Home Remedies for Canker Sores

Tongue ulcers can be very painful. However, they can be cured with treatment and some basic care.
Home Remedies for Canker Sores
Nelton Abdon Ramos Rojas

Written and verified by the doctor Nelton Abdon Ramos Rojas.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Canker sores are small but painful ulcers. They’re usually colorless and, in the worst cases, they look yellowish, with a red border.

They can be caused by allergies or viral infections, but also due to bites and eating extremely hot, spicy, salty, or acid foods, among other things.

Other causes

  • Stress.
  • Allergies.
  • Smoking.
  • Viral infections.
  • Hormonal imbalances.
  • Consuming certain medications.
  • Accidentally biting yourself.
  • Vitamin deficiencies (B12, folic acid).

They may appear in:

  • Almost anywhere in your mouth.
  • Inside your lips.
  • On the inside of your cheeks.
  • On your gums.
  • At the roof of your mouth.
  • On your tongue.

Home remedies for canker sores

You must be patient and wait for the sores to heal, while following your doctor’s instructions. If you try to speed up the healing process, you could aggravate the problem.

Along with the treatment prescribed by your doctor, you can resort to the following home remedies to cure canker sores.

1. Warm water and salt

This is one of the best ways to quickly get some relief from canker sores, as salt has antiseptic properties that help prevent infection and reduce inflammation.


  • 3 tablespoons of salt (30 g).
  • 4 cups of water (1 liter).

What to do

  • Add the water and salt to a pot and mix until dissolved.
  • Heat until it boils and then remove from heat.
  • Store the mixture in a bottle and let it cool.
  • Gargle with it for at least a minute, spitting it out at the end.
  • You should gargle at least four times a day to see results as soon as possible.

2. Ice

A woman applying ice for her canker sores.

Ice can provide instant relief from sores, reducing inflammation in the affected area. How to reap its benefits? All you have to do is hold an ice cube directly to the canker sores for a few seconds.

Wait for the area to numb up and your pain to disappear. Repeat as necessary (with rest periods so you don’t burn your tongue).

It’s also advisable to drink cold water when you have canker sores.

4. Chamomile

Rinsing and gargling with a warm chamomile infusion can help you get some relief, since chamomile has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.


  • 1 glass of water (200 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon of chamomile (10 g)

What to do

  • Heat the water until it boils and then add the chamomile.
  • Let steep for three to five minutes.
  • After this time, remove from heat and let steep for three minutes.
  • Gargle with the tea over the course of the day.
A woman with canker sores.

NOTE: Doctors don’t recommend using baking soda or hydrogen peroxide to gargle or rinse or do any other type of treatment for the oral cavity. They’re very abrasive and poorly suited and can also worsen the problem.

In addition, they also don’t recommend the use of aloe vera for canker sores, since most of the remedies aren’t based on scientific evidence but on popular beliefs.

How to avoid canker sores

These recommendations may help relieve you, at least temporarily, from canker sores:

  • Avoid spicy, acidic, sweet, and hot foods when you have canker sores.
  • Don’t keep touching them; this will just make them heal slower and may cause infection.
  • Drink a lot of cold water to keep the sore cool and reduce the pain.
  • Don’t drink hot drinks while you have canker sores.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene, brushing your teeth several times a day.
  • Use mouthwash when you have sores in order to clear out bacteria and help them go away sooner.
  • Eat bland foods that don’t require much chewing.

As a final recommendation, if several days have passed and none of these recommendations worked for you, we suggest you go to your trusted doctor. They may prescribe medications that will help relieve your symptoms in the best way.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.