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How to get rid of Canker Sores Quickly!

Updated on March 2, 2010

Cold Sores vs. Canker Sores

Even though very similar in appearance, canker sores and cold sores are not caused by the same thing. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex-1 virus and are fluid-filled sores that eventually open or "pop". Canker sores are irritations caused by stressed tissue and are a form of blisters. Comparing a cold sore to a canker sore is akin to comparing a blister to a wart. Also important to note is that while a canker sore is not contagious, cold sores are highly contagious and intimate contact should be avoided when cold sores are present.

What the?! Ouch...

Imagine waking up one morning to discover a painful sore on the inside of your mouth. Maybe you yawn and accidentally bite it (ouch!) or maybe you discover it when that first sip of orange juice hits it. (major ouch!). Once you discover it's there, you know it's there until it's gone! Canker sores can be caused by all sorts of different reasons but the most common are due to vitamin deficiency, irratation caused by teeth (accidental bites or grinding) or a weakened immune system.

Canker sores should not be confused with cold sores and do not indicate the presence of the herpes virus. Intimate contact of the mouth should be avoided until the sore is healed to prevent bacteria or infection entering the open sore. Typically, canker sores will last anywhere from three days to one week though if not properly cared for can last much longer and cause more serious health problems.

Early symptoms of canker sores can prepare you to start treatment of the sore before it gets bad. These symptoms can include:

  • Tingling or burning sensations on isolated parts of your inner mouth, cheeks, gums or tongue.
  • Swelling at the site of the canker sore.
  • Irritation of the skin at the site of the canker sore.
  • Irritation of the canker sore by acidic or salty foods.


Grandma's Home Remedy for Canker Sores

Medically, there's no reason why this home remedy works so well but, it does indeed work well!

  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. iodized salt
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cotton ball or small medical sponge

Mix the lemon juice, iodized salt, vinegar and cloves in a small dish and soak the cotton ball or sponge with the mixture. Firmly apply the cotton ball or sponge directly to the sore and hold there for at least one minute. Rinse your mouth out with fresh warm water and avoid eating anything salty or acidic until the sore disappears. Repeat after every meal or snack.

If you use this home remedy, chances are your canker sore will be healed completely in two or three days. Usually, pain relief is felt within minutes (due to the ground cloves) though it may make most people gag. My personal theory is that the salt agitates the sore allowing the iodine to disinfect it while the lemon juice and vinegar help tighten the tissues and micro-vessels back up staving off further contamintation. The ground cloves help to numb the sore making this effective home remedy tolerable.

As with any home remedy, it's always best to consult with a Doctor if the symptoms persist or get worse, but there are no dangerous ingredients to worry about with this particular remedy.


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    • profile image

      Feed 5 years ago

      Does it matter if you still eat some salty and acidic food? I tried it once and it's already a little smaller, but I don't want it to inflate again.

    • profile image

      Ranger 5 years ago

      Yeah...does it

    • profile image

      Dee 5 years ago

      Actually you are supposed to avoid citrus fruit while you have canker sores. So applying lemon juice to a canker sore would just make it worse.

    • Delaney Boling profile image

      Delaney Boling 6 years ago

      Agreed Ryan! Healthy living is the best remedy. Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image

      Ryan 6 years ago

      With all the canker sore remedies available in today’s medical arena, knowing the exact triggering factor will aid in coming up with the most accurate canker sore treatment. Whether your sore has been caused by food allergies, fever, stress, or the effect of a certain nutritional deficiency, the bottom line is that these ulcers appear due to a compromised immune system. There are natural remedies to help you when outbreaks occur so keep in mind that when it comes to treating those nasty cold sores, YOU call the shots.

    • Delaney Boling profile image

      Delaney Boling 7 years ago

      Consider yourself lucky Dave! They can be really painful and irritating. The best prevention is good dental hygiene, well-balanced diet, healthy living and adequate rest. One of the major contributing causes of canker sores is a weakened immune system, and practicing the above mentioned habits helps your body stay strong. Unfortunately, some people just get them (myself included). I always end up getting them after eating pineapple due to a mild allergy and the above home remedy was taught to me by my Grandma. It's always worked for me!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Delaney in 62 years of living, I have yet to experience this sort of Malady, but it is good to know that if I do there is help out there for it. Thank you.