamin B complex, and Lysine can be taken orally when lesions first appear and may help speed healing.
  10. Infuse sage and chamomile herbs in water and use as a mouthwash four to six times daily.
  11. The herb, Echinacea, may help speed healing.
  12. Carrot, celery, and cantaloupe juices may also be helpful.

Consult a health care professional before using any home remedy as many have not been scientifically tested or proven effective.


  • What gets rid of canker sores fast?

To help relieve pain and speed healing of canker sores, consider these tips:

  • Rinse your mouth using saltwater or baking soda rinse.
  • Dab a small amount of milk of magnesia on the canker sore a few times daily.

Repeat this for some days.

  • Can put salt directly on canker sores help?

Salt is one of the natural healing methods for oral health problems. Salt can help reduce the size and pain of a canker sore within the first 24 hours because it inhibits dental bacteria and helps the sore heal. However, it more advisable to perform a saltwater rinse than putting salt directly on the sore.

  • How long do canker sores last?

Canker sores may be swollen and painful. Having a canker sore gives discomfort and can make it hard to talk or eat. Canker sores may hurt for 7 to 10 days. Minor canker sores heal completely in 1 to 3 weeks, but major canker sores can take up to 6 weeks to heal. Taking helpful treatment may help speed up the healing process.

  • What causes canker sores in the mouth?

Stress or minor injury to the inside of the mouth is thought to be the cause of simple canker sores. Certain foods including citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables such as lemon, oranges, pineapples, apples, figs, tomatoes, strawberries, etc. are likely to trigger a canker sore or make the problem worse.

  • Why is my canker sore not going away?

Some cases of complex canker sore are caused by an underlying health condition such as impaired immune system or nutritional deficiencies involving vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron. Other medical conditions like gastrointestinal tract disease, celiac disease, or Crohn’s disease could also be the cause.