What are the Best Tips for Treating Canker Sores?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 23 January 2020
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Treating canker sores may include home remedies or may involve the use of canker sore medication. Some of the most popular canker sore home remedies include coating the sore with Milk of Magnesia or yogurt several times per day. Treating canker sores with medication may also be done with topical pain relievers or prescription medications.

Also known as an aphthous ulcer, a canker sore is a mouth sore that is not derived from a viral infection. An open sore in the mouth can be quite painful, particularly when eating or drinking. While an oral sore will usually heal on its own, the pain associated with canker sores prompts many to long for fast relief. Many have successfully used home remedies with success and reduced the amount of time that a sore is present in the mouth.

Treating canker sores goes beyond applying ingredients to soothe the open sore, but also involves the avoidance of substances that may irritate the sore. When sores are present, therefore, individuals should avoid all acidic drinks, spicy or acidic foods and any abrasive foods that may irritate a mouth sore. Keeping a sore as clean as possible throughout the day is also important. Rinsing the mouth several times per day with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water can help with this effort.


Applying Milk of Magnesia or Maalox to an open sore is one of the most popular home remedies for treating canker sores. Such may have to be performed several times per day, but coating a sore with one of these substances brings soothing relief, calms inflammation, neutralizes acids affecting the sore and helps canker sores heal faster. Similar remedies using an antacid tablet or coating a mouth sore with plain, unsweetened yogurt are also effective methods of treating canker sores at home.

Rinsing the mouth with lukewarm tea or Gly-Oxide, which is available over the counter, is sometimes useful in treating canker sores. A wet teabag may also be held in position over the canker sore throughout the day for soothing relief and to promote faster healing. Individuals experiencing intense mouth pain may also combine these remedies with the use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen pain relievers, which can also be purchased without a prescription.

Baking soda and water is also widely celebrated as an effective remedy for treating canker sores. Individuals who use this remedy simply rinse the mouth several times per day with baking soda and water, and claim that sores are sometimes healed within a matter of hours. Some people have even reported completely suppressing recurring canker sore outbreaks by daily rinsing the mouth with baking soda or using baking soda toothpaste for brushing teeth.



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