Canker sores are one of the most common inflammatory conditions of the mouth, affecting about 20 percent of the general population. Anyone can develop a canker sore; however, women are more likely than men to get them. Canker sores are not contagious and should not be confused with cold sores or fever blisters.
The exact cause of canker sores is not yet known. Some factors that can trigger canker sores are an oral injury, weak immune system, hormonal changes in the body, too much stress, excessive smoking, hereditary factors, certain drugs, anemia, using the wrong oral care products, food allergies and viral infections.
Most canker sores do not require treatment, as they will usually disappear in seven to 10 days. However, you can try some natural remedies to reduce the pain and inflammation and to speed up the healing process.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is an effective natural remedy for canker sores. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and curative properties that help ease the pain and inflammation as well as speed up the healing process.
- Extract the gel from a fresh aloe vera leaf and apply it directly on the canker sore. Do this several times a day.
- Alternatively, you can rinse your mouth with fresh aloe vera juice about three or four times a day.
- You can also take at least two tablespoons of aloe vera gel three times a day for quick results.
Note: If you do not have an aloe vera plant, you can buy the gel or juice from the market.
Coriander is one of the best ingredients for treating a canker sore. It contains anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antifungal properties that can effectively help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with canker sores.
- Boil a handful of coriander leaves in a glass of water. Strain the solution and allow the water to cool. Gargle with the lukewarm water at least three or four times a day.
- Boil one cup of water and add one teaspoon of coriander seeds to it. Allow it to sit for some time and then strain it. Rinse your mouth with it three or four times a day.
- You can also drink the juice from fresh coriander leaves several times a day. Instead of drinking the juice all at once, keep it in your mouth for some time so that the juice can do its magic on the affected area.
Honey is an extremely soothing substance and has antiseptic as well as antibacterial properties .
- Apply one teaspoon of honey carefully all around the canker sore. It will hurt for a few minutes, but it will then ease the pain and inflammation. Do this several times a day.
- Mix one teaspoon of honey and one-quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder to make a fine paste. Apply the paste on the affected area and leave it on for a few minutes. Rinse your mouth well with lukewarm water. Repeat the process twice daily.
Salt will help draw the fluid from a canker sore and also speed up the healing process.
- Mix one teaspoon of salt in one cup of lukewarm water and stir it well.
- Use the solution to rinse your mouth. Swish the solution around for at least 30 seconds and then spit it out. This will help disinfect your mouth.
- After completing your rinse, put a pinch of salt directly on the canker sore. It will cause some pain, but it will help a lot in the healing process.
- Repeat the process four or five times a day.
5. Baking Soda
Baking soda is another very effective ingredient that can be used to treat canker sores. It can help neutralize the acidity and soothe the pain and inflammation.
- Add a little water to one teaspoon of baking soda to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area using your fingers or a cotton ball. Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse your mouth with lukewarm water. Do this three or four times a day.
- Alternatively, you can mix two teaspoons of baking soda in a glass of warm water and use it to rinse your mouth. Follow this simple remedy four or five times a day.
You can also use the herb sage to effectively treat canker sores at home. The calming property of sage gives instant relief from the pain and inflammation.
- Add three teaspoons of sage leaves to two cups of boiling water. Allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Let the solution cool to room temperature and then use it to rinse your mouth. Do this three or four times a day.
- Another option is to apply powdered sage leaves directly on the canker sore and leave it on for a few minutes. Repeat this several times a day to get rid of the sore.
7. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that work as effective skin disinfectants to help cure canker sores.
- Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to a glass of water. Use the solution as a mouthwash to rinse your mouth. Do this three or four times a day.
- Alternatively, dilute two drops of tea tree oil in one-half tablespoon of water and apply it directly on the canker sore. Do this two or three times a day.
8. Cayenne Pepper
Another ingredient commonly used in the treatment of canker sores is cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin that can temporarily numb the nerves, giving instant relief from the pain and inflammation.
9. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has antiseptic properties that will help reduce bacteria in your mouth. For treating canker sores, you will need 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, which is easily found in the market.
- Add one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to a glass of water and mix it well. Use this homemade solution to rinse your mouth. Be sure not to swallow it. Do this four or five times a day.
- Mix one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and one teaspoon of water. Use a cotton ball to apply it directly to the sore. Leave it on for some time and then rinse your mouth with water. Do this three or four times a day.
Onions contain sulfur that helps heal canker sores and reduce pain and inflammation.