Canker sores can be a serious pain (pun intended). Not only are they painful and uncomfortable, they can get in the way of eating and talking. When something affects your simple day to day life, it’s normal to be irritated. The good thing is, canker sores don’t have to last long! There are natural canker sore remedies for both kids and adults that will help ease the pain and heal canker sores fast!
What is a Canker Sore?
Canker sores are painful, open mouth ulcers or sores. They’re small, shallow wounds in your mouth that can make eating, drinking and talking uncomfortable. Canker sores start as white to yellowish ulcers surrounded by redness and can range from less than 1mm to 1 inch in diameter. There are two types of canker sores:
- Simple canker sores: These canker sores appear three to four times a year and last up to a week. While anyone can get canker sores, they’re most common in people between the ages of 10 to 20.
- Complex canker sores: These are less common, but tend to be larger and more painful. They can last up to one month and leave a scar.
What Causes Canker Sores?
The exact cause of canker sores is unknown, however they seem to occur for a number of different reasons. You’re more likely to get canker sores if they run in your family. Stress, fatigue or minor injury to the mouth are some of the main causes of simple canker sores, and they can also occur during the menstrual cycle. Certain foods can trigger canker sores or make them worse. These include citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables such as lemons, oranges, pineapples, figs, tomatoes and strawberries. Food allergies may also be the cause.
Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil or Motrin is another common cause, as is a sharp tooth surface or dental appliances such as braces or ill fitting dentures. A deficiency in certain vitamins, such as B-3, B-9 or B-12, zinc, iron or calcium can also make you more prone to getting canker sores.
How Long Do Canker Sores Last?
Canker sores can cause pain for 7 to 10 days. Minor canker sores can heal completely in one to three weeks, but major canker sores can take up to six weeks to heal.
3 Tips to Prevent Canker Sores
- Avoid acidic foods such as lemons, oranges, tomatoes and pineapples, which can trigger canker sores or make them worse. Hot and spicy foods can also lead to canker sores.
- Brush your teeth gently and use a brush with soft bristles so you don’t cause any injury in your mouth that can lead to canker sores.
- If canker sores are due to stress, try stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing on a regular basis.
3 Canker Sore Remedies for Kids
Eating yogurt that contains Acidophilus will help relieve the canker sore pain as well as help the sore heal faster. Have your child eat up to 1 cup of yogurt each day to help remedy their mouth.
2. Baking Soda Rinse
Baking soda is known to restore pH balance and reduce inflammation, which can help heal canker sores. Place one teaspoon of baking soda into an eight-ounce glass of lukewarm water. Have your child gargle and swish it around in his or her mouth several times a day. This will help relieve the pain and can also get rid of the canker sore in as little as 24 hours.
3. Chamomile Tea
Place a wet chamomile tea bag on the canker sore and hold it there for a few minutes several times per day. This will help with the pain and help to heal the sore.
6 Canker Sore Remedies for Adults
1. Salt Water Rinse
Although it can be a bit painful, raising your mouth with salt water is a go-to home remedy for any type of mouth sore and can help dry out canker sores. Mix one teaspoon of salt into ½ cup of lukewarm water and swirl it around in your mouth for 15 to 30 seconds, then spit it out. Repeat every few hours as necessary.
A natural remedy that’s likely already in your pantry, honey has wonderful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities. It can reduce canker sore size, pain and redness and can also prevent secondary infection. Apply unpasteurized, unfiltered honey, such as Manuka honey, to the sore four times per day.
3. Sage Mouthwash
Sage has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent properties, plus it can help relieve pain. You can find sage mouthwash in most pharmacies or create your own mix by adding boiling water to 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh sage leaves. Steep for 5 minutes then strain and let the solution cool. Swish the rinse in your mouth for a couple minutes, then swallow or spit it out.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has antimicrobial abilities and can cure canker sores caused by bacteria, as well as prevent them from spreading. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce redness and pain. Apply a generous amount of coconut oil to your sore, reapplying several times per day.
Echinacea is known for its wound-healing and immune-boosting properties. It can help heal canker sores or prevent them from forming. Add 1 teaspoon of liquid echinacea to equal parts warm water and swish the mixture around in your mouth for 2 minutes. You can also rinse your mouth with echinacea tea if you prefer. Repeat either treatment up to three times daily.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar Mouthwash
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a remedy for almost everything, and now you can add canker sores to the list. The acid in ACV can help kill the bacteria that irritate the sore. However, use this remedy with caution as acidic foods can make canker sores worse for some people. Combine 1 teaspoon ACV with 1 cup of water, and swish the mixture around in your mouth for 15 to 30 seconds. Spit it out and rinse your mouth thoroughly. Repeat daily.
Ready to get rid of canker sores fast? Use these tips and remedies to stop them in their tracks!