Almost everyone experiences a canker sore in their lifetime.
These annoying mouth ulcers make talking and eating painful and difficult, but they’re often viewed as being unavoidable and incurable: you simply have to wait for them to heal on their own.
But what if you wanted to speed up the healing process? There are actually many home remedies to help heal your canker sore quickly. But first, you have to understand what triggered them in the first place.
What Are Canker Sores?
Unlike cold sores, canker sores don’t occur on the surface of your lips and they aren’t contagious.
Most canker sores are round or oval with a white or yellow center and a red border. They form inside your mouth — on or under your tongue, inside your cheeks or lips, at the base of your gums, or on your soft palate. (source)
There are two types of canker sores (1):
- Simple canker sores that appear 3-4 times a year and last up to a week. They typically occur childhood and adolescence.
- Complex canker sores which are reoccurring and somewhat unpredictable.
Common triggers include (2,3):
- Food triggers : acidic foods, coffee, chocolate or spicy foods
- Stress : Emotional stress and hormonal imbalance.
- Injury : biting your tongue or cheek,or injury from brushing or flossing
- Smoking : Canker sores may appear even years after you quit.
- Nutritional deficiency : including vitamin B-12, zinc, folate (folic acid) or iron.
Most canker sores are harmless and go away on their own. However, you should call your dentist or naturopath if you have (4):
- Unusually large sores.
• Sores that are spreading.
• Sores that last 3 weeks or longer.
• Intolerable pain despite avoiding trigger foods and taking over-the-counter pain medication.
• Difficulty drinking enough fluids.
• A high fever with the appearance of the canker sores.
Here’s a list of 5 effective home remedies to heal canker sores faster:
1. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile’s active compound, bisabolol, is traditionally used to treat inflammations of the skin and mucous membranes, and for various bacterial infections of the skin, oral cavity and gums (5).
To use, sip on chamomile tea before bed or apply a high quality organic tea bag directly on the sore in the morning.
Honey has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compounds that help speed along the healing of surface wounds and ulcers (6).
Simply take a teaspoon of raw organic honey before bed and after every meal.
3. Salt Water
Salt will kill any bad bacteria that’s festering in your ulcer. In the morning, mix 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt into 1 cup of warm water. Swish it around for 30 seconds, then spit it out. Repeat after every meal.
In the evening, drink warm lemon water about 2 hours before bed. You canker sore should be nearly vanished by the time you wake up.
In addition to its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera contains amino acids and B1, B2, B6 and C vitamins, which help promote healing and reduces pain (7).
Using fresh aloe gel, make a mouth rinse by diluting a teaspoon of the gel into a cup of water. Swish it around your mouth for two minutes and do not rinse.
You can also use a cotton swab to apply aloe gel directly unto the canker sore. Leave it on for 1 to 2 minutes and repeat 4-5 times a day until fully healed.
Yogurt containing active acidophilus cultures can be beneficial and immensely effective in prevention and cure of stubborn cold sores, even those unresponsive to conventional treatment (8).
Bonus Tip : Change Your Toothpaste
Toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate are known to cause cancer sores in some people (2). Instead, opt for an all-natural toothpaste or make your own.