Unlike cold sores, canker sores don’t occur on the surface of your lips and they aren’t contagious. They can be painful, however, and can make eating and talking difficult.
Home Remedy for Canker Sores
1. Alum powder
Alum powder is made from potassium aluminum sulfate. It’s often used to preserve food and to pickle vegetables. Alum has astringent properties that may help shrink tissues and dry out canker sores.
- Create a paste by mixing a tiny amount of alum powder with a drop of water.
- Dab the paste onto a canker sore.
- Leave on for at least 1 minute.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly.
- Repeat daily until your canker sore is gone.
2. Baking soda rinse
Baking soda is thought to restore pH balance and reduce inflammation, which may heal canker sores.
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 cup of water.
- Swirl this solution in your mouth for 15 to 30 seconds, then spit it out.
- Repeat every few hours as needed.
Baking soda won’t harm you if swallowed, but it’s super salty, so try to avoid doing so.
Honey is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities. Honey is effective in reducing canker sore pain, size, and redness. It also may help prevent a secondary infection.
To use, apply honey to the sore four times daily.
All honey isn’t created equal. Most honey found at your grocery store is pasteurized at high heat, which destroys most nutrients. Unpasteurized, unfiltered honey, like Manuka honey, is less processed and retains its healing properties.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has antimicrobial abilities. It may cure canker sores caused by bacteria and prevent them from spreading. Coconut oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory and may help reduce redness and pain. It tastes great too!
To use, generously apply coconut oil to the sore. Reapply several times per day until your canker sore is gone.
5. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide promotes healing of a canker sore by cleaning the sore and reducing bacteria in your mouth.
- Dilute a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water.
- Dip a cotton ball or cotton swab into the mixture.
- Apply the mixture directly to your canker sore a few times daily.
You can also use diluted hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse. Swish the rinse around your mouth for about a minute, and then spit it out.
6. Sage mouthwash
Sage tea has traditionally been used to treat mouth inflammation. Sage mouthwash works as a general mouth rinse for many oral problems. It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent properties. It may also help relieve pain.
You can find sage mouthwash in most pharmacies and use as directed. Or you can make your own sage rinse:
- Add boiling water to 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh sage leaves.
- Steep for at least 5 minutes.
- Strain and let the solution cool.
- Swish the rinse around your mouth for a couple minutes.
- Swallow the rinse or spit it out.
7. Watermelon frost
Watermelon frost has been considered an effective cure for canker sores in traditional Chinese medicine, though there are no current scientific studies to support this claim. It’s sold as a powder, tablet, and spray. It’s applied directly to the sore for pain relief and quicker healing.