Best Ways To Get Rid Of Canker Sores


A canker sore is a mouth ulcer. These sorts of sores are also called aphthous ulcers. The abrasion of the tissue in the mouth or mucous membrane can result in the formation of this type of ulcer. This sort of formation can be painful and lead to a search toward finding the best ways to get rid of canker sores as a result.


It is important to understand that a canker sore is not contagious unlike some other sores that can form in the mouth such as cold sores. The primary symptom associated with a canker sore is varying levels of pain in the mouth. This pain is often made worse when eating foods, especially those of a spicy nature.


Canker sores can be found in various areas of the mouth including the area around the cheeks, lips, tongue, bottom of mouth, roof of mouth, or gums.


Types of Canker Sores

Simple or minor canker sores – More common, Usually appear 3-4x a year, Heals 1-2 weeks, Usually small and oval shaped, Can be less than a millimeter in size


The minor canker sore is the most common canker sore affecting nearly 85% of all people who have canker sores according to NIH – Canker sores (mouth ulcers)


Complex or major canker sores – Less common, Larger and deeper than simple canker sores, Can be one centimeter or more in size

best ways to get rid of canker sores - image of canker sore on upper lip

Potential Causes and Triggers of Canker Sores

  • Accidental bite or injury to the mouth
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Food or drug reactions
  • Toothpastes and mouthwashes containing sodium lauryl sulfate according to Mayo Clinic.
  • Diet that lacks appropriate amounts of Zinc, Folic Acid (Folate), Iron, or Vitamin B-12
  • A food sensitivity to acidic or spicy foods 

Symptoms Associated with Canker Sores

  • A round or oval painful sore inside the mouth formed around the cheeks, tongue, lips, bottom of mouth, roof of mouth, or gums. 
  • Additional pain from eating spicy or acidic foods that come into contact with the sore. 
  • Burning and/ or Tingling sensations 
  • Swollen skin among surrounding area of the sores
  • Trouble with mouth hygiene routine such as brushing teeth due to the pain from the sore. 

A good tip is to look for an extra soft toothbrush to use while dealing with canker sores in your mouth. This can be a good alternative to your regular toothbrush as the regular toothbrush may contain harder bristles that could further inflame the canker sore inducing pain. 


Best Ways To Get Rid Of Canker Sores 

Often, a canker sore will heal on its own within 7-14 days without treatment. If the canker sore lasts longer than a 14 day period, it is time to conduct an appointment with your healthcare provider about the canker sore. 


According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are several different approaches that an individual experiencing canker sores can take to help mitigate the pain associated with canker sores as well as accelerate the elimination process. 

  • Topical anesthetics such as benzocaine.
  • Mouth rinses containing hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine, or dexamethasone.
  • Salt water mouth rinse 
  • Corticosteroid ointments such as flucinonide, beclomethasone, or hydrocortisone hemosuccinate.
  • Antibiotics such as doxycycline (Recommended for recurrent canker sores)

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are similar solutions for tackling a canker sore problem.

  • Mouth rinse that includes the steroid dexamethasone utilized to reduce both inflammation and pain.
  • Mouth rinse containing lidocaine to reduce pain.
  • Over the counter products such as creams, gels, or liquids that contain benzocaine, fluocinonide, and hydrogen peroxide. 

Canker sores that display a higher degree of severity or those that do not respond to the treatment options listed above from the Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic may need oral medications such as sucralfate (Carafate) and colchicine or even oral steroid medications for resolution. It is important to note that the administration of oral steroid medications are typically a last resort due to the significance of potential serious side effects.


The utilization of a topical anesthetic before activities such as eating or brushing teeth may help to mitigate the overall pain symptom associated with the canker sore. Alternative options such as a mouth wash containing specific ingredients or ointments may also be used for the encouragement of elimination of canker sores.