If you want to know what the fastest way of getting rid of a canker sore is, it’s called Aromatherapy. Essential oils for canker sores are very effective remedies, even in wet and enclosed spaces like the mouth. Which ones are good at it, how they work and why, you’ll soon find out.
In this post, you’ll be reading about:
- The way essential oils can help with canker sores and mouth infections. How they work and why they’re so appreciated.
- Some of the best essential oils that can get you rid of mouth ulcers or canker sores. With pros and cons to help you pick the right one for your condition.
- Best ways to use these aromatic oils for a fast recovery.
- A few Aromatherapy recipes for canker sores in the mouth to try right away.
- Some more natural remedies to help you heal.
- Facts and symptoms of mouth ulcers and how canker sores are different from cold sores. Plus, some useful prevention tips, because canker sores are known to come back.
What Essential Oils to Use for Canker Sores and How, with Recipes
Canker sores are medically known as aphthous stomatitis. They are also known as mouth ulcers and/or aphthous ulcers. In French, they are called “aphtes” because the word comes from Latin (aphtha/aphthae). Originally a Greek word, aphtha means mouth-sore or thrush.
What are canker sores? They’re small superficial blisters or wounds found inside the mouth. Although their exact cause is not yet known, there are a lot of factors that can cause mouth ulcers.
There are millions of bacteria living on our skin and inside our bodies. The oral mucosa, just like the other mucous membranes, is full of bacteria. They live on the inside of the cheeks, tongue, gums and teeth. It is estimated that we have about 300 different bacteria species that live and thrive in our mouths.
I am telling you this because it’s simpler to see how easy it is to get an infection inside the mouth. A bite or a scratch can be infected right away.
Canker sores are not contagious, because they’re not caused by a virus. I will tell you more about the causes of canker sores in the last part of the article.
Whatever the cause though, mouth ulcers can be very painful. They can also force you to a certain diet while it’s healing away. Naturally, mouth ulcers heal on their own in 7 – 14 days.
Fortunately, there are a few good remedies out there that can speed up this healing time. Many people want to know how to get rid of canker sores overnight.
The truth is you can’t get rid of a canker sore overnight, but you can get rid of it in a week or less. How? You guessed it, with essential oils for canker sores.
How Can Essential Oils Help with Canker Sores in the Mouth
Why essential oils in the first place? More and more people use Aromatherapy to soothe their ailments. It can also improve their life quality. Aromatherapy is an accepted form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
There are many studies that show the oils can alter the mood by direct action on the nervous system. This means they can make us feel better, more optimistic, relaxed and less anxious. They can also help with insomnia.
Other studies prove that essential oils can speed up tissue healing. It’s been noted also that they can leave little or no scars behind. They can also help with premature aging, because they have free radicals scavenging properties.
Some oils can lower heart rate and dissolve cholesterol, and so on. In other words, they’re just very effective against many of our daily health problems.
Aromatic oils facts:
- An essential oil is a concentrated extract that comes from various plant parts.
- The best quality oils come from steam distillation. The essence can be extracted from resins and seeds, as well as blossoms, twigs, roots and leaves.
- Each aromatic essence has its own Latin name and chemical profile.
- The chemical composition of an oil can be influenced by a few factors. The soil, altitude, climate and harvest/processing method. They all matter for the quality and properties of the final product.
- Essential oils are not fatty; thus they don’t feel greasy on the skin.
- They are highly volatile, meaning they can evaporate very fast. This is the main reason for which they can be diffused or inhaled.
- They are also very sensitive to direct light, heat, UV rays, and oxygen. This means they could oxidize fast, especially if not stored properly. Still, some oils may last for years (4 – 5), while citruses can last under a year. Learn more about the shelf life of aromatic oils.
Aromatic oils are basically the immune system of the plant. These oils protect and nourish the plant and ensure the perpetuation of the species. Used to our benefit, essential oils are:
- Analgesic (pain relieving).
- Diuretic (boost urine production and promotes water and toxins elimination).
Given these effects, you can see why they’re so useful in getting rid of mouth ulcers fast. Applied to the affected area, they can protect from bacterial infections. They can also decrease the inflammation and associated pain.
The right essence can also speed up the healing process by boosting collagen production. That’ll help close the open wound faster and relieve you of discomfort. They can also strengthen the superficial layer of the skin. Still, there are a few safety words to be said about these natural remedies. Their improper use might aggravate a condition.
Some of the best essential oils for canker sores are:
- Tea Tree
Let’s see what makes them so and how can you enjoy their benefits safely.
1) Tea Tree Essential Oil
Botanical name: Melaleuca alternifolia.
- Tea Tree is among the best essential oils for canker sores. It has a broad antimicrobial activity. Thus, it’s being used for mouth infections, as well as the respiratory system and vaginitis. It is especially useful in these situations, as yeasts or viruses can develop drug resistance.
- Tea Tree can destroy many types of fungi, yeasts, and bacteria.
- The oil of Melaleuca can also stimulate the immune system. It encourages the production of white blood cells, which are a big part of the immune system. Inhaling Tea Tree essence can give your body that boost.
- The oil is also anti-inflammatory and pain relieving. It can speed up tissue healing too.
- If you want to know how to use Tea Tree oil for canker sores, it’s easy. Mix it with a carrier oil and apply gently on the sore. You can make a blend, from which to use daily; or you can make the remedy fresh, each day. Mix a drop of Tea Tree with 3 drops carrier, stir and then apply. More details on how to use all oils after this section.
- People with epilepsy and/or seizures should not use it without medical approval.
- It has cortisone-like effects, which can interfere with certain treatments.
- Avoid using it in large amounts, for a long period of time.
Why I like it:
Tea Tree essential oil is a good-for-all remedy. Its powerful antibacterial effects make it useful in all day-to-day ailments. It is also great for skin and hair care, not just for infections.
2) Clove Essential Oil
Botanical name: Eugenia caryophyllata.
- Clove is an excellent essential oil for oral health. It is often used by dentists to numb the pain. This makes Clove oil great for canker sores too, especially to relieve the pain they cause.
- It has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties that can protect from further infections. Being so concentrated, you’ll have to use it diluted. Otherwise, it can burn the skin. Some people ask if Clove oil can cause mouth ulcers. If it’s used undiluted, it can indeed cause damage to the soft oral mucosa. Bacteria can then infect it and you get the picture.
- It can also relieve inflammation, which is the first stage of the mouth ulcer.
- Clove oil for canker sores can speed up tissue healing and calm down the nervous system.
- Avoid using Clove oil for mouth ulcers if you’re on anticoagulants as well.
- The oil can elevate the blood pressure.
- Avoid using it on long-term without medical approval.
- Through direct inhalation, it can seriously irritate the nasal mucosa.
- Large amounts of Clove oil can be toxic to the liver.
Why I like it:
Clove is a very good pain reliever, there’s no doubt about it. A nasty canker sore or mouth cut may need a powerful anesthetic like Clove. On top of it, the essence is also antioxidant and calming for your nerves.
3) Lemon Essential Oil
Botanical name: Citrus limon.
- Citrus essential oils have proven to be great anti-ulcer remedies. They can stimulate the production of mucus. This mucus is needed to thicken the protective membrane of the intestines, stomach, and mouth.
- Lemon is very high in limonene, which is responsible for the above-mentioned benefits. It also has strong antibacterial effects. This makes it a good essential oil for mouth infections too.
- It can stimulate the blood circulation and speed up the healing process.
- You can use Lemon essential oil for mouth sores, as well as to uplift your mood. The scent of lemon is very refreshing and lively.
- Lemon oil can induce epileptic seizures.
- If the oil is cold-pressed/expressed, it will be phototoxic. This means it can’t be applied to the skin before or during sun exposure.
- Undiluted, it can also burn the mucous membrane and it has cortisone-like effects.
Why I like it:
Lemon oil is a great disinfectant and it can be used in almost any situation. From house cleaning to skincare, it can do the job. The oil can also boost digestion and relieve anxiety, not just canker sores.
Other essential oils for mouth sores/ulcers to use:
- Bay Laurel
If you’re a doTERRA fan, you can use the same oils I detailed, or you can go for one of their proprietary blends. If you want to know what doTERRA oil blend is good for canker sores, it’s called On Guard.
It contains Wild Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary. These are all antibacterial oils that can speed up healing and prevent infections.
If you’re a Young Living fan though, you could go for their Thieves oil blend for canker sores. It also contains Clove, Cinnamon, Rosemary and Eucalyptus. But it also contains Lemon essential oil.
How to Use Essential Oils for Canker Sores
The best results come when you use your medicines correctly. Essential oils are too concentrated to be used as they are. An efficient dilution comes from mixing them with carrier oils.
A blend can be more or less concentrated. Usually, the more concentrated version works well for the first days of a canker sore.
You can mix anywhere between 6 to 20 drops of essential oil (EO) per Oz carrier. Or it can be one drop of EO with 3 – 5 drops of carrier. Apply on the affected area and make sure you don’t eat or drink anything, for at least half an hour or an hour afterward.
Unfortunately, the saliva washes away a lot of the blend, so you’ll have to apply more often. This also means not eating/drinking for a long time.
But it can be done in the hours between meals, which will have to be very soft and as liquid as possible. Some foods (chips, peanuts, fruit juice, etc.) can further aggravate the lesion.
One study focused on using a mucoadhesive patch for canker sores. It was soaked in citrus essential oil and other excipients, like magnesium. They’ve noticed that the treatment works best this way.
The sore was protected from bacteria and the substances used stayed inside the patch. That way, they worked directly on the damaged tissue and sped up its healing and recovery. The discomfort was also less, as no water or food entered there.
If you can get your hands on a buccal patch, it’s great. If not, you could try a water-resistant plaster, but it will not hold as well. Don’t forget that you’d need it simple, not soaked in any pain-relieving substance. That is if you want to use essential oils for canker sore treatment.
You can also use hydrosols (floral waters) as a mouthwash for canker sores. They are derived from the steam distillation of the essential oils.
Simply gargle with it a few times a day, before applying your mouth ulcer treatment. Hydrosols are a lot milder than essential oils.
Essential oils can also be diffused. They’re the best at purifying the air and preventing viral infections. That’s also a good way of changing your mood or induce sleep. Depending on the space and purpose, you can diffuse 5 – 20 drops of essence.
If you want to know more about diffusing Aromatherapy oils, you can try these articles:
- How Does an Essential Oil Diffuser Work? What You Need to Know
- How to Use Essential Oils in a Diffuser (A Beginner’s Guide and FAQ)
- Best Glass Essential Oil Diffusers (FAQ, Reviews and Blends)
Essential Oil Recipes for Canker/Mouth Sores and Infection
Here comes the fun part! What can I put on my canker sore to get rid of it fast, you say. There are lots of remedies you can use on your canker sore to speed up the healing.
You can pick one from the following recipes or make one yourself. Feel free to replace some of the ingredients, if you want.
DIY Canker Sore Mouthwash Recipe
- Peppermint hydrosol: 1 Oz (30ml)
- Baking soda: 1 tsp.
- Lemon essential oil: 4 drops
Mix the oil with the baking soda, then add it to the hydrosol. Shake it well before use and keep it stored in the fridge. This natural mouthwash should last for 2 – 3 weeks.
Essential Oil Canker Sore Treatment Recipe
- Clove essential oil: 1 drop
- Bay Laurel essential oil: 1 drop
- Tea Tree essential oil: 1 drop
- Coconut or Tamanu oil: ½ Oz (15ml)
The carrier can be anything you have at hand. Coconut, Olive, and Tamanu are also anti-inflammatory. This property enhances the effects of the essential oils for canker sores. Apply this blend for 3 – 5 days, 3 – 4 times a day.
Concentrated Spot-On Canker Sore Treatment
- Eucalyptus essential oil: 10 drops
- Ravintsara essential oil: 10 drops
- Peppermint essential oil: 5 drops
- Olive oil: 1 Oz (30 ml)
Mix these oils together in an empty glass bottle. Place 2 drops on a cotton swab and apply directly on the inflamed, painful area. Apply 3 – 4 times a day, especially during the first couple of days. That’s when the mouth ulcer forms and is most painful.
Other Natural Remedies to Use for Mouth Ulcers
Natural remedies have been around for centuries. People would use herbs and various concoctions or infusions to soothe their ailments. Most of them are still effective, even today:
- Dissolve an aspirin in some water and swish it around the mouth for a few good minutes. Throw it away after you’re done. It’ll be full of toxins and bacteria.
- You can also place some high-quality Manuka honey on the canker sore.
- Pure Coconut oil is also a good antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
- Make a concentrated chamomile tea and swish it around the mouth for a few minutes.
- You can also use warm salt water to rinse the mouth with. It has antibacterial and disinfectant properties.
- Fresh, cold yogurt can also make a soothing compress.
Canker Sores vs. Cold Sores, Facts & Symptoms and Prevention Tips
Cold sores are caused by a virus (the herpes virus). It is also found on the exterior, around the mouth. The lips are usually their favorite place. Cold sores are highly contagious.
On the other hand, canker sores are neither contagious nor visible.
- They’re found inside the mouth (tongue, cheeks, palate, gums, and lips).
- They are superficial wounds.
- The shape of mouth ulcers/canker sores is round or oval.
The exact cause of mouth ulcers is not known. Researchers don’t know for sure whether the lesion causes an imbalance in the mouth microbiome (flora), or it’s the other way around. There are, however, many possible and plausible causes. One can get a mouth sore because of:
- A weak immune system.
- Diet (foods that scratch or are highly acidic).
- Food allergies.
- Family history.
- Biting on the lips or the interior cheeks.
- Brushing the teeth too vigorously.
- Dirty fingers around or inside the mouth.
- Vitamin deficiency.
- Hormone imbalance.
- Certain medicines.
Symptoms of Canker Sores in Your Mouth
At first, it usually itches, burns and becomes swollen and painful. This is a clear sign of a future canker sore.
When it bursts, it will sting and hurt with basically anything you swallow or put on it. It’ll have a raised margin and the color inside the sore is usually yellow – grayish.
You may feel pain while speaking too, not just when you eat and swallow.
What gets rid of canker sores in your mouth? Well, now you know it’s Aromatherapy and its essential oils. They can help speed up the healing of a canker sore.
Some of the best essential oils for mouth ulcers are antibacterial and pain relieving. You’ll have to make sure you’re not allergic to the oil you intend to use though. Test it first on a small portion of your forearm and wait for a few hours before using it.
Seek medical help for children, pregnant and breastfeeding women. Elderly people or those who are on medication or suffer from a disease must also talk to a doctor first.
Tips to Prevent Recurring Canker Sores
Canker sores have a tendency of coming back. There’s no guarantee you’ll never have one again, but you can make sure you’ve done everything right first.
- Avoid eating and drinking acidic and spicy foods.
- Coffee, vinegar and some cheese varieties can also aggravate or trigger a mouth ulcer.
- Take care of your stomach flora, eat lots of yogurt and pickled foods. They contain good bacteria that can maintain the gut flora balanced.
- Strengthen your immune system with a balanced diet (fibers, veggies and fruits, plenty of water, etc.).
- Diffuse antibacterial essential oils to purify the air you breathe. This also helps in strengthening the immune system and relieving stress triggers.
- Try to understand what triggered your canker sore so you know what to avoid in the future. If it’s stress-related, Aromatherapy is a good way of managing it.
Whether the canker sores are on the tongue or on the lips, you have a wide range of natural remedies available. You’ll just have to pay attention to what and how you feel to discover what causes it. You’ll also have to have a good oral hygiene, to prevent infections.
The good news is that mouth ulcers heal on their own. Thus, using essential oils for canker sores can make the process smoother and faster. Your general discomfort can be gone is as much as a week, instead of two.
How do you feel now about Aromatherapy oils? Have you ever tried them for mouth ulcers? If so, which one worked best for you?