9 Natural Canker Sore Relief Remedies Found In Your Home

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM; Carrie Lam, MD

A woman needing a natural canker sore reliefAt some stage in our lives, most of us have had a canker sore. Please do not confuse canker sores with fever blisters, though, as these are two totally different things. Fever blisters are usually situated on the outside of the mouth and can be quite contagious. Canker sores, on the other hand, occur inside the mouth, e.g., inside the lips or gums, and are not contagious. Most of the time, canker sores are treated by means of topical medications, but these can have their own set of side effects. Therefore, the next time you have a canker sore, natural canker sore relief may be something you want to look into.

Canker Sores Defined

Canker sores are ulcers that develop inside the mouth. They are not contagious and although anyone can get one, they are more common in people between the ages of 10 and 20 years of age. Some people, however, seem to be more prone to developing canker sores than others. For example, women tend to get them more often than men.

Canker sores usually develop on the inside of the lips or cheeks, or on the tongue, gums, or upper mouth surface, and are categorized into three classes:

Minor Canker Sores

This is the most common type, which usually occurs in younger people between the ages of 10 and 20 years old. They are quite small in size (between 3 to 10 mm) and can last for up to two weeks.

Major Canker Sores

These are much larger than minor canker sores and also much deeper. They usually last for some time—anywhere from a few weeks to months—and often leave a scar. Size can vary but they are usually larger than 10 mm.

Herpetiform Canker Sores

Herpetiform canker sores refer to small canker sores that occur in clusters of 100 or more. Although painful, they usually heal without leaving any scars.

Canker Sore Causes

No single cause of canker sores has been identified yet, instead, their formation can be attributed to multiple factors. However, you do not need to have all of these factors in play to develop a canker sore. The main factors that contribute to canker sore formation include (but are not limited to):

Mouth Injuries

Injuries to the inside of your mouth can be caused by harsh teeth brushing, constant friction caused by ill-fitting dentures, accidents (e.g., during a sports game), biting the side of your cheek or lip, or even a visit to the dentist. These are ideal circumstances for canker sores to develop.

Food Allergies

If you eat foods you are allergic to or highly sensitive to, you are creating the perfect environment to develop canker sores.

Vitamin Or Mineral Deficiencies

People deficient in iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid have a higher chance of developing canker sores.

Stress And/Or Fatigue

People who are constantly tired and/or under heavy stress seem to be more at risk of developing canker sores.

Menstrual Cycle

Women, already prone to canker sores, seem to report a higher occurrence during their menses.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

People with gastrointestinal issues have a higher likelihood of developing canker sores.

Certain Medications

Taking certain drugs may lead to a higher frequency of developing canker sores, e.g., aspirin, antiretrovirals, antibiotics, beta blockers, chemotherapy medications, and a host of others.


Although vitamin and mineral deficiencies may be considered a dietary issue, certain foods may also contribute to the formation of canker sores. Highly acidic foods or fruit juices certainly seem to worsen canker sore development in those prone to the condition.

Symptoms Associated With Canker Sores

Natural canker sore relief and AFSYou may get an early warning that a canker sore is developing, for example, a tingling or prickly sensation in the area up to a day before the canker sore actually presents itself. The sores themselves are usually white, gray, or yellow in color and may have a red border—and yes, may be painful. Depending on where it is situated, you may have difficulty eating or swallowing, and in some cases, find it difficult to speak.

Less common symptoms that accompany canker sores include tiredness, weight loss for no apparent reason, swollen lymph nodes, or even an oral thrush infection or fever. Do consult your healthcare practitioner if your canker sores last for more than three weeks, spread, or if you have a fever or severe pain.

In some instances, canker sores may point to another condition, such as a gastrointestinal disorder or Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). Many gastrointestinal conditions, as well as certain instances of canker sores, may be indicative of adrenal fatigue.

Canker Sores and Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is the result of constant stress on the body, and canker sores are one of the symptoms that may occur. Stress, no matter what the cause, results in your body producing more cortisol to cope with the stress. Cortisol is released by the adrenal glands and an increase in cortisol production is due to activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and your body’s automatic response to stress, the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response. You are not able to control this response. Under normal circumstances, cortisol production returns to normal once the threat has passed, however, if the threat, i.e., stress, persists, increased cortisol production will persist resulting in a cascading effect throughout your body.

As with canker sores, Adrenal Fatigue has many of the same causes mentioned previously such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A holistic approach to healing—viewing the body as a single entity that depends on all aspects to function correctly and maintain optimum health—may be the answer. In other words, dealing with the root cause of the problem may ultimately solve the symptoms. In this case, addressing the cause of the canker sore may clear up the problem.

Natural Canker Sore Relief

By far, the best natural canker sore relief is prevention, but unfortunately, with today’s fast-paced lifestyles, this isn’t always possible. So if you do end up with a canker sore, here are some natural canker sore relief remedies you can try to speed up the healing process, reduce pain, and deal with other associated symptoms.


Natural canker sore relief: HoneyHoney may reduce the incidence of allergies since it can help your body build up antibodies. It is also full of antioxidants that have been purported to boost memory and help with hormone-related issues. Additionally, it helps the body absorb calcium, may help improve serotonin levels, and contains amino acids responsible for converting serotonin into melatonin.

Two aspects of honey that are directly associated with natural canker sore relief are its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Applying honey directly to canker sores can reduce the risk of infection, thus increasing your chance of a speedy recovery.


Yogurt is a natural canker sore relief since it has a calming effect due to the presence of probiotics. Therefore, it has a dual function—helping canker sores to heal faster and providing a cooling effect for pain. Make sure you use natural yogurt that does not contain any additives or colorants.


Sucking on an ice cube may help reduce pain as well as inflammation. Low temperatures slow down blood flow in the affected area, and in so doing, reduce both pain and swelling.


Those prone to canker sores often have one or more mineral and vitamin deficiency. Supplementing vitamin B12 and iron provides relief for many canker sore sufferers.

Take care before using any supplements and seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner to ascertain your particular deficiency and the correct supplement dosage.

Vitamin E

A little vitamin E oil applied directly to the affected area is another natural canker sore relief that may work well. The oil coats the sore, prevents it from becoming infected, and may speed up healing.


Natural canker sore relief: SageSage is a herb that has been used for natural canker sore relief for centuries. It fights bacteria and viruses and helps reduce inflammation. It also works well as a mouthwash.

Sage Mouthwash Recipe
Add two teaspoons of dried sage to a cup of warm water and allow to steep. Once cooled, use sage-infused water as a mouth rinse up to three times a day.

Tea bags

Don’t throw your old tea bags away if someone in the house has canker sores. The alkalinity in tea neutralizes acids and certain compounds in tea can also alleviate pain. Applying a dampened tea bag to the affected area for a few minutes provides great natural canker sore relief.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera speeds up healing and soothes pain. Dab a cotton bud into a sliced aloe leaf, scoop up some of the gel, and apply it to the affected area. This natural canker sore relief can be applied as often as you like and it’s also a great remedy for cold sores.

Baking Soda

Because of its alkaline properties, baking soda neutralizes acids in your mouth that may irritate canker sores. It also helps deal with bacteria and aids healing. For effective results, rinse your mouth a few times a day with a solution containing one teaspoon of baking powder in half a glass of warm water.

Canker sores can be painful and annoying. So, next time you have one, try out these natural canker sore relief remedies to relieve pain and speed up the healing process.

© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Natural canker sore relief remedies may work by addressing the underlying issues causing them. These issues may vary from one person to the next, so there may not be one fixed cure. Other remedies deal with treating the sore itself while at the same time, providing much-needed pain relief.

Natural Canker Sore Relief