Natural Remedies to Treat Canker Sores on the Tongue

Canker Sores on Tongue

Imagine sitting down with your friends or family to have a delicious hot meal, only not to be able to eat it due to severe pain. That severe pain being a canker sore. Having canker sores on tongue can be a disturbing experience for you. It is so annoying that you can’t even smoothly perform your daily activities like eating or even talking.

Canker sores on your tongue can put you in a bad mood because nobody likes being in pain. Thankfully, here are some home remedies you can try to ease the pain and get you back to feeling like yourself.

What Are Canker Sores?

You’ve more than likely heard of someone say they have a canker sore, but not everyone knows what that means exactly.

Canker sores (Aphthous Stomatitis) are the tiny, painful ulcers that appear on your tongue, gums or anywhere inside your mouth (1). They are small abrasions that usually show up at the base of your gums or on the soft tissues inside your mouth.

Herpetiform aphthous stomatitis is another type of canker sores that appear in clusters.

Canker sores on your tongue aren’t contagious, and they aren’t a kind of herpes infection.

Signs of Canker Sores on the Tongue or Mouth

If you’ve never had a canker sore on your tongue or mouth, it might be hard to know what the signs are. Following are the common signs and symptoms of the canker sores.

1. Small Bumps

Canker sores appear as tiny, yellowish, painful bumps on your tongue. These sores have a clear border with the yellow or white center.

2. Swollen Lymph Nodes

Swollen lymph nodes can be a result of many health conditions, and canker sores on tongue is one of them. Lymph nodes swell when there’s an infection or trauma (2). When you start to get a canker sore, your lymph nodes may become swollen.

3. Canker Sores Develop on Soft Parts of the Mouth

It is noticed that the canker sores tend to appear on the soft parts of the mouth that move. The parts like tongue, inside of your cheek, or soft palate are more likely to have canker sores. You may also notice a tingling sensation in your mouth.

4. Fever

Canker sores are a form of being sick, so it’s not uncommon to experience an illness or just an overall general mood of not feeling good.

What Causes Canker Sores on Your Tongue?

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact causes of canker sores as so many different things could contribute to forming one. Some possibilities range from injury or stress all the way to a weak immune system.

Following are the possible reasons why you develop canker sores on tongue:

1. Injury or Stress

Stress or injury is a leading cause of most of the ulcers. Any injury or trauma to your mouth can develop a canker sore. People who wear dental gear or braces are more likely to develop an injury. Canker sores can also be caused by brushing your teeth hard or eating something that might bruise your gums and cause swelling and inflammation.

2. Nutritional Deficiencies

If there is a deficiency of zinc, folic acid, or iron, it can form a canker sore. Lack of calcium in your body is another cause. Calcium deficiency just makes this condition worse instead of causing it in the first place.

3. Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause canker sores on tongue and other mouth infections. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin B12. Kids might be more prone to getting mouth infections because they don’t always love to eat fruits and vegetables.

4. Weak Immune System

If your body isn’t all the way up to par, this means you are more prone to getting diseases. It’s not known why exactly having a weak immune system can cause canker sores, but it gets in the way of them being able to heal.

Home Remedies for Canker Sores on Tongue

Canker sores can be severely painful, but before you dose up on medication, it might be worth trying some natural remedies. Following are some useful home remedies to help you treat canker sores on tongue and ease the pain.

1. Eating Papaya

Papaya fruit is an incredible source of enzymes that can reduce inflammation. It also has high amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin C. Papaya is rich in fiber and minerals (3). Eating papaya is the best home remedy for canker sores.

Tips to Eat Papaya

  • Add a bowl with your breakfast
  • Eat papaya as a snack between meals

If you don’t have fresh papaya available, sucking or chewing on papaya tablets can help you overcome the nutritional deficiencies.

2. Hydrogen Peroxid

Hydrogen peroxide (4) is composed of only oxygen and water. It’s an affordable, all natural substance. Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used for small wounds and cuts.

In this case, it would be for oral use, so you would want to distribute an even amount of peroxide and water. Use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Use it as a mouth rinse and never swallow it.

Tips to Use Hydrogen Peroxide as an Oral Cleaner

You Will Need:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide 3% solution
  • Water
  • Milk of Magnesia (Optional)

How to Use:

  • Mix the equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide
  • Use the solution and rinse your mouth out
  • If you decided to use the milk of magnesia take some and dab it on the canker sores
  • Repeat 2 to 4 times a day for best results

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another easy home remedy for canker sores on tongue. Acidity is considered one of the possible causes of canker sores. Baking soda helps your body to balance the pH levels in your mouth and neutralize the acidity. You’ll know it’s working when the pain starts to go away and when the puffiness of the sores go away.

Tips to Use Baking Soda for Canker Sores

You will need:

  • Baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
  • Warm water 1/2 cup

How to Use:

  • Mix the baking soda and warm water together
  • Use the solution and rinse your mouth out
  • Do this 2 to 4 times a day for best results

Alternate Method:

  • Make a paste of 1 teaspoon of baking soda and very little water
  • Put the paste on your canker sore
  • Do this 2 to 4 times a day for best results

4. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been all the craze here lately. It’s not hard to see why. Coconut oil has incredible anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe the discomfort and pain caused by a canker sore.

Oil pulling with coconut oil can help you clear the bacteria and toxins in your mouth. This method will help you reduce the infection and promotes faster recovery.

Tips to Use Coconut Oil to Treat Canker Sores on Tongue

You will need:

  • One tablespoon of coconut oil

How to Use:

  • Put the coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 2-5 minutes
  • Spit it out. It’s best to spit it out in a trashcan because it can clog drains

If your canker sores are severe, you will want to repeat 2-3 times a day, if not once a day until they are cleared will be plenty enough.

5. Honey

Honey isn’t just for the bees and the bears anymore! It’s been proven to have many amazing qualities, including anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Honey can help to make you healthy, and it can get rid of your canker sore.

Tips to Use Honey for Canker Sores Treatment

You will need:

  • Cotton Swab
  • Honey

How to use:

  • Get your cotton swab and make it sort of wet
  • Wipe your canker sore with the cotton swab
  • Take a little bit of honey and use your fingers or another cotton swab to apply it to the canker sore
  • Do this 3-4 times a day for the best results

How to Prevent Canker Sores on Tongue?

Trying to prevent a canker sore from ever rising about might be easier than trying to fix it after it’s already shown up. Here are some tips you can use in the future to hopefully keep canker sores from ever coming out.

  • Use a soft brush and keep your mouth clean
  • Try to stay relaxed. Stress is the number one cause of ulcers and since canker sores are a type of ulcer stress can bring them out. Find hobbies that make you relaxed such as sewing, reading, writing, yoga, or walking
  • Keep a well-balanced diet. You need certain vitamins and minerals to continue to stay healthy. Keeping track of what you eat and the vitamins you put in your body will help you to stay well balanced
  • Stay away from sodium lauryl sulfate. In many people that have developed canker sores, this is a known cause
  • Be very careful if you wear braces or any dental wear and make sure you stay away from sharp edges
  • Avoid certain foods. Foods that are acidic, salty, or spicy are all triggers for canker sores. It’s best to eat these foods in moderation

Using all of the above tips will help you to have a cleaner and healthier mouth that is free from canker sores.

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Dr. David Cummings, MD

David Cummings, MD, is a medical reviewer and editor at Daily Health Cures. David received his medical degree from the University of Illinois.