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Canker sores can appear at any time and often for no apparent reason. Although over-the-counter treatments are available, some home remedies may also help reduce the pain and irritation and may promote healing.

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 saltwater 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.

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 a herbal dental gel made primarily of clove oil successfully manages pain when applied to the irritated part of the mouth.

3. Zinc Supplements

Deficiencies of iron, folic acid, vitamin B12 or zinc may be a cause of 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, and speak to your doctor if you think you may be deficient in any of these vitamins.

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.

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. If your sore doesn’t heal or it worsens, see your dentist or physician for professional care.