Home / How To / How to Get Rid of a Canker Sore on Tongue
How to Get Rid of a Canker Sore on Tongue

How to Get Rid of a Canker Sore on Tongue

Canker sore on tongue can be one of the most painful conditions. The other day when we were enjoying our delicious and spicy weekend food, my friend almost screamed, “I have this nasty canker sore on my tongue! How do I eat?” I could understand her situation. Canker sore in mouth doesn’t let you do these very basic activities like talking and eating! Poor girl! I gave her a solution made with some essential oils to numb her pain and she was quite relieved. If you too suffer from canker sore in mouth, just know that there are various simple home remedies to treat a canker sore. But before knowing how to heal a canker sore with such remedies, you should know what a canker sore is and what its causes are so that you may at least take steps to prevent this painful condition in your mouth!

What is a Canker Sore?

A canker sore, as the name suggests, is a sore, a small sore that looks like an ulcer. Canker sores (aphthous ulcer) have a red patchy texture with a rough oval border which gradually develop a white or yellow midpoint. Canker sore can develop anywhere inside your mouth. Thus, you may have a canker sore in your mouth, inside lips or cheeks, a canker sore on your tongue (this can also be a canker sore under tongue or side of the tongue). You may even have a canker sore in throat and on gums. Canker sores can be categorized as minor, major & herpetiform.

  1. Minor canker sores are very small shallow sores that may last for about one to two weeks. These sores do not leave any scar after healing.
  2. Major canker sores are large sores and are also deeper than minor ones. These sores may last for weeks to even months and can leave scars after healing.
  3. Herpetiform sores are groups of multiple smaller canker sores. They, like minor sores, do not leave scars after healing.

While these canker sores can be more than one in number inside your mouth, they cannot get spread to other people. This is what differentiates canker sores from cold sores or fever blisters that are contagious and mostly develop outside your mouth.

Canker Sore Causes

There is no known reasons for canker sores, only possible causes that may lead to development of canker sores.

  1. Heredity or genetic cause. Canker sores sometimes run in families.
  2. Injury inside the mouth. Injury can be caused by anything like toothbrush, dental braces, dentures, accidental bites etc.
  3. Acidic and spicy foods.
  4. Citrus foods may also lead to canker sores in some people.
  5. Food allergy. If you are allergic to some food like pineapple, coffee or chocolate etc. you may get a canker sore.
  6. Sodium lauryl sulfate, the component present in most of the toothpastes is also one of the possible causes of canker sores.
  7. Bacterial infection inside the mouth.
  8. Hormonal imbalance
  9. Stress
  10. Gastrointestinal tract diseases like Celiac disease or Crohn’s disease may also cause canker sore.
  11. Certain autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus or Behçet’s disease may also lead to canker sores in mouth.
  12. Smoking and other types of tobacco abuse

How to Get Rid of a Canker Sore on Tongue

Usually, canker sores do not need to treat and they go away on their own in a few days. However, there are certain remedies that can speed up the healing process of canker sores.

Salt Water Rinse to Heal Canker Sore on Tongue

This is one of the best and the easiest remedies for canker sores in mouth. Whether you have a canker sore on side of tongue or under the tongue or anywhere else inside your mouth, salt water can reach every corner of your mouth. Salt pulls out the fluid from within the ulcer and help heal the associated inflammation and pain. You can always gargle with salt water to treat canker sore in throat and rinse your mouth with warm salty water to heal not only the sores on tongue but also to treat canker sore on gum.
Get this:

  • Warm water- 1 cup
  • Salt- ¼ – ½ tsp

Do this:

  • Add the salt to the warm water and mix well.
  • Take some of this warm salty water into your mouth and swish it all around inside the mouth.
  • Spit it out and repeat the process till you finish the cup of water.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day.

Do Coconut Oil Pulling to Get Rid of Canker Sore on Tongue

Coconut oil has excellent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that soothes the pain and discomfort you get from the canker sores. Additionally, oil pulling draws out all the toxins and bacteria etc. to give you a fresh healthy mouth. This not only heals canker sores but also benefits you in more than one way by making your teeth and gums healthy and keeping infections away from you.
Get this:

  • Coconut oil – 1 tbsp

Do this:

  • Take the coconut oil into your mouth even if it is in solid state because it will melt away in seconds due to your body warmth.
  • Now swish this oil all around you mouth, initially for 2-5 minutes. Gradually increase the time up to 15-20 minutes.
  • Spit it out in dustbin. Oil can clog your drains so it’s better not to spit it out in the sink.
  • If you have major sores, repeat the process 2-3 times a day otherwise once is enough to heal the minor sores.

If however, you do not want to pull oil, you may even apply the raw coconut oil to your sores. Just dab a generous amount of coconut oil to your canker sore on tongue 2-3 times a day.

Use Baking Soda to Get Rid of a Canker Sore in Mouth

Baking soda helps maintain the pH levels in your mouth which in turn neutralizes the acidity considered as one of the possible causes of canker sores. You will see the puffiness of sores going away soon when you apply baking soda paste or rinse your mouth with baking soda solution. It also relieves pain.
Get this:

  • Baking soda- ½ tsp
  • Warm water- ½ cup

Do this:

  • Add the baking soda to the water and mix well.
  • Rinse your mouth well with this solution.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day.
  • Alternatively, you can take 1 tsp of baking soda and add a little water to make a paste out of it.
  • Rub this baking soda paste on your canker sore on lip, gums or tongue.
  • Repeat this 2-3 times a day.

Apply Milk of Magnesia to Heal Canker Sore

Having a milky white appearance, milk of magnesia is defined as a suspension of magnesium hydroxide in water. Magnesium falls in the category of naturally occurring mineral. Magnesium hydroxide is widely used as antacid and laxative and to treat such conditions as constipation, heartburn, stomach ulcer, acne and even canker sores. It has this quality of neutralizing the acidity and perhaps that’s why it is effective in healing canker sores.
Get this:


  • Milk of magnesia

Do this:

  • Take a little amount of milk of magnesia
  • Dab this onto your canker sore in the mouth.
  • Repeat 3-4 times in a day.

Hydrogen Peroxide to Treat Canker Sore on Tongue

Hydrogen peroxide is an all-natural substance- composed only of water and oxygen. It can kill micro-organisms through the process of oxidation. It is typically used for healing small cuts and wounds. It has natural anti-septic properties. However, whenever you use hydrogen peroxide for canker sore in mouth, use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution only and dilute it with equal amount of water. Never swallow this solution and only use it to rinse your mouth.
Get this:

  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • Water
  • Take equal amounts of both the above ingredients. For example, if you take ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, mix it with ¼ cup of water.
  •  Milk of magnesia (optional but recommended)

Do this:

  • Mix hydrogen peroxide and water.
  • Rinse your mouth with this solution.
  • Now take a little amount of milk of magnesia and dab it on your canker sores.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day.

Warning: Never swallow the hydrogen peroxide solution. Don’t even over use hydrogen peroxide.

Aloe Vera Rinse also Heals Canker Sore in Mouth

Aloe vera gel has long been accepted as a natural miracle for various bodily conditions, canker sores being one of them. The soothing and anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera help you get rid of the associated pain and swelling due to canker sore in your mouth.
Get this:

  • Aloe vera gel- 1-2 tbsp
  • Water- ¼ cup

Do this:

  • Add the aloe vera gel to the water and mix well.
  • Now rinse your mouth with this solution swishing it all around in your mouth
  • Spit it out after a couple of minutes.
  • Repeat this 2-3 times a day.

Eat Probiotic Yogurt to Heal Canker Sores in Mouth

The products that contain acidophilus bacteria like yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese or buttermilk help restrain the growth of harmful bacteria inside your body. Canker sores have bacterial infection as one of the possible causes. So it makes a sense to eat yogurt or other such probiotic foods and drinks that may not only help you get rid of canker sores but also to prevent them from occurring again.
Get this:

  • Plain yogurt

Do this:

  • Eat at least 1-2 tbsp of yogurt 3-4 times a day.
  • You may actually eat more of it for its various health benefits.
  • Make it a habit to include yogurt in your meals or have it as a snack.
  • Always have plain yogurt and not the flavoured ones.

Honey to Treat Canker Sore on Tongue

Honey has a number of health benefits due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This is not a mystery at all! Every one of us know how honey helps us make healthy and disease free. This honey can even help you get rid of canker sore on tongue and from inside your mouth wherever they are.
Get this:

  • Honey
  • Cotton swab

Do this:

  • Take the cotton swab and make it a little wet.
  • Wipe your canker sore with this.
  • Now take a little honey on your fingers or on another cotton swab or ball.
  • Apply this to your canker sore by dabbing it there.
  • Repeat this 3-4 times a day.

Grapefruit Seed Extract to Heal Canker Sores in Mouth

Grapefruit seed extract, again, is a very potent component for various health benefits. This is due to its strong antimicrobial properties that grapefruit seed extract help you to heal canker sores.
Get this:

  • Grapefruit seed extract- 5-6 drops
  • Water- 1 glass

Do this:

  • Add the drops of grapefruit seed extract to the glass of water and mix well.
  • Rinse your mouth with this as you would do with a mouthwash.
  • Do this once a day.

Eat Papaya to Get Rid of Canker Sores

The enzymes papain and chymopapain present in the delicious fruit papaya have been proved to have the capability to reduce inflammation. Not only this, papaya also contains good amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene that also reduce inflammation. All this go to prove that eating papaya can help get rid of canker sores too.

Ways to eat papaya

  1. Add a bowl of fresh papaya pieces in your breakfast
  2. Snack on papaya in between meals.
  3. Chew the papaya pieces well.
  4. If you live in an area where fresh papaya is not available, suck on or chew papaya tablets.

Tea Tree Oil Helps Heal Canker Sores Fast

Tea tree oil has now been widely accepted as one of the best natural anti-septic and anti-bacterial agent. Applying tea tree oil on your canker sores can help you get rid of canker sores on tongue or anywhere else in your mouth. Just be cautious not to swallow the oil as it can be a risky thing to do.
Get this:

  • Tea tree oil- 4-5 drops
  • Water-1/2 cup

Do this:

  • Add the oil to the water to get it diluted. As tea tree oil is very strong, you should not use it undiluted.
  • Now rinse your mouth with this water.
  • Repeat 3-4 times a day.
  • You may also take a wet cotton ball and pour 3-4 drops of tea tree oil onto it.
  • Now dab this cotton ball against your canker sore in mouth and hold it there for a couple of minutes.
  • Spit out the saliva that tends to increase while you hold the oil drenched cotton ball in your mouth.
  • Repeat 3-4 times a day.

Use Goldenseal Herb for Treating Canker Sores

Goldenseal has excellent antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. It can soothe your irritated mucus membranes and relieve excess fluid. Its high concentration of alkaloids make it a good antibiotic, anti-infection agent and immune boosting herb. Thus it will prevent canker sores from developing again too.
Get this:

  • Goldenseal powder- ½ tsp
  • Salt- ¼ tsp
  • Warm water- 1 cup

Do this:

  • Add goldenseal powder and salt to the cup of warm water.
  • Mix well and rinse mouth with this.
  • If this seems a lot of work, simply take a pinch of goldenseal powder and apply to your canker sore on tongue.
  • Repeat this many times a day.

Use Myrrh Herb to Get Rid Of Canker Sore on Tongue

Egypt has a tradition of using myrrh not only for skin care but also for treating hay fever and herpes. Ancient Greeks also used myrrh to clean up wounds due to its antiseptic properties. Modern researches have shown that myrrh has powerful antioxidant properties and is also a good immune booster. For all these reasons, myrrh is good for treating as well as preventing canker sores.
Get this:


  • Myrrh powder (you can get myrrh capsules too)
  • Cotton swab
  • Water

Do this:

  • Take the myrrh powder in a bowl. If using capsules, empty them to take out the powder.
  • Take the cotton swab and dip it in the water. Squeeze to drain the excess water. You need just a damp cotton swab.
  • Dip this moist swab into the myrrh powder.
  • Apply this to your canker sores.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day.

Make Herbal Mouthwash to Get Rid of Canker Sores on Tongue

Myrrh and goldenseal, as you read in the previous remedies, have been used widely as natural remedies for canker sores. This recipe of herbal mouthwash for canker sores uses myrrh and goldenseal along with some other herbs. It not only cures canker sores but also helps get rid of bad breath and sore throat.
Get this:

  • Myrrh powder- 1 tsp
  • Goldenseal powder- ¼ tsp
  • Parsley- 2 sprigs
  • Cloves (whole)- 3
  • Water- 2 cups

Do this:

  • Chop the parsley coarsely
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  •  Add all the herbs- myrrh and goldenseal powder, chopped parsley and cloves- to this water.
  • Keep boiling it for about 5 minutes.
  • Now let it cool down.
  • Strain and use it to rinse your mouth.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day.

Sage Herb to Get Rid of Canker Sores

Sage, the popular herb of mint family, has good astringent and drying properties. It has been traditionally used by Native Americans to not only heal sores but also to cleanse their mouth. When you rinse your mouth with sage tea, it will be left freshened up!
Get this:

  • Dried sage leaves- 2 tsp OR fresh sage leaves- handful
  • Water- 1 cup

Do this:

  • Boil the water and add fresh leaves to this.
  • Keep on boiling for about 3-4 minutes.
  • If using dried leaves, add the leaves to hot water and steep for about 5 minutes.
  • Let the tea cool down till it is tolerably warm.
  • Strain the tea and rinse your mouth with this.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day.

Make Ice Cold Tea Bag Compress to Get Rid of Canker Sore

Tea has this component called tannins. Tannins are antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial and thus immensely helpful in getting rid of canker sores. While you can use black or green tea bags, you can also use herbal tea bag like chamomile tea bag. Chamomile contains bisabolol, or levomenol that help reduce inflammation. These chemical compounds also have antiseptic properties and thus are suitable to be used for treating painful canker sores.
Get this:

  • Tea Bags
  • Water

Do this:

  • Soak the tea bags in the water for 2-3 minutes.
  • Take out the tea bags and place them in freezer for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Take out the cold tea bags and place them over your canker sores in mouth.
  • Hold them against the sores for several minutes.
  • Repeat 3-4 times a day.

Essential Oils Remedy for Canker Sores

Like all the other health conditions, canker sores too can be healed with the help of certain essential oils. These oils have natural anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, disinfectant and other properties that help you get rid of canker sores in mouth. Here are some oils that you can either use alone or blend them to heal your canker sores.

What Essential Oils Heal Canker Sores?

  1. Eucalyptus essential oil (dilute with a carrier oil like olive, grapeseed or coconut oil)
  2. Frankincense essential oil
  3. Lemon essential oil
  4. Lemongrass essential oil
  5. Melaleuca essential oil
  6. Myrrh essential oil
  7. Clove essential oil (dilute with a carrier oil like olive, grapeseed or coconut oil)
  8. Oregano essential oil (dilute with a carrier oil like olive, grapeseed or coconut oil)
  9. Peppermint essential oil(dilute with a carrier oil like olive, grapeseed or coconut oil)
  10. Roman Chamomile essential oil
  11. Sandalwood essential oil

How to Use Essential Oils for Canker Sores?

  • You can select any of the above essential oils or a blend of multiple oils like Eucalyptus plus Peppermint or Frankincense plus sandalwood oils.
  • Apply 1-2 drops of such essential oil to your canker sores.
  • Do this 2-3 times a day.
  • Don’t forget to dilute the hot oils that have been mentioned in the above list. Use such carrier oils as olive, coconut or grapeseed oils to dilute them. To dilute, mix 1-2 drops of essential oils with 1 tbsp of any one carrier oil.
  • Then apply this oil mixture to your canker sore.

Tips to Prevent Canker Sores

Here are some tips to save you from suffering with canker sores again and again.

  1. Avoid foods that trigger canker sores in your mouth. Usually spicy, salty and acidic foods trigger such sores but you may get sores due to many other foods that may include nuts, chips, pretzels, some spices, and fruits like pineapple, grapefruit and oranges.
  2. Sometimes deficiency of certain vitamins or nutrition too give rise to canker sores. So have well balanced food that gives you all the nutrition.
  3. Keep your mouth clean. Always use soft brush.
  4. Avoid using oral products containing sodium lauryl sulfate, a known trigger of canker sores in many people.
  5. If you wear dental braces or use any other tool that may injure the inside of your mouth, take extra precaution by using orthodontic wax etc. to avoid the sharp edges.
  6. Stress also lead to canker sores. Keep yourself relaxed. Find ways to de-stress- meditate, pursue hobby, spend time with family and friends, travel or do whatever makes you happy and calm.

Taking all these precautions will prevent them once you get rid of canker sores using one or more home remedies given here.

About sharib

One comment

  1. Dehydration is another cause of canker sores.

Leave a Reply

Scroll To Top