12 Home Remedies for Mouth Ulcer That Work

Also called canker sore or aphthous ulcer, mouth ulcer is a small but painful lesion in the mouth, inner cheek, tongue or gums [1, 2].

It is often confused with cold sores, but this one is not contagious, and usually does not require medical treatment. In fact, it can heal on its own within one to two weeks [1].

It also looks quite different. Cold sores are pus-filled blisters while mouth ulcers are open lesions that are enclosed within a white or yellowish ring [3].

The exact cause of mouth ulcer is not known, but in most cases, it is a result of damage or trauma to the lining inside the mouth from poorly fitting dentures, over-brushing, accidental biting of inner cheek or tongue, and so on [2, 3].

Mouth ulcer usually goes away on its own after a few days or weeks, but since it can make eating and talking difficult, you might want to get immediate relief using these natural remedies.

1. Aloe Vera

Abundant in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and saponins, aloe vera has many curative purposes that have been recognized since the ancient times [4].

In dentistry, it is used to treat various types of acute mouth lesions such has herpes sores, mouth corner crackers and mouth ulcers [5].

It does so without leaving a bad taste in your mouth or causing stinging sensation [5].

It has a soothing effect on the gum tissues that that may have been scratched or injured by sharp foods, toothpick, hard foods, or chemicals [5].

According to Chinese researchers, the polysaccharides in aloe vera stimulate the enzyme activities and boost the immunity [5].

In particular, a polysaccharide called glucomannan promotes the activity and spread of growth factor receptors, which in turn, facilitates the production of collagen [5, 6].

In a 2012 study conducted by Iranian scientists, 40 patients with mild mouth ulcer were given either aloe vera gel or placebo [7].

It was found that those who received aloe vera gel had a more significant reduction in the size of wound and pain compared to the other group [7].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 aloe vera leaf

Recommended Directions:

  1. Break the leaf.
  2. Squeeze out the gel.
  3. Apply gel on mouth ulcer.
  4. Do this remedy three times a day until mouth ulcer disappears.

2. Vitamin B12

Nutritional deficiency is bad for the health. As you know, many of the bodily processes heavily rely on our daily intake of nutrients.

Lack of certain vitamins or minerals can also pave the way for the onset of ailments.

Deficiency in vitamin B12 for example is one of the factors that have been linked to mouth ulcers [8].

According to a clinical review performed by American researchers, lower dietary intake of this B vitamin resulted in recurrent cases of canker sore [9].

This review involved 100 subjects who have experienced at least three episodes of mouth ulcer in the last 12 months [9].

Therefore, they recommend sufficient intake of vitamin B12 as a “useful strategy” to reduce frequency and duration of this illness [9].

Similar results were derived from a 2009 study, in which 31 people with recurrent canker sores were given vitamin B12 tablets while 27 people were asked to take a placebo [10].

Those who took vitamin B12 tablets reported of dramatic reduction in the number of ulcers, episode duration and levels of pain [10].

It was concluded that vitamin B12 is a “simple, inexpensive and low-risk” yet effective treatment for those complaining of recurrent aphthous stomatitis [10].

What You’ll Need:

  • Foods rich in vitamin B12

Recommended Directions:

  1. Include in your diet foods that are rich in vitamin B12 such as meat, eggs, poultry and dairy products.
  2. You should also eat foods that are fortified with vitamin B12 such as soy milk and cereals.

3. Peppermint

peppermint-oil-for-cold-soresPeppermint is one of the herbs that’s considered highly useful in dentistry, along with chamomile, rosemary, sage and many others [11].

It’s often used to treat bad breath and other dental issues [11].

Did you know that you can also use peppermint if you can no longer tolerate the pain and discomfort caused by mouth ulcer?

Peppermint can help as it is an antimicrobial that can prevent oral bacteria from infecting the mouth lesion [12].

At the same time, it is rich in phytochemicals that can boost immune defense and prevent recurrence of this problem [12].

It is a widely held belief that when you have a stronger immune system, there are fewer chances of ulcers developing inside your mouth.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix the two oils.
  2. Transfer mixture to a small cup.
  3. Take a small amount from the cup.
  4. Gargle oil mixture for one minute.
  5. Repeat remedy twice daily until canker sores subside.

4. Chamomile

period-cramps-chamomileA cup of chamomile tea can do so much in making you feel better.

When you’re feeling stressed or burnt out, this popular beverage can soothe your senses, and clear your busy mind.

This doesn’t come as a surprise, since its dried flowers have long been used as a sedative and antispasmodic agent [13].

Apart from this, you can also use chamomile to bid goodbye to the problem of mouth ulcer.

In one study, it was reported that chamomile has the ability to reduce size of wound, tone down inflammation, and promote collagen repair in rats suffering from oral ulcers [14].

The oral wounds in the rat subjects healed almost completely in just 10 days [14].

It has a three-fold effect in the treatment of canker sores: it alleviates symptoms and discomfort, speeds up healing, and prevents further infection.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of chamomile leaves
  • 1 cup of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Steep chamomile leaves in hot water.
  2. Let mixture cool.
  3. Strain mixture.
  4. Gargle this three times a day until condition improves.

5. Sage

Sage has always been a go-to solution for various ailments, including canker sore.

This herbal remedy has been proven in scientific research to have significant anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties [15, 16, 17, 18].

This means that it has the ability to alleviate inflammation, which in turn can relieve pain caused by oral lesions.

At the same time, it also blocks the signals of pain in the brain, “numbing” the skin so you don’t get bothered by the ulcers inside your mouth.

All these actions can be attributed to the presence of ursolic acid in sage [15].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 3 teaspoons of sage leaves

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add sage leaves to water.
  2. Allow to steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Let it cool.
  4. Strain the solution.
  5. Use this to rinse your mouth three times daily for one week.

6. Coconut Oil

dry-scalp-coconut-oilCoconut tree won’t be called the “tree of life” without good reason [19].

Almost all of its parts—coconut water, kernel, shell, leaves, oil, and so on—have a practical use in various industries, and even in medicine [20].

Its oil, meanwhile, can cure an array of health problems including oral ulcers.

A 2014 study verifies that virgin coconut oil is an efficient treatment for lesions inside the mouth [21].

Half of the 20 patients who participated were asked to use 0.1 percent triamcinolone acetonide while the second one was given virgin coconut oil [21].

Results show that both methods were effective in healing mouth ulcers, but virgin coconut oil resulted in a quicker reduction of ulcer size and pain relief [21].

That’s not all. Oil pulling with coconut oil has also been proven to be effective in combating bacteria inside the mouth before they cause any harm [22].

If you have oral lesions, you can gargle coconut oil to prevent mouth ulcers from becoming infected.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Gargle coconut oil for one minute.
  2. Rinse mouth with water.
  3. Repeat remedy twice daily for three to four days.

7. Clove Oil

Clove essential oil is made by extracting oil from the dried flower buds of this plant.

For many years, it has been used to accelerate healing and provide pain relief in many types of conditions [23].

Folk healers from Brazil often recommend this oil for controlling oral bacteria that can cause dental problems including infections inside the mouth [24].

Its active compounds have been found potent in killing oral pathogens such as Streptococcus mutans before they infect oral lesions in the inside cheeks or gums [25].

As you know, clove is a popular remedy for toothache, thanks to its analgesic effects.

With this said, it’s safe to assume that clove oil can also help provide relief from pain caused by mouth ulcers.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 drops of clove oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Combine clove oil and olive oil.
  2. Apply a small amount on mouth ulcers.
  3. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing mouth with water.
  4. Follow this procedure once or twice a day for four days.

8. Honey

That sweet thing you add in your lemon juice or pastries?

You can use this to finally stop the annoying problem of canker sores.

This is another one of honey’s countless benefits for the health and skin.

In 2014, a team of researchers from Saudi Arabia report that recurrent cases of canker sores can be treated with application of honey four times a day for five days [26].

The result was a significant reduction in wound size and degree of pain, as well as accelerated healing [26].

Because honey is a proven antibacterial that works well in inhibiting oral bacteria, it can prevent any further infections too [27, 28, 29].

What You’ll Need:

  • Raw honey

Recommended Directions:

  1. Dab a small amount of honey on canker sore.
  2. Wait for five minutes before rinsing with water.
  3. Repeat four times a day for five days.

9. Garlic

Garlic can be found in the list of household remedies for a wide range of ailments.

It’s no wonder it’s also considered a potent cure for canker sore.

This herb has been confirmed in many studies to have inhibitory effects on oral bacteria, which means that it can help curb infection of mouth ulcers [30, 31, 32, 33, 34].

Application of garlic on the mouth ulcer can give a little bit of a stinging sensation but don’t worry, it goes away after a while.

If you are not able to tolerate the pain, you can reduce the amount that you apply on the canker sore.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed

Recommended Directions:

  1. Gently press garlic on canker sore.
  2. Do this for 10 to 15 seconds.
  3. Take a break and gargle water.
  4. Repeat twice daily until canker sore is gone.

10. Yogurt

Yogurt is a healthy snack that everyone should eat more often.

Not only is it rich in nutrients, it is also packed with good bacteria that can maintain or restore balance in the digestive tract.

That’s why, for many years, it has been used to relieve all sorts of digestive ailments and issues.

Now, for those who are complaining of canker sores, yogurt can also come to your rescue.

According to a study done in the New York University College of Dentistry, yogurt is a recommended treatment for common oral lesions including mouth ulcer [35].

Its probiotics make sure that the bad bacteria won’t penetrate inside the wound and cause infection.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of yogurt

Recommended Directions:

  1. Apply yogurt on canker sore throughout the day.
  2. Do this daily until condition improves.

11. Milk of Magnesia

Mostly used as an antacid by those prone to acid reflux and indigestion, and as a remedy for constipation, milk of magnesia can also help relieve canker sores [36].

This liquid suspension made from magnesium hydroxide can help speed up the healing process of the mouth ulcer [36].

It also reduces pain and inflammation of the oral lesions [36].

Often, this technique is recommended after using another popular canker sore remedy, which is hydrogen peroxide [36].

You can also use milk of magnesia on its own.

What You’ll Need:

  • A few drops of milk of magnesia

Recommended Directions:

  1. Use a cotton swab to dab a few drops of milk of magnesia on your canker sores.
  2. Rinse mouth after 15 minutes.
  3. Do this remedy three to four times a day until oral lesions are cured.

12. Echinacea

mucus-echinaceaOne of the herbs frequently used in dentistry is Echinacea [37].

It is often employed as an alternative treatment to many types of oral health problems [37].

For canker sores, Echinacea can help as it is a proven anti-inflammatory agent, as reported in several studies [38, 39, 40].

Because it is also an antibacterial, it can help prevent infection in the oral lesions [40].

It even works on bacterial strains that have grown resistant to antibiotics [40].

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 ml of liquid Echinacea
  • 1/2 cup of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mix Echinacea and warm water.
  2. Gargle this solution for two three minutes.
  3. Repeat procedure three times a day for one to two weeks.

These home remedies will help ease the pain and discomfort caused by canker sores.

And because they require minimal ingredients that are easy to find, you won’t have a hard time putting these natural remedies together.

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