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Home Remedies For Mouth Ulcers

Updated on April 27, 2016
Alison Graham profile image

Alison writes on HubPages and is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skincare and pets, especially cats and dogs.


This article looks at home remedies you can use if you have a mouth ulcer. Most of us get these at one time or another and they can range those causing minor discomfort to those that are so painful that prescription medications are necessary.

So let's take a look at the most effective, 'store cupboard' home remedies for mouth ulcers, plus some things you can safely eat that will heal mouth ulcers quickly. Scroll down the page to find out more about what causes mouth ulcers (also commonly referred to as apthous ulcers and canker sores) and when you should see a Doctor rather than trying to treat an ulcer yourself.

My Top 8 "Store Cupboard" Home Remedy Treatments for Mouth Ulcers

The following simple suggestions feature things you are likely to have in the kitchen cupboard, with the exception of the first one which features only plain water!

  1. Have a cup of hot water (comfortable drinking temperature) and a cup of chilled water ready. Take a mouthful of hot water and swoosh it round the area of your mouth with the ulcer. Spit this out and repeat the process with a mouthful of the chilled water. Repeat two or three times and repeat the whole process several times throughout the day.
  2. Mix a 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder with about one teaspoonful of glycerine. Dip a cotton bud into this mixture and dab it onto the affected area. As you need to leave it in place for up to twenty minutes, this is only going to be suitable for gum ulcers or ones inside your cheek. It is not a practical remedy for an ulcer on the tongue. Turmeric is very healing and the glycerine very soothing, so the two ingredients combined are effective, although you will need to repeat two or three times daily.
  3. Make a tea by placing one teaspoonful of coriander seeds into a cup and pouring on boiling water. Leave this to stand and when cooled, strain it and use the liquid to swoosh your mouth, paying particular attention to the sore area. Spit out when done. Repeat this about three times a day.
  4. Make a paste by mixing a little baking soda with a couple of teaspoons of water. Use a cotton bud to dab this onto the sore area and try to leave it in place for about fifteen minutes before rinsing your mouth with cool water. Repeat as necessary.
  5. A dab of fluoride toothpaste will speed the healing process. Avoid any toothpaste containing Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) as this can be a contributory cause of ulcers. The toothpaste method is rather "stingy" but effective!
  6. Use a cotton bud to dab the ulcer with either Tea Tree Oil or Peppermint Oil. Both ease the pain very quickly and the antiseptic properties will stop bacterial infections and help speed healing.
  7. Use the same cotton bud method to apply honey. The normal honey you spread on your bread has wonderful antiseptic and healing qualities. If you want to spend a little more money, try Manuka honey which is also brilliant for spots and pimples.
  8. Rinse your mouth with any of the following, taking care to hold the liquid in the area of your mouth where the ulcer is troublesome. This method can be used for gum and tongue ulcers and those affecting any area of the lining of the mouth. Repeat the process two or three times daily.
  • Warm salty water (dissolve 1 teaspoon of sea salt or table salt in a cup of warm water)
  • Cranberry juice.
  • Plain, unflavored, 'live' yogurt
  • Coconut milk (fresh is best but the milk purchased in containers also works well)
  • Aloe Vera juice (alternatively dab the ulcer directly with the cut end of an Aloe Vera leaf)
  • Buttermilk (not ordinary cow's milk)

An Ulcer inside lower lip in the mouth lining
An Ulcer inside lower lip in the mouth lining | Source
A tongue ulcer on the side of the tongue
A tongue ulcer on the side of the tongue | Source

Top 6 Things To Eat or Drink to Heal Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers respond well to dietary changes or to applying specific fruits, vegetables or herbs to the affected area - here are my top six recommendations for dietary home remedies.

  1. The cause of many mouth ulcers is a lack of vitamin C. You could drink fruit juice or eat citrus fruits but as the acid in these also makes the ulcer more painful, taking vitamin C supplement will be an easier way to get the ulcer to heal more quickly.
  2. Eat raw onions. These have healing properties because of the sulphur compounds they contain. If you can bear it, eat raw onion or hold a small piece of raw onion in your mouth near the ulcer. Salad onions (scallions) are also good.
  3. If you have some fresh basil growing on your windowsill or in the garden, chewing the leaves two or three times each day and holding the leaves in the area of your mouth where you have the ulcer will help to heal it quickly.
  4. Eating raw tomatoes or swooshing your mouth out with tomato juice will help to heal ulcers quickly but can be quite a painful process if your ulcer is very sore, because of the acid in the tomato juice.
  5. Banana and yogurt makes a wonderfully cooling and soothing dessert. If you use it when you have sore ulcers, it will take the sting and pain out of them very quickly.
  6. Make green tea and sip this after each meal, swooshing it over the affected area. This will soothe the ulcer and remove any irritant particles of food, making it less likely that a secondary bacterial infection will develop. It will also help the ulcer to heal more quickly.

When to See a Doctor

The remedies above are safe and effective. Ulcers can take more than a week to heal but if you have been treating yours with home remedies and after seven days, it has not diminished in size, is getting bigger or more are developing, you should consult your Doctor.

If your gums or the lining of your mouth start to feel sore or inflamed, spreading out from the area affected, you may have a bacterial infection arising from the ulcer and may need an antibiotic to treat this. If this happens, consult your Doctor right away.

What About Over the Counter Remedies?

Canker-Rid® - Get Immediate Relief and Heal Canker Sores - Restore Your Quality of Life today - GUARANTEED!
Canker-Rid® - Get Immediate Relief and Heal Canker Sores - Restore Your Quality of Life today - GUARANTEED!

If you only buy one over the counter treatment for canker sores (mouth ulcers), choose this natural product from Durham's Bee Farms. It gets fantastic customer reviews, is safe and immediately effective. This one little bottle will last around six months so it is excellent value too!


What Causes Mouth Ulcers?

One myth about apthous ulcers or canker sores is that they are infection and you can catch them from someone else. This is not true. You will not get an ulcer from someone else, even from kissing someone who has one!

Three Main Types of Ulcer

Minor Ulcers
These normally heal naturally by themselves within two weeks. Small in size, under 1cm in diameter
Major Ulcers
Deeper and bigger with a raised, uneven edge to them. These may take longer to heal
Herpetiform Ulcers
These form as many tiny pinheads. They can join together to create large and very painful ulcers

Tips on Preventing A Mouth Ulcer

Minor Ulcers are often caused by physical trauma. Scratching the inside of the mouth with a sharp piece of food (like a crispy potato chip) and most commonly by slipping with a toothbrush when brushing the teeth. Minor tongue ulcers are often caused by acidic foods or by a sharp edge on a tooth or amalgam filling.

Other causes of persistent ulcers include stress and anxiety and hormonal changes, but many people who get repeated ulcers have other family members with a similar problem so there may be a genetic link.

Some foods can trigger an ulcer. These tend to be more acidic or spicy foods but some people find that chocolate or coffee also causes them

If you are trying to quit smoking, you may find that you start getting mouth ulcers. This is unfortunate and is as a result of the chemicals from smoking being eliminated from your body. Stick with it though as these ulcers will not last!

If you repeatedly get ulcers, it is important to get this checked out by your Doctor. Some underlying medical conditions can be a cause and most of these are simple and can be easily remedied. For example, you may have a Vitamin B12 or Iron deficiency.

If you are taking medication for another condition, check the contraindications on the pack leaflet as this may be causing your ulcer problem. In this case, check with your Doctor. Anti Inflammatories, Beta Blockers and Angina medicines are common culprits.

Mouth Ulcers Home Remedies

Do you have a favorite and effective mouth ulcers home remedy that I have not mentioned? If so, please tell other readers about it by leaving a comment below.

I hope that you have found this roundup of home remedies for ulcers affecting the tongue, gums and lining of the mouth helpful, but please remember, you should never take what I write as a substitute for the medical advice from your own Doctor. If you have any concerns or your ulcer is not getting smaller after seven days, despite your careful treatment, get it checked out!


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    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 3 years ago from UK

      Thank you for your tip Archa Ghodge, I will try that remedy out next time I have a mouth ulcer.

    • Archa Ghodge profile image

      Archa 3 years ago from India

      Water with the mint leaves boiled in it, brings the cooling effect and cures the mouth ulcer.

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