Canker sores are lesions in the mouth. Also known as aphthaous, they are white or light yellow and have a red centre and edges. They may appear on the tongue or inside of the cheeks and lips. Canker sores are more common among women as compared to men and last 3-4 days. The person suffering from canker sores has intense pain or burning while chewing food. The inner surface of the mouth becomes very sensitive and eating and drinking causes much pain.  Canker sores are not contagious sores.

Symptoms of Canker Sores

A tingling or burning sensation is felt prior to the appearance of the sores.

 Causes of Canker Sores

  1. Food allergy
  2. A scratch or jab from a hard article of food or a toothbrush
  3. Hormonal imbalances in women
  4. Chronic constipation or stomach infections
  5. Stress
  6. Diet imbalances
  7. Research has shown that using toothpaste and mouthwash containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a foaming agent can cause canker sores.
  8. Genetic, running in families

Natural Remedies for Canker Sores

1.   Powder an aspirin tablet and place over the sore. After 5 minutes rinse with warm water. The aspirin desensitizes the sore and speeds healing

2.  Avoid foods which are likely to cause allergy. The common food allergens causing  canker sores are tomatoes, nuts, chocolates and milk products

3.  Prepare juice from the pulp of aloe vera leaves and rinse thrice daily for immediate relief from canker sores.

4.  Eat fresh papaya fruit. Prepare juice from papaya leaves and drink 8-10 spoonfuls on an empty stomach.

5.   The old remedy of mixing 3 spoonfuls of baking soda in warm water and rinsing the mouth is another tried and tested remedy.

6.   To correct nutritional deficiencies, take a course of vitamin B12 and folic acid for a week

7.   Con-sume lots of citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables for long term relief from cold sores.

8.   Chamomile, liquorice and tea tree oils, when applied on canker sores bring immediate relief.

9.  The Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda prescribes a decoction of powder of Indian gooseberry and triphala to be taken at bedtime to prevent repeated attacks of canker sores.

10.  Applying fresh coconut milk on the sores at repeated intervals is an effective home remedy.


11.   Juices of plum and gooseberry when applied on the sore bring relief.

12.   In case of repeated attacks of  canker sores , gargle using warm salt water.

13.   Soak fenugreek and coriander seeds in water overnight. In the morning, filter and drink the infusion on an empty stomach .The decoction helps in cleansing and cooling the system.

14.   Placing a used tea bag over the canker sore helps in soothing the sore. This is due to the tannin present in tea.

15.  Placing raw potato or onion slices over the sore is another simple remedy which brings relief.


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