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Try Baking Soda for Canker Sore Relief

Updated on May 9, 2016

Baking Soda Is One of the Best Canker Sore Treatments

Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is one item you and your home cannot do without. This cheap, natural product has a myriad of uses, from baking everything from cakes and pies to cookies and pastries, to brightening your smile, soothing insect bites, green cleaning--even for cleaning your oven. It is also an effective and easy method of treating your canker sores.

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For clarification, canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are those small, flat ulcers, usually white or gray, that can appear on this inside of the mouth including the inner lips, cheek, tongue, under the tongue, gum area and roof f mouth (also called the soft palate). Some people get mouth ulcers as often as monthly or even several times a month and they can be a nightmare. The pain is often intense, so a big goal is relieving the pain and encouraging healing. That is where baking soda comes in.

Acid Neutralizer

One thing that baking soda does well is neutralize acid, making the body more alkaline and thus re-balancing the pH level. This is the main reason why baking soda is so popular as an antacid, and it is also why it is useful in zapping oral ulcers. Canker sores can sometimes be caused by eating acidic foods such as citrus and tomatoes, and even from drinking a lot of coffee, or eating a lot of chocolate. Then once you have a sore, the acid eats into the ulcer, causing more pain and inflammation. So aside from avoiding highly acidic foods, treating with baking soda can help neutralize all that acid. This will set the stage for healing to take place.


Baking soda also has anti-inflammatory properties. It may help reduce the swelling and inflammation of your mouth sores, just as it does when you get a mosquito or other insect bite.

Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal Benefits

Baking soda’s beneficial characteristics include anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. In addition to neutralizing acid, it can help shield ulcers from infection as well as improve your overall oral health by killing bacteria, freshening your breath and keeping your teeth sparkling clean.

How to Treat Mouth Sores with Baking Soda

It’s important to start treatment as soon as you first feel that mouth sore start to form. You have two treatment options and you can use both, if you wish.

Mouth Rinse – Start by combining a half teaspoon of baking soda and a half cup of water. Swish this mixture around your mouth for about one minute then spit it out. The inflammatory properties in bicarbonate of soda can help shrink the swelling and reduce redness. You can use this rinse several times a day. I recommend that you don’t swallow it. For one, it doesn’t taste very good, and two, it can cause burping and gas in some people (think about that burp of relief when you have indigestion). If you are hypertensive it is especially important that you do not ingest it because it is a form of sodium.

Topical Treatment -- Another easy option is to make a simple baking soda and water paste. Either with your finger or a Q-tip, apply a small amount to your mouth ulcer. Let it dissolve on its own and while it is doing so, do not eat or drink anything. Some people find that the paste stings a little when first applied, and large ulcers may be even more tender. However, the ouch should go away shortly and folks usually find that by the next day their sores are less inflamed and less painful and on the road to healing. Another benefit is that the paste forms a seal over the sore to help protect it and aid in healing. You can apply the baking soda every 3-4 hours until your ulcer heals.

Preventative Treatment

Chronic oral ulcer sufferers sometimes find they can lessen their outbreaks by practicing excellent oral hygiene, including using baking soda and water as a daily mouth rinse. This helps keep the oral cavity pH balanced and banishes bad bacteria. Some also like to brush their teeth with baking soda. This keeps the breath fresh, helps whiten teeth and neutralizes acid. Be careful if you opt for a drugstore toothpaste with baking soda. Many of them also contain SLS, which has been linked in several studies to canker sore outbreaks because it can be irritating and dry out the mouth, leading to microscopic tears.

Cheap Alternative to Drugstore Remedies

If you go to any drug store, most canker sore remedies will cost up to ten bucks or more. Why fork out all that money when you very likely have an effective solution right there in your pantry?


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    • profile image

      Wren 7 months ago

      My canker sores can be so bad that I simply cannot eat. My primary dr. ordered for me a simple topical lidocaine gel to at least allow me to eat. It doesn't last for hours, but allows brief total relief. It. Does. Work.

    • profile image

      John 7 months ago

      Once I make the baking soda paste how long though I need to let it set on my canker sore.

    • profile image

      Jay 9 months ago

      I had these sores all my life, sometimes I had 4 or 5 at the same time and a month would not go by without being unable to speak or eat properly for a few days.

      Then 10 years ago I found out on Google that I was allergic to SLS ( Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), used in most tooth pastes. Once I started using Tooth Paste without SLS - my canker sores went 95% away; sometimes I would get one, every few months, but they weren't as painful as before and didn't bother me at all.

      Now at this moment I have about 5, two on my tongue, which is so painful. I'm quite sure my new "friends" are related to my new mouth guard, which I've stopped using now.

      So perhaps you are allergic to SLS, so stopping using toothpaste with SLS will be a way to find out.

      Unfortunately I cannot mention my brand of toothpaste here, but it is a very common one found on drugstore all over. Tip: It also helps to re-harden Acid Softened Enamel. Better yet, you don't need $10.00 toothpaste for that.

    • profile image

      Felisa Naneth 18 months ago

      Thank you for this very educative information . I used baking soda in my mouth ulcer. The next day the sore was less inflamed and it was beginning to heal.

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 4 years ago from Dominica

      Very useful information; I had idea that baking soda had so many healing properties. Thanks for sharing.

    • vgdp101 profile image

      vgdp101 5 years ago from California

      Glad you found the hub helpful. My concern with the A&H toothpaste is that it contains sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) which some studies have shown can contribute to canker sores. So if you get frequent outbreaks I suggest gargling with baking soda and water and using an SLS-free toothpaste. There is one from Tom's of Maine Clean & Gentle forumla as well as Jason PowerSmile and The Natural Dentist.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      This is useful information. I never thought about using baking soda from the box - that little yellow box is full of great stuff. I know that other canker sore remedies are very expensive. The last tube I purchased was nearly $18 for a tiny little tube. I just about choked! Do you think that the Arm & Hammer toothpaste would be as effective as using the baking soda? Excellent hub. Thank you for sharing. -K