Patient Comments: Canker Sores - Effective Treatments


Please describe what treatments have been effective for your canker sores. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: clcarter1999, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: December 11

I take lysine to reduce the incidence and pain of canker sores. I take 1000 mg/day and this usually results in few or no sores and when they do occur the pain is greatly reduced. I have been using this treatment for 30 years.

Comment from: Claudia , 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: September 11

As soon as I feel the beginning of a canker sore, I take 1500 mg rutin (I carry some in my bag) and rinse the spot with vodka (I carry an airplane size vodka too in my bag), which kills the pain and is an anesthetic. If the canker sore is really painful, I repeat this 2 to 4 times a day. I have tried every other possible remedy, and this works best.

Comment from: Seth, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 27

I had canker sores for years, and on an ongoing basis for over 12 months, and doctors and dentists all suggested the same things as this website (vitamin B deficiency, SLS, etc., all of which I doubt have a basis in research, and are probably old wives' tales). Nothing worked, until a doctor prescribed tetracycline (dissolved in water, swished in mouth 4 to 6 times a day). The pain ended in a day, the sores disappeared in three to five days. It's an infection. Why don't doctors treat it that way!

Comment from: Mustang Sally , 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

Apply mercurochrome to the canker sore 2 to 3 times a day, especially at bedtime. Some minor burning sensation but excellent results in 2 days or so.

Comment from: hau, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 06

I’ve gotten canker sores every now and then since I was young. My mom said a friend’s nurse sister told her to put an aspirin tablet on them, so that’s what I do. Right before bed I take a tablet of aspirin and put it on top of (or as close as I can get to) the sore, and let it dissolve while I sleep. It tastes bitter, but after spitting what’s left of the tablet out, the pain is gone for hours and I can eat again. I feel like it also helps heal it faster, but I can’t be sure.

Comment from: ABIA C, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: June 11

I have suffered canker sores for years. This painful condition seems to have no remedy! I've been to hospitals (federal, private) but still no cure. This thing is painful. It goes I enjoy my meal for a few weeks, and it comes back. This mouth wound has up to 5 spots in my mouth. I can't speak fluently when it comes, I can't eat, I can't drink mere water, and I feel agony while brushing my teeth. Doctors still give no positive prescription.

Comment from: Anonoymus , 13-18 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 09

When having a canker sore apply a mixture of salt and Aquaphor/Vaseline and apply on while sitting down. Once laying out a thin layer of the mixture with salt sprinkled on the top sit in the position for 10 minutes and then rinse your mouth with warm water. After that, get a third of a tablespoon of salt and slowly apply on the sore and shut your mouth, then once done spit and repeat the process three times a day until the sore is gone. They are painful but you have to be strong and get through them.

Comment from: Evert, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 13

For years we have used vitamin B complex in the family. It works for canker sores, and fast.

Comment from: 4years, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 30

I have the rare severe canker sore (large ulcer that lasts up to 4 months). No treatment worked, and that includes steroid and antiviral drugs. Magic mouth wash gives short pain relief only. The treatment that finally worked was hydrogen peroxide. I use 3 percent solution to swish in the mouth for one minute twice daily. Pain subsided immediately but slowly rebuilt to some degree. Every treatment further reduced the pain and the rebuild is to a lower level. After four days, the three weeks old sore is gone.

Comment from: PM, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 13

I have had canker sores all my life. The only thing that works for me is buttermilk. Swish some around in your mouth. Let it sit on the sore if possible for a minute or two and swallow. Repeat a couple of times a day. Immediate pain relief. The sore heals incredibly quickly; usually within 2 days, sometimes by the next day.

Comment from: Murdoch, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: June 11

I have used spirit of camphor for my canker sores and it provides instant pain relief and speeds the healing process, however, it burns like crazy for about 15 seconds. Also, it is poison so don't swallow it. Just apply with a Q-Tip.


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Comment from: Sparktologist, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 22

I have gotten canker sores as far back as when I was 5 year old. I'm now 47. Over the years I've tried next to everything over the counter. This is what I have learned over the last 42 plus years. Alum, my grandpa’s home remedy, works for pain but bitter and burns terribly for a few minutes after use. It didn't seem to heal any faster than normal. With Campho-Phenique liquid, OTC and can get at almost any drug store, pain stopped and it shortened the healing time by a few days. One of my favorite is L-lysine, nothing to help pain but helps shorten healing time and recurring outbreaks. Hydrogen peroxide hurt badly, didn't help with pain or shorten healing time unless infected, and if used too strong would make it take longer to heal. Baking soda and salt water sting for a bit but helps with healing a few days faster and with pain a bit. Ice skating helps with the pain quite a bit but that's it. Alcohol; think about it, if it can burn a hole in your gut then on an open sore in your mouth! All above work but Campho-Phenique liquid helps the best with lots of water. It takes anywhere from 7 to 10 days healing time with nothing used.

Comment from: Nado, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 30

Baking soda and raw honey have been effective for my canker sores.

Comment from: Keviz3007, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 16

I am a 34 year old Indian guy who loves spicy food. I get canker sores on the inside of my lips once or twice a year. It usually goes away in 48 hours by drinking excess water or eating foods that reduce body heat. However in July 2017 I got a canker sore below my tongue (near my molars) that was very painful and I also had ear pain. When it did not reduce any bit even after 96 hours I got worried. During this time I was rinsing my mouth with warm salt water twice a day and applying glycerin. I then talked to a doctor friend who suggested the mildest Crest mouthwash. I started rinsing twice or thrice a day and also was doing the warm salt water rinse and within 48 hours of starting to do that the sore healed. I am not sure if it was the mouthwash that expedited the healing process or if the sore itself would have gone down in 6 or 7 days.

Comment from: Lucy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 28

My great-grandmother always had us put alum on our canker sores. It is a bitter spice that is used in pickling. I put the powder directly on the canker sore. It is sour to taste, but not harmful. It is ok to spit out the remainder after applying to the canker. When I wake up in the morning they are gone. This also works for fever blisters. I hope this helps someone. I thought everyone did this to get rid of them, but I am finding only a handful of people grew up doing this.

Comment from: Lisa, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 23

I have had canker sores my whole life. I get them to where the pain radiates to the ear nearest the canker sore with or without fever. I have tried all of the remedies discussed. I have found that they are brought on through 3 ways. One, an overly acidic environment through stress or diet (too many sour foods). Two, injury to my mouth from my mouth guard or getting dental work, or biting cheek or tongue. And three, gargling 2 days or more with Listerine coupled with chewing 2 to 3 pieces of strong mint gum too during the same two days. I stopped using toothpaste that had sodium laurate and only using Pronamel toothpaste and have been able to avoid getting them until I had a bad bout of stress. I put a drop of tea tree oil and gargled with it once and the pain lessened greatly both in the sore and in my ear. I hope it will be gone tomorrow.

Comment from: 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 09

I have gotten canker sores for as long as I can remember. They end up hurting so badly that I can barely eat. One trick my aunt told me was to put baking soda on it before bed. It is my go-to for canker sores and it always works; at the very least, to minimize the size of the sore and start the healing.

Comment from: Nibbles32, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 16

I found super drug aloe vera hand gel, a tiny blob on the side of my mouth cracks after breakfast and last thing at night cures the canker sores quicker than anything else. This is scary because it makes you wonder about the power of the thing that takes hand gel with strength to kill 99 percent of germs started and what it is.

Comment from: NancyKJ, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 14

Orajel always works on my canker sores. Whenever I drink Kool-Aid, I get them. So, of course, the other thing that works is not drinking Kool-Aid.

Comment from: JackHammer, Male (Patient) Published: August 05

I'm 64 years old and have had canker sores on and off since I was 13 years old. I've used every OTC product there is and none has ever stopped or healed the sore; the gels and liquids usually numb the sores and provide a little relief. The best home remedy I've found is rinsing my mouth with 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide which contains a mixture of 1 teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of baking soda. If you can afford to go to a dermatologist that's the best option. Find a dermatologist who will treat your canker sore with phenol. Trust me, phenol gives me immediate relief. Though I pay a $40 co-pay it is well worth it to me.


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Comment from: Myiawd, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

The eye doctor I worked for saved my life! I have had canker sores as long as I can remember, they are miserable! His brother is an oral surgeon and prescribed a steroid pack plus a medicine that is used for dermatitis. The generic name is fluocinonide topical solution 0.05%. You just apply to the sore 4 times a day and of course spit it out. I promise you instant relief in less than 24 hours! Now I only use the solution and I don't use the steroid pack. It is super amazing! Ask your primary care physician (PCP) or oral surgeon about it.

Comment from: Rebus, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 03

I have been plagued with severe outbreaks of debilitating canker sores since childhood. The pain was like the worst toothache. They were less frequent in summertime but during the winter were almost continuous. I discovered a simple yet 100% effective preventive measure. Simply supplement with a minimum of 4000IU per day of vitamin D3. Alternately, 30 minutes of full body sun exposure per day around midday is also 100% effective (but don"t overdo it as sunburn will adversely affect the immune system).

Comment from: hillcrest59, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I am 53. I have had canker sores my entire life. As a teen and young adult, I would get 2 to 10 sores at a time. I have been prescribed colchicine (since I was 30) that I take on a daily basis. I have a prescription of lidocaine as topical treatment when one erupts. I also take sublingual vitamin B12 when one erupts. I get swollen glands every time with a sore. I often feel as if I have an earache because of the pressure of the swollen glands. I typically get an outbreak once a year even with the daily colchicine. My sores typically appear right before, during or shortly after my men's trial cycle. The colchicine has been my miracle drug!

Comment from: nikkihug, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 21

The five main causes of canker sores are stress, hormones, injury, citric acid, and allergies. Minor canker sores can be soothed by gargling with whole milk without irritating the sore, unlike many topical remedies. The Canker Spanker heals and prevents canker sores with zero irritation.

Comment from: Brat, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 13

I've been taking coconut oil daily for my thyroid just to see if it would help my thyroid (I have Hashimoto). I've noticed when my thyroid goes haywires I often get a canker sore or two right before. Anyway this is the first time I've been taking it while having a canker sore and it healed in two days. Usually mine lasts for at least a week or more. When I read up on coconut oil it says it contains Lauric Acid which helps the immune system. I am certain it’s what shortened the healing time. It’s also done wonderful things for my skin by moisturizing form the inside out because Hashimoto makes my skin very dry and itchy to the point I get an eczema like rash that won't go away. It hasn't happened this time and my skin looks and feels so smooth and silky. As for my thyroid, I don't know if it’s done anything. I am also on meds for it, so I can't tell if it’s helping the meds or doing nothing.

Comment from: Shellydu, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 01

I have a canker sore in the middle of my tongue right now and it's very large and inflamed. I am into the second week with it.

Comment from: Nithin , 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 07

If you get canker sores often, you should get your vitamin B12 levels tested. B12 deficiency can have serious implications if left untreated.

Comment from: MarkShift, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 27

I've tried every remedy doctor suggested and old wives tales for canker sores and nothing helped until I found the Canker Spanker. What a relief!

Comment from: clpepper, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 20

I dipped a cotton swab into my bottle of tea tree oil and successfully treated two canker sores in my mouth. I held the swab against the sore while pressing a finger on the cheek/outer side and repeated three times within two days. I had an increase in saliva, which you need to be careful not to swallow. Just spit it out as necessary.

Comment from: MarthaT, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 28

I applied the baking soda treatment on my canker sore and it works. I applied it directly on the canker sore, it stung a little, but thank God, the irritation and pain are gone.


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Comment from: Pete, Male Published: October 24

My mom used to put glycerin on her finger tip then place it on the canker sore in my mouth, a few treatments later it was gone. Now I got my wife doing it as well. It is a important part of our medicine cabinet.

Comment from: Kevin, 55-64 Male Published: September 26

Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) has always worked for me. I get cankers on my tongue from time to time and I simply coat the canker with the Baking Soda and hold my mouth open for 30 seconds and rinse. By the next morning they are always gone.

Comment from: old person, 75 or over Female Published: September 26

At one time (very long ago), I used merthiolate, which was moderately effective on my canker sores. Now I use Fluocinonide which zaps the sores and keeps them from hurting while they heal quickly. It's a prescription drug, but inexpensive.

Published: July 30

I am a 39-year-old female and have experienced canker sores since childhood. I have found that rinsing with hydrogen peroxide reduces the amount of canker sores I normally get, and when I have sores, it relieves the pain and inflammation associated with them. It also allows for less painful tooth brushing. Avoiding wheat also greatly reduces my canker sore incidence; something which I found out by chance.

Comment from: Laura, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 10

I started my boyfriend on a daily dose of L-Lysine and it seems to help dramatically, along with taking an iron supplement every day.

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 19

The only thing that got rid of my canker sores, was being pregnant. I never had a single one the entire 9 months, and now that I've had the baby they have come back with full force. I'm not able to put anything on them because they are all in the back of my throat.

Comment from: 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 19

My Canker sores cleared up when I stopped using mouthwash. Using too much mouthwash too long and too often can kill all the "good" bacteria that helps keep the mouth healthy.

Comment from: SiameseCat, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 13

Using an antiseptic mouthrinse twice a day reduced the frequency and severity of my canker sores. Also, I just tried Debacterol last week and it seemed to help.

Comment from: cankersorenomore, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: November 13

I was a chronic canker sore sufferer for years (would often get multiple large canker sores that would grow together) until at a doctor visit a nurse recommended that I take a lysine supplement (one of the 9 essential amino acids) which worked for her and her son. After taking one tablet a day for about a month, I have yet to ever again have another canker sore over the past ten years. I have recommended it to others and it has worked for them as well.

Comment from: archalupa, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 13

I suffered from canker sores all of my life. I would get them at least once every month or so. Then a friend told me he read that putting metal like pens, paper clips, etc. in your mouth was one of the suspected causes. I quit putting metal not intended for my mouth in my mouth and now the only time I get cankers is when I bite my tongue or cheek.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 25

Right now I have 9 canker sores in my mouth and I am suffering terribly. The biggest one is on my soft palate next to my uvula and is about one cm. square. I can barely swallow and I have radiating pain to my right ear. I have used every topical anesthetic on the market and over the counter mouthwash specific to helping resolve canker sores. The only thing that has ever worked for me is triamcinolone paste. If I am able to get it on the ulcer as soon as I know I have one, it heals in about 5 days. Otherwise, I have sores in my mouth that have taken three weeks to heal. My 7 year-old daughter and my three year-old son have them also.

Comment from: maria12340, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

The best treatment for canker sore is to put a chip of alum on top of the sore, this is quite painful, but you only have to suffer for an hour rather than a week without an alum. The alum will make the white coating something like "cook" and pain goes away only in a few hours.

Comment from: A66eyroad, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

Toothpaste is the worst offender for me, but when I don't have a clean mouth is when more sores seem to crop up. Through trial and error I have found that Tom's of Maine Gingermint is the best on the market for me. Nothing harsh, no laurel sulfate, no peppermint.

Comment from: sarlyn, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I have had canker sores for years and the best solution I have found is to put some vodka on a Q-tip and dab the ulcer with it. The alcohol helps it heal quicker and any surface rubbed with the alcohol is numbed for awhile, making eating and talking and toothbrushing much less painful.

Comment from: Colorado, 55-64 Female Published: September 10

I have frequently recurring cancer sores on my lips, usually in the same places. Mental stress (worry) is the primary cause of a recurrence. Physical stress (an infected tooth) also caused cancer sores to happen one incidence after the other for months until my failed root canal was redone. The best treatment, once I feel the burning of an oncoming cancer sore is frequent application of Abreva. The sore will not continue to develop. The best defense is staying healthy. Drinking water is the best medicine I have discovered.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 12

Debacterol is the most sure and steadfast relief of my dime size ulcers. It is only offered by a dentist or by written prescription from your doctor and then is special ordered by a pharmacy. It is the best on the market. You have to go through hoops to get it, but, it's worth it when you're suffering weeks at a time.

Comment from: Pain free, 45-54 Female Published: August 04

This may sound weird, but I read about it on a web site and it works. Buy Sauerkraut in a bag (not canned). Swish your mouth once daily with the juice for 1 full minute. It doesn’t taste very good, but mine were almost gone by the next morning. Use this once per week once they are cleared and so far 2 months have past and so far none have cropped up.

Comment from: sally, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 25

I had them for most of my life, and yogurt with live culture stopped them years ago. I still eat it every day, and I haven't had a single canker sore since.

Comment from: jwampner, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 25

When I have had canker sores in my throat I have been able to get relief by sucking on Canada Wintergreen Lozenges; a pink, Pepto Bismal colored candy found at most drug stores.