Last Modified on Aug 19, 2015
Successful home remedies for canker sores include alum, aloe and baking soda. Alternative medicine offers effective natural treatments for these painful and annoying shallow lesions that develop in the soft tissues of the mouth. Even if it’s only the size of a pencil eraser, a canker sore can be hard to handle and treat. Thankfully, though, there are a number of natural home remedies you can use to achieve relief and eradicate this painful condition. A few of our favorite home remedies are apple cider vinegar, alum, and baking soda.
What’s the Difference Between a Canker Sore and a Cold Sore?
To be able to treat a canker sore, you need to know how to determine whether it is a canker sore or a cold sore. A cold sore typically begins as several smaller blisters that grow into one large sore while a canker sore forms individually. Also, a canker sore is typically yellow or white-gray in the center with a red border.
Should I Use Antibiotics?
Many doctors prescribe antibiotics for canker sores, but the problem is that they only offer temporary relief. Additionally, antibiotics can initiate a treatment cycle that makes the sore a recurrent issue. Also, you could become resistant to that antibiotic with repeated use, making it a poor choice to use for a more serious ailment in the future.
How Can I Treat a Canker Sore Naturally?
Natural treatments, on the other hand, actually heal the sore and prevent reoccurrence. Three of the best natural home remedies are apple cider vinegar, alum, and baking soda. These treatments eliminate the cause of the condition and prevent it from returning.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV restores the normal pH in the body, which is one contributing factor to canker sores. Also, ACV carries a number of nutrients that restore health as well. Organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is recommended.
A bitter compound typically found in the spice section, alum helps soothe a canker sore quickly. While you’ll want to rinse the taste out of your mouth, be sure to keep the alum on the sore for at least 2-3 minutes for best results.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda (called sodium bicarbonate outside the USA) offers the same effect as alum. It naturally cleanses the sore and relieves pain. Create a paste using baking soda and water and apply it directly to the sore, leaving it on for 2-3 minutes and then rinsing.
Whether you frequently get canker sores or this is your first experience, try one of these natural treatment options and let us know how it works for you. Continue reading below for many additional canker sore cures reported by our readers!
[YEA] Burning tounge-Mouth issues: When you have burning tongue or canker sores on tongue or in mouth. Do not drink any orange juice, ketchup, sauce etc. The best cure I have found is to rinse your mouth will Karo syrup. It seems to neutralize the acid. Also 2% hydrogen peroxide.
[YEA] A few weeks ago my daugther bit her cheek when chewing. You know how that is...you end up biting the same spot over and over and it is uncomfortable. I know when that used to happen to me, I always ended up with a canker sore. I realized the reason it kept happening is because the mild trauma of having been bitten causes some swelling, so it is easy to keep on biting the same spot. I had my daugther place a charcoal tablet against the spot until the charcoal dissolved. (This actually can take 10 minutes or so.) By the time the charcoal had dissolved, her problem had resolved.
Yesterday, I did the same thing! I bit my cheek and it was irritated. I could feel a little bubble. I put a charcoal tablet on it and let it dissolve. By the time it dissolved, I no longer felt irritation and the bubble was smaller. Within an hour or two, I realized the little bubble was completely gone.
Charcoal is anti-inflammatory, so I think that is why this worked. Charcoal tablets are also good for canker sores, the earlier caught, the better. I suspect this treatment would keep a canker sore from forming where the mouth has had trauma. Too bad I didn't know this long ago, but better late than never!
Have a great day!
~Mama to Many~
[YEA] Aloe Vera is very helpful in the healing process, as is sodium lauryl sulfate elimination.
Replied by jen
corning, NY and Italy
Replied by Jessica
Replied by Mymouthhurts
Edmonds, Wa, Usa
Replied by Holly
Alum Treatment for Canker Sores
Alum, which can be found in the spice rack of your grocery store, can be briefly applied to a canker sore 2-3 times a day to get rid of sores. It will hurt, and you will want to wash the bad taste out of your mouth, but it can be very effective.
|BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS (3)||8%|
|SIDE EFFECTS (2)||5%|
[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS] I literally made an account just so I could share my experience with Alum powder. From what everyone else has been saying, they were on the verge of tears when using it. It is not that bad. I have a cluster of 8 canker sores, and I have NEVER had more than one at the same time. So this was a very odd experience for me to get EIGHT AT FREAKING ONCE. LITERALLY WOKE UP ONE MORNING AND THEY WERE ALL THERE. And yes, I chew at the inside of my lip whenever I'm nervous, anxious, etc. But I never learn. Anyways, I have 4 big ones, surrounded by 4 smaller ones. I used this alum powder on one of the littler ones, just to anticipate the pain so I wouldn't dive right into killing myself over a big one. I got a little bit of water on my fingertip, and then dipped it into the powder, got a fair amount, and then put it right on top of the sore. Yeah, it stung, pretty bad. But I use oral gel soft brush sticks to numb it, and it only hurt just a little bit more than that.
I set a timer on my phone for 2 minutes at first (I did this process twice for each sore), I never got to the point where I was on the verge of tears. My face got a little tingly, that was really it. But it's 10 minutes that I'm typing this after I went through this, and it still quite burns. But I'm only assuming that will go away within the next half hour(or maybe I missed a little tiny sore). After the first sore was taken care of, I got a large glob of it, and stuck it right in the center of alllllll of the sores. Yup. It hurt. But remember this when I say, you will never be able to get rid of a canker sore without pain, unless anesthesia is involved. I then set a timer for 2 and a half minutes, and waited it out. The sores definitely feel a little bit different when I touch around them with my tongue. They didn't burn AT ALL right when I rinsed with water, but only started burning again about a minute after. So that must be the side effects of the powder settling in deep in the sore. Which I also assume is a good thing? Kill that sore, alum. Kill it.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask away. I plan on doing this again tomorrow morning if the pain is still there (which I assume it will be, knowing my luck). So far, alum works!
[YEA] Alum worked very well for me for canker sores. Here's what I did:
Bought a 2 ounce jar from the local grocer for about $5, which is more than enough. I bet 1/4 ounce would be plenty.
Over the bathroom sink, wet a q-tip, and dip it in the alum powder, roll it around to get a good amount on it. Then locate your canker sore and press and hold it on there real well. Time out 2 1/2 minutes on your watch or phone, then wet the other side of the q-tip, reapply, and repeat for another 2 1/2 minutes. Afterwards, rinse out that side of the mouth really well.
This stuff stings, and tastes bad. Try not to taste it with your tongue, and try not to swallow, just let the drool come out of your mouth down into the sink. It's not the most pleasant 5 minutes I've ever spent, but it really helped attack the sore, and minimized it, and dropped the pain down to about a 1 or 0 in 2 days.
I did this process twice a day for 2 days, and I am canker sore free!
[YEA] Alum works wonders! I bit my lip a couple days ago and usually the canker sores don't hurt all that much as I get them a lot. This time however it got so big so fast I couldn't eat or talk. I looked at this site and went over to the grocery store and bought some alum. I held it on the canker sore for 5 minutes and it hurt A LOT. However in a couple of hours it looked like half of it was gone. I put some on before bed and the next morning all the swelling is gone, and I can't even feel that it's there. I recommend this for everyone!
Replied by Eastcoast
Replied by Google-is-your-friend
Los Angeles, Ca
Replied by Andrea
Des Moines, Ia
[YEA] Thanks you guys! Alum worked great for me. One night pain was worth it. I feel great. Now I know what to do when I get canker.
Replied by Cb
San Diego, CA
[YEA] I was surprised to find alum missing from your list of remedies. It would be interesting to see what other folks use this for. It's great for treating canker sores. They go away almost instantly. My mother used this for us when we were kids, and her mother used it too. I think it's a pretty ancient substance that was used widely in the Middle East and Africa. We use the powdered kind that is sold in grocery stores. (It's used in pickling, for crispness. )
Anyhow, what we do to treat a cankersore is merely moisten a Q-tip, and dip it in a very small amount of alum mixed with a teaspoon of warm water. After the alum is on for a few minutes, just rinse your mouth because the alum is very bitter. People also use alum as a mouthwash and to treat gum disease or aching teeth. It's used to treat eczema itching, and styes as well. I'm sure the solution would need to be much milder for use on the eyes, or as a mouthwash, or in treating eczema. Anyway, I hope others might want to mention their experiences with using this common household ingredient. Mariana
Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn Usa
Replied by John
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Replied by Susan
San Francisco, Ca
Replied by Dreamer
Replied by Jessica
Replied by Maria
Replied by Didi
Replied by Maria
Replied by Derek
Replied by Selia
[YEA] Wow, alum works!
I never get canker sores, but a few days ago, I got itchy red hives on my torso as well as 6 canker sores under my tongue and my cheeks. I've had several surgeries but have never been in such pain in my life! So bizarre that such a little thing can cause so much discomfort.
Anyway, after reading the comments, I tried Alum and so far it's amazing. It has really numbed the canker sores. I can eat!!
My only caution is because it does numb so well, be aware not to bite your cheek accidently. I did that and another canker sore developed; but the overall relief is so worth it.
Replied by Raechel
Mexico, New York
[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS] omg alum - I just applied to 4 cankers in my mouth and the smaller cankers on inside of lips felt a sting and then a little better instantly, achy but a little better---- BUT the almost centimeter size one on tongue- GOD HELP ME THE PAIN IS INTENSE. I couldn't keep the alum on for long for that one, 30 seconds and almost passed out. BUT I will try again~ I drooled like a fool but been doing that all day. I have eaten NOTHING today the pain got so bad and that is with double dose ibuprofen on board for 3 days. Anyone had luck with this stuff and large cankers of the tongue??
I might have to call my doctor for painkillers - this is almost unbearable (yes I have a low threshhold for pain)
Replied by Daisy
San Francisco, Ca
Replied by Jennifer
Replied by Sfcb1
San Francisco, Ca Usa
Replied by Gilroy
[YEA] I'm really prone to canker sores if I bite the inside of my lip, or if my diet becomes too acidic (too much coffee, caffeine, beer, fruits, chocolate, sweets, etc. )
I used to use a prescription paste which I haven't been able to get out here (Kenalog in Orabase? I think) which worked wonders and would quite literally get rid of my sores overnight. Since I've been unable to get that prescription filled, I needed a different remedy, so I went with alum. My only quip with alum is that it tastes NAAAAASTY. Seriously, if you swallow it, you will probably vomit. Bitter, awful, disgusting taste--BUT it works like a dream on canker sores and dries them out after a few applications. I usually daub a bit on the sore with a wet Q-tip, then let it sit there and dry for about five minutes before rinsing out my mouth and/or brushing my teeth (because the taste just sticks to your tongue). The more stubborn sores still take a few days to go away, but the alum seems to alleviate the pain and bring down the swelling and the size of the sore almost immediately. I highly recommend this remedy -- just remember not to swallow or spit it out before your five minutes are up.
[YEA] I have always had problems with canker sores. I usually just wait it out or apply some numbing gel. This time I got one on my tongue. It was sooo painful and wouldn't go away. I found this website and tried alum. It really really burned the first time I used it. To the point of tears but after 3-4 applications (48 hours) it was gone! I definitely recommend this.
Replied by Lala
Eastern Shore, Va
[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS] I had a canker sore that was at the peak of inflammation and pain and I decided to try putting Alum on it last night as recommended here to stop the pain. I bought the crystallized kind from the spice section of the grocery store and licked my finger, dabbed it it the alum and then dabbed it on the sore and let it sit/dry/sink in for 5 minutes.
OH MY GOD - it hurt like nobody's business which I could tolerate, but then for the next hour it made my entire jaw, neck and ear area throb with terrible pain which I could not tolerate. I ended up taking pain relievers and going to bed several hours early just to stop the pain with sleep. I have not been in such agonizing pain for many years. It felt like a migraine and an earache and a toothache all at once.
However, today my canker sore has been very tender but noticeably less painful (i've also been on pain meds all day because I'm a bit scarred by what happened last night). The sore also seems to be healing. I honestly am not sure if I can recommend the alum or not, given the positive effects today and the horrible effects last night.
Replied by Splendor
[SIDE EFFECTS] Ok! When I'm stressed I bite the inside of my mouth. Yuck!! I know! This can lead to the MOTHER of all canker sores. My dear friend just told me to dab alum into the canker sore, hold the affected area out so it can settle into canker sore and not be washed away by saliva. Let me explain. What I have going is a flipping cluster of sores( 12 in total. SERIOUSLY!!) A few are about 1/4 x 3/8. No I'm not joking. So I apply the alum out of desperation. I'm in constant pain, my lips aren't working. Drool is running down my chin(SEXY right?) AND i CAN'T eat. Ok the alum feels like flipping battery ACID. I want to rip half my face off. Who cares that it tastes viley bitter-it REALLY hurts. It does not sting. Serious PAIN. After about 20 minutes half my lower jaw is numb. Thank God!!! It feels a little swollen. I look in the mirror and honest to God it looks like I've just had half of my mouth pumped up with whatever that crap is that make you look like a freak of nature! I live in newport beach-the land of the plastic fantastic. Please tell me that this will subside and I won't look like a middle aged woman having a midlife crisis and a budget to only cover half the job! Frickin' Y-I-K-E-S !!!!!!!!
Replied by Man0fsteel
Redondo Beach, Ca, USA
Replied by Alice
Shingle Springs, Ca, U.S.A.
[YEA] Yes to Using Alum found at the grocery store in the spices section. I read the comments about canker sores on here. Thank God for nice people! Apply it with a wet Q-tip on Sore. It will sting but the after effects are worth it! Thanksabunch
Replied by Sharon
Moose Jaw, SK