11 Natural Ways to Cure Mouth Ulcers Fast

Updated in April 2023

Mouth ulcers can be treated at home using natural remedies and items you usually have in your cupboard. Some great tips include applying black tea compresses, salt water mouth rinses and cloves. 

Mouth ulcers, also know as canker sores, are small lesions that are painful and generally appear on the tongue or on the lips. They may have several causes but are typically related to eating very acidic foods. Learn more about the causes of canker sores and how they can be treated.

When an ulcer appears, the first thing you should do is stop eating eating acidic food, especially acidic fruit. This will decrease irritation and allow your mouth to heal faster. 

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How to cure a mouth ulcer at home

Ways you can naturally treat a canker sore at home include: 

1. Black tea compress

Applying a black tea bag directly on the canker sore can help with healing, as black tea contains tannins (an astringent substance, which removes residue and dirt). Learn more about the the health benefits that black tea can provide. 

To apply the black tea correctly, you need to prepare the tea by placing the tea bag in a cup of boiling water and let it soak. When the water and bag are no longer hot, place the tea bag directly on the canker sore.

2. Salt water mouth rinse

Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water helps to disinfect the canker sore and speed-up healing. Salt has an antibacterial effect, which removes bacteria from any affected region. In order to make a salt water solution simply add a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Rinse your mouth with this solution for a few minutes, twice a day.

3. Chewing on cloves

Chewing cloves can also help to heal the canker sore faster and relieve the pain in just a few minutes. This is because cloves have antiseptic and analgesic properties, which can help keep the canker sore clean, encourage healing, and relieve pain, all within minutes.

Learn more about the health benefits of cloves and how to use them. 

4. Gargle milk of magnesia

Gargling milk of magnesia allows the lesion to be coated and protected from bacteria, both which can help to speed-up the healing process. To prepare the solution, simply mix a teaspoon of milk of magnesia with a cup of water and gargle.

5. Eat natural yogurt

Eating a serving of yogurt with bifidus or probiotics will help to improve your bowels and your gastrointestinal flora. This can strengthen your body’s natural defenses and help to heal mouth ulcers faster. Check out other foods that are natural probiotics that you can include in your diet.  

6. Apple cider vinegar

Some scientific studies show that apple cider vinegar contains antimicrobial properties that can decrease the growth of bacteria. Although certain microorganisms are naturally found in our bodies, like Candida albicansEscherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, these can overgrow and cause infections. The presence of these bacteria in a mouth ulcer can interfere with healing and may even worsen symptoms.

You can dilute a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in water and gargle over the wound to treat a mouth ulcer and prevent worsening. However, it is important to rinse with regular water and brush your teeth about 30 minutes after using this solution to prevent tooth decay, as apple cider vinegar is acidic and can cause enamel breakdown over time. 

Read more about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, including the ways you can use it. 

7. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is though to contain antimicrobial and antifungal properties, as it contains fatty acids like lauric acid and capric acids. These fatty acids can interfere with the formation of bacterial and fungal cell membranes, which decreases their reproduction and growth. You can apply coconut oil directly to a mouth ulcer to both soothe discomfort and prevent further worsening. 

8. Propolis extract

Propolis extract is rich in phenolic acid and flavonoids which contain anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and healing properties. It can be used to treat, disinfect and speed up healing for mouth ulcers. This remedy also has a potent regenerative effect on the skin which helps with tissue recovery. 

To use propolis extract, apply 1 to 2 drops directly on the mouth ulcers, 4 to 5 times per day. Propolis extract should not be used by anyone with an allergy to propolis, pollen or honey. 

9. Hydrogen peroxide solution

Hydrogen peroxide can help to eliminate the bacteria that caused the mouth ulcer. It contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic action that helps to reduce pain, redness and swelling caused by mouth ulcers. 

To prepare this solution, add 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide 10% to 1/2 cup of water and stir. Then soak a cotton ball in this solution and apply it directly to the mouth ulcer. It is not necessary to rinse your mouth after applying, however you can if you are unable to tolerate the bitter after-taste. 

10. Chamomile compress 

A chamomile compress, made with the medicinal plant Matricaria recutita, is rich in azulene and levomenol. These contain anti-inflammatory, healing and antimicrobial properties that help to relieve pain and discomfort caused by mouth ulcers.

To make this compress, steep a chamomile tea bag in 250 ml of boiling water. Wait for it to cool, then place the tea bag directly on the mouth ulcer for a few minutes. Dispose of the tea bag after use. 

You can also gargle the chamomile tea while warm 3 to 4 times per day, making sure to spit it out once done. 

11. Organic honey

Apply a small dab of organic bee honey directly on the mouth ulcer. This can help to speed up healing, especially if the ulcer is the result of aphthous stomatitis. Honey contains antiseptics and hydrating properties that help to relieve pain and discomfort. 

Honey can also help to prevent secondary infections from developing, as it has an acidic pH, as well as flavonoids, benzoic acid and cinnamic acid which contain antibacterial properties. 

Honey also contains glucose oxidase, which is an enzyme that produces small amounts of hydrogen peroxide when activated. It has antiseptic and antimicrobial action. 

You can apply organic bee honey to the mouth ulcer several times per day as needed to relieve discomfort. It should not be used by anyone with an allergy to honey, propolis or pollen. Check out other health benefits of honey and the contraindications to be aware of. 

Does applying baking soda help with mouth ulcers?

Applying baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) directly on the canker sore can cause intense pain and burning in the area, so this is not recommended. However, baking soda can be of benefit if gargled, because it increases the pH of the saliva, which promotes healing. So instead of applying it directly on the canker sore, dilute one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water, gargle and rinse your mouth, 2 to 3 times per day.

Additionally, it is important to avoid mouthwash that has alcohol because this will also cause intense pain, and will irritate the oral mucosa even more. Spicy foods are also not recommended when you have canker sores. Try the five home remedies above to heal your canker sores quickly!