ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Proven Ways to Eliminate Canker Sores Permanently

Updated on February 4, 2011

What are canker sores?

Canker sores, also called mouth ulcers or merely mouth sores by the vast majority of people, and aphthous ulcers or recurrent aphthous stomatitus by technical people, are little stinging crater-like sores that grow within the mouths of susceptible individuals. These mouth ulcers usually occur on the interior of the cheeks, although they can also occur other places inside the mouth on the spongy soft tissue. No one knows precisely what causes them, but there are a bunch of known triggers.

Many individuals get them over and over and other people rarely. It is estimated that 20% of the population gets canker sores. They are not thought to be contagious.

What's the difference between cold sores and canker sores?

The two are not the same. Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are the result of the herpes simplex 1 virus and aren't linked to canker sores. Cold sores crop up on the outer surface of the mouth, generally the lips, whereas canker sores always occur inside the mouth. Cold sores are also bumps and canker sores have some minor swelling, but are typically recognized by the little depression they cause. Also, it is understood that canker sores are not caused by a virus.

What causes canker sores?

It's a mystery. There are numerous theories, but the truth is, no one really knows for sure. But there are some suspects that seem to encourage their appearance. Further adding to the confusion is the oddity that different things seem to produce canker sores in different people.

Some people believe that a microorganism is to blame for the development of mouth ulcers, but nothing has been found.

The Suspects

  • Your Toothpaste - not from using toothpaste per se, but rather because of an ingredient in the majority of commercial toothpastes, by the name of sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS).
  • Stress - people tend to sprout canker sores when they are deficient in sleep and women sometimes get them near menstruation.
  • Acid - citrus fruits and cooked tomatoes in particular.
  • Microorganisms - no particular type has been recognized as the origin.
  • Allergic reaction - there are a number of common food allergens, including dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
  • Injury - from sharp foods such as various chips and pretzels, pointed edges on braces, or merely from biting your cheek or lip.

How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

Two basic approaches to stopping canker sores

  1. Treat the symptoms to lessen pain and help the sore heal.
  2. Treat the root cause by changing your daily life so they don't return.

I like the second one better, don't you? Plus, it complements the first one because when you stop doing some of the things that produce your sores in the first place, the sores will heal quicker. This makes sense, doesn't it? You want to treat the symptoms and the cause. If you only treat the symptoms, the little buggers will return again later.

Treating the Symptoms

If you're experiencing a mouth ulcer right now, there are some things available to ease the soreness and to make it disappear.

  1. Anesthetize it -There are numerous over-the-counter and prescription treatments available, like CankerAid, Anbesol and Oragel, which are designed to numb your mouth sore to take the sting away. Unfortunately these products tend to numb the surrounding tissue too and don't do anything to help these mouth ulcers heal.
  2. Torch it - Fighting fire with fire. Putting salt on a sore will hurt, although it does appear to help heal them. Some folks employ alcohol-based mouthwashes or peroxide with some success.
  3. Shield it - Still other preparations are designed to coat the sore (which isn't easy because of the moist, slippery nature of the mouth) to avert additional damage and to allow it to go away by itself.

A product called CankerMelts, which is designed specifically for mouth sores, covers them by means of a candy-like tablet that contains licorice root and sticks to the ulcers. It shields the sores from injury, dulls the pain and helps heal them.

Licorice root is a plant that research has shown to help heal canker sores. This type of licorice is not the same as the type used in candies, which is made with anise, not licorice root (at least in the US).

Treating the Root Cause(s)

  1. Toss your toothpaste - this step will most likely ameliorate the problem more than anything else on this list. The standard toothpaste you get in your local supermarket has sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a chemical that has been implicated in canker sore development. SLS is a compound found in shampoos and toothpastes that is used for its foam making ability. Regrettably, it also strips away a shielding film (called mucin) in the mouth when exposed to it repeatedly. Thankfully, there are a number of superior toothpastes without SLS that are widely available.
  2. Chill out - get more sleep, go for a walk, meditate, stop eating junk, etc. Lessen the stresses in your life and your canker sores will diminish.
  3. Avoid acidic foods - lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, cooked tomatoes, etc. are all acidic. The more you eat these, the more likely you'll get canker sores. Of course, you can eat them sometimes, just not on a regular basis.
  4. Stop eating - referring to the list of food allergens above, steer clear of these specific foods for a while and see if the sores fade away. After that, keep a detailed account of what you eat and re-introduce them one at a time to spot which one may be causative to your mouth sores.
  5. Kill 'em - Unhealthy bacteria, that is. Not a lot to do here besides maintaning a clean mouth by brushing regularly and not kissing the dog. A particularly interesting mouth sore treatment has to do with ingesting yogurt that includes beneficial bacteria. Some folks swish the yogurt around in their mouths before swallowing to influence the balance of good bacteria in the mouth. Ingesting yogurt also helps the intestinal tract in much the same way. Reducing the "bad" bacteria in your intestines has the extra advantage of lessening the strain on your body.
  6. Stop hurting yourself - steer clear of sharp-edged snacks like potato chips or hard snacks like pretzels and utilize wax to cover jagged edges on braces.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      Thank you so much....

      Was a great article

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I have a canker sore and I have been reading about how to get rid of my canker sore but this website helps me and gives me good tips.

    • BJBenson profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Thank you. I didn't know about the toothpaste.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)