Canker sores are painful and can be difficult to deal with because of their location on the tongue, gums, or inside of the cheeks. They can become even more irritated if they are near a tooth or in the way while brushing. While canker sores usually heal within one week, they can cause significant discomfort during that time. The good news is that there are simple ways to treat canker sores to relieve the pain and help heal them more quickly.

Use a Soft Toothbrush

There is nothing more irritating to a canker sore than vigorous brushing with a stiff toothbrush. Instead, use a soft toothbrush and brush gently; most dentists recommend using a soft or extra-soft toothbrush all the time. Although you may experience some pain with even softer bristles, this prevents causing more discomfort and prolonging the healing process.

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Rinse Your Mouth

Rinse your mouth often when you have a canker sore, preferably with a mouthwash that has antiseptic properties. This will reduce the chance of infection and will also numb the pain. A mixture of a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water is a suitable alternative to store-bought options. If you have a lot of canker sores, your doctor may prescribe a rinse with a steroid that reduces inflammation or lidocaine to numb the area.

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Use a Medicated Gel

Depending on the location of the canker sore, eating and even talking may be painful. A topical gel can provide relief while the sore heals. The gel will temporarily numb the area, protect it from spicy or acidic foods, and ease the shock should a tooth or other object bump it.

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Drink Chamomile Tea and Honey

Chamomile and honey are popular natural options for treating many health conditions and the combination can be effective in reducing pain and inflammation associated with canker sores. Honey can be applied directly to a canker sore, thanks to its antiseptic properties. You can also stir it into chamomile tea for a similar effect. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that address a primary issue of canker sores. Brew a cup of chamomile tea and use it as a rinse or soak a tea bag in warm water and apply it directly to the canker sore.

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Avoid Irritating Foods

Certain foods can irritate canker sores. When the sore is raw, it is best to stick to bland foods that are not spicy, salty, or acidic, as these foods can cause more pain and inflame the area, lengthening healing time. Stay away from hot peppers, citrus fruits, and salty snacks.

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Apply Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is great for sunburns, soothing burned skin, and many other ailments. It can also be applied topically to canker sores to ease irritation and reduce pain and inflammation. [Using] the gel or drinking juice made from the plant may even shorten healing time.

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Use Ice for Numbing

If a canker sore causes excessive discomfort, the best option may be to numb the area and ice can help with this. After slightly melting the surface of the ice, apply it directly to the canker sore. Only leave the ice on the sore long enough to reduce the pain — the heat of your mouth should warm the ice enough for direct application to be safe, but you don't want to get frostbite.

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Rinse With Clove Oil

Clove oil has a reputation for reducing pain. For canker sores, it works best when you first rinse the area with a sea salt solution. Then, soak a cotton ball in the clove oil and apply it directly to the sore to naturally numb the area.

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Take Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 has a positive impact on brain function and the nervous system. It also plays a vital role in the creation of red blood cells and can even reduce the pain associated with canker sores and the frequency of outbreaks. Take supplements or increase your consumption of B12-rich foods such as organ meats and fortified cereals.

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Try Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only does it taste good but it also can help heal canker sores more quickly. Apply coconut oil directly to the sore; you should start to feel some pain relief after a few applications.

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