Understanding Canker Sores -- Treatment

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on May 10, 2019

What Are the Treatments for Canker Sores?

Canker sores generally go away by themselves, and in most cases, you can safely ignore them.

Many doctors suggest the use of over-the-counter analgesic ointments to relieve the discomfort of a canker sore -- such as ointments for a toothache.

Another option is to use a mouthwash, which will temporarily numb the lesions.

If your canker sore doesn't respond to over-the-counter or at-home treatments, your doctor may prescribe a topical medication containing a steroid for the inflammation, and a topical analgesic like lidocaine to relieve pain. Aphthasol, a prescription ointment described as an "oral paste," has been found to be helpful in some people by reducing pain and healing time.

If you notice certain foods cause your canker sores, avoid or limit those foods.

WebMD Medical Reference


The Mayo Clinic. 

National Institutes of Health. 

Chattopadhyay A. Otolaryngol Clin North Am, Feb. 2011.

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