Canker Sores

Also indexed as:Aphthous Stomatitis, Aphthous Ulcers, Mouth Ulcers
Pain caused by canker sores can make it difficult to eat, drink, or speak. How can you soothe the pain and shorten the healing time? According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

SupplementAmountWhy
Aloe
Follow label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
A gel containing the herbal Aloe vera polysaccharide acemannan may speed the healing of canker sores.
DG Licorice
Mix 200 mg DGL in 200 ml in warm water and swish in mouth several minutes, four times per day 2 stars[2 stars]
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) and warm water applied to the inside of the mouth may speed the healing of canker sores. Chewable DGL tablets may have the same effect.
Iron

(Iron-Deficiency Anemia)

Consult with your doctor

2 stars[2 stars]
Talk to your doctor to see if your recurrent canker sores might be related to iron deficiency.
Probiotics
Apply powdered culture topically several times daily and orally take 1.5 billion colony-forming units two times daily 2 stars[2 stars]
Topical and/or oral use of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus may help people with recurrent canker sores.
Vitamin B-Complex
300 mg B1 daily, 20 mg B2 daily, 150 mg B6 daily2 stars[2 stars]
People with recurrent canker sores may have a B vitamin deficiency. Supplementing with vitamins B1, B2, and B6 has been reported to provide relief.
Zinc
150 mg daily plus 1 to 2 mg of copper per day to prevent copper deficiency 2 stars[2 stars]
Zinc deficiency has been linked with recurrent canker sores, so treating the deficiency may lead to relief. Long-term zinc supplementation requires extra copper to avoid deficiency.
Agrimony
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Agrimony is an astringent herb that can be used as a mouth rinse to soothe the pain of canker sores. The herb contains tannins that can bind up fluids and possibly relieve inflammation.
Chamomile
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Chamomile has healing properties and swishing a tincture made of strong tea may have a soothing effect on the lining of the mouth.
Cranesbill
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Cranesbill is an astringent herb that can be used as a mouth rinse to soothe the pain of canker sores. The herb contains tannins that can bind up fluids and possibly relieve inflammation.
Echinacea
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
The antiviral, immune-enhancing, and wound-healing properties of echinacea may make this herb a reasonable choice for canker sores.
Goldenseal
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Goldenseal has been used historically as a mouthwash to help heal canker sores.
Myrrh
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Myrrh is a traditional remedy with wound-healing properties that has a long history of use for mouth and gum irritations.
Oak
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Oak is an astringent herb that can be used as a mouth rinse to soothe the pain of canker sores. The herb contains tannins that can bind up fluids and possibly relieve inflammation.
Periwinkle
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Periwinkle is an astringent herb that can be used as a mouth rinse to soothe the pain of canker sores. The herb contains tannins that can bind up fluids and possibly relieve inflammation.
Tormentil
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Tormentil is an astringent herb that can be used as a mouth rinse to soothe the pain of canker sores. The herb contains tannins that can bind up fluids and possibly relieve inflammation.
Vitamin B12
3 to 1,000 mcg daily 1 star[1 star]
Recurrent canker sores might be related to vitamin B12 deficiency, but research has shown that even without deficiency supplementing this vitamin may be beneficial.
Witch Hazel
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Witch hazel is an astringent herb that can be used as a mouth rinse to soothe the pain of canker sores. The herb contains tannins that can bind up fluids and possibly relieve inflammation.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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