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Canker sores can appear at any time and often for no apparent reason. Although over-the-counter treatments are available, home remedies may also reduce the pain and irritation and promote healing. Here are some suggestions on how to get rid of canker sores naturally.

Remember to consult your dentist if you have concerns about your oral health, as home treatments do not replace professional care.

1. Salt Water

A salt water rinse may help dry out canker sores. Dissolve one teaspoon of regular household salt in half a cup of warm water and swirl the solution around your mouth for 15 to 30 seconds before spitting it out. You can continue to rinse with salt water every few hours if needed.

2. Clove Oil

Canker sores can be painful, and clove oil has been known to provide relief for mouth pain. A study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry reports that an herbal dental gel made primarily of clove oil successfully manages pain when applied to the irritated part of the mouth. You can buy a bottle of clove oil at your local pharmacy.

3. Zinc Supplements

Deficiencies of iron, folic acid, vitamin B12 or zinc can cause canker sores. Taking zinc supplements may reduce the frequency of your canker sores and boost your immune system. When taking zinc supplements, always follow the supplier’s directions.

4. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera may reduce the pain caused by canker sores and speed up the healing process. Apply gel from the plant directly to the canker sore or drink aloe vera juice. Aloe vera may also treat other oral ailments, like chapped lips and cold sores.

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is antimicrobial and fights against some of the harmful strains of bacteria in the mouth. Swishing a tablespoon of coconut, sesame or other edible oil in the mouth is an ancient practice known as oil pulling. A study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine finds that swishing coconut oil daily reduces plaque and that the oil’s lauric acid helps with sores.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for a variety of ailments. Its ability to destroy bacteria may help clear up your canker sore. However, the vinegar may sting when it comes in contact with the sore, so try another remedy if you’re experiencing pain. Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into one cup of water and rinse with the solution for 30 seconds to one minute. After spitting, rinse your mouth with plain water to prevent the vinegar from damaging your tooth enamel. Only rinse with apple cider vinegar once a day.

When you’re looking for how to get rid of canker sores naturally, you’ll see there are a variety of treatments available. What works for one person may not work for another, so don’t be afraid to try different natural remedies. If your sore doesn’t heal or it worsens, see your dentist or physician for professional care.