Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Treating Mouth Sores: Tips and Remedies

Mouth sores are a common problem that can be painful and uncomfortable. There are different types of mouth sores, including canker sores and cold sores, and they can occur for various reasons. Some common causes of mouth sores include stress, injury, hormonal changes, and viral infections. While most mouth sores are harmless and go away on their own after a few days, some can be persistent and require treatment.
Mouth Sores

Types of Mouth Sores

Canker Sores

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small, painful sores that appear on the inside of the mouth, including the tongue, cheeks, lips, and gums. They are not contagious and usually go away on their own within one to two weeks. However, they can be recurrent and may require treatment to relieve the pain and discomfort.

Cold Sores

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus and appear on the lips and around the mouth. They are contagious and can be spread through close contact, such as kissing or sharing utensils. Cold sores can be painful and may take up to two weeks to heal. Antiviral medication can help to shorten the duration of cold sores and prevent them from recurring.


Thrush is a fungal infection that can occur in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. It is caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of yeast that is normally present in the mouth. Thrush can cause white patches on the tongue and inside of the cheeks, as well as redness and soreness. Antifungal medication can help to treat thrush.

Tips for Treating Mouth Sores

1. Rinse with Salt Water

One of the easiest and most effective ways to relieve the pain and inflammation of mouth sores is to rinse your mouth with salt water. Mix one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Repeat several times a day.

2. Apply Ice or a Cold Compress

Applying ice or a cold compress to the affected area can help to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Wrap a few ice cubes in a towel or use a cold compress and hold it against the sore for a few minutes at a time, several times a day.

3. Use Over-the-Counter Medications

There are several over-the-counter medications that can help to relieve the pain and discomfort of mouth sores, including topical anesthetics, oral analgesics, and corticosteroids. Follow the instructions on the label and consult a healthcare professional if you have any questions.

4. Try Natural Remedies

Some natural remedies may also help to relieve the pain and inflammation of mouth sores, including aloe vera gel, honey, and tea tree oil. Apply a small amount of the remedy to the sore and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing your mouth with water.

Preventing Mouth Sores

1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and use mouthwash to keep your mouth clean and healthy. This can help to prevent mouth sores caused by poor oral hygiene.

2. Avoid Trigger Foods

Some foods can trigger mouth sores, including acidic and spicy foods, as well as foods that are hard or crunchy. Avoid these foods if you are prone to mouth sores.

3. Manage Stress

Stress can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to mouth sores. Practice stress-reducing techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, to help prevent mouth sores.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Treatments

Topical Anesthetics

Advantages: Topical anesthetics can provide fast relief from pain and discomfort. They are easy to apply and can be used as often as needed.

Disadvantages: Topical anesthetics can cause numbness and may interfere with eating and drinking. They may also cause a burning sensation or allergic reactions in some people.

Oral Analgesics

Advantages: Oral analgesics can provide longer-lasting pain relief than topical anesthetics. They are available in different strengths and can be adjusted according to the severity of the pain.

Disadvantages: Oral analgesics can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and upset stomach. They may also interact with other medications.


Advantages: Corticosteroids can reduce inflammation and promote healing. They are effective for treating severe or persistent mouth sores.

Disadvantages: Corticosteroids can cause side effects such as weight gain, mood changes, and increased risk of infections. They should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional.


1. Can mouth sores be a sign of a more serious condition?

While most mouth sores are harmless, some can be a sign of an underlying health problem, such as an autoimmune disease or cancer. If you have persistent or recurring mouth sores, consult a healthcare professional.

2. Can stress cause mouth sores?

Yes, stress can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to mouth sores. Managing stress through relaxation techniques and exercise can help to prevent mouth sores.

3. Are there any home remedies for treating mouth sores?

Yes, some natural remedies, such as aloe vera gel, honey, and tea tree oil, may help to relieve the pain and inflammation of mouth sores. However, consult a healthcare professional before trying any new remedies.

4. Can I prevent cold sores?

While there is no cure for the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores, you can reduce the risk of outbreaks by avoiding triggers, such as stress, sunlight, and certain foods. Antiviral medication can also help to prevent cold sores from recurring.

In conclusion, mouth sores can be painful and uncomfortable, but they can be treated with a combination of natural remedies and over-the-counter medications. Preventing mouth sores by practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding trigger foods, and managing stress can also help to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks. If you have persistent or recurring mouth sores, consult a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying health problems.