These are those painful little sores located inside the mouth around gums, inside of cheeks and lips and around the tongue area. They are also known as Aphthous ulcers.
It’s unknown what exactly causes them though it’s suspected that stress and diet can play a big factor.
Are they contagious? No, they’re not like cold sores  can be, but they are commonly quite painful and may linger for 2 to 3 weeks.
Here’s my collection of home remedies to help treat them, be aware that some can sting quite a bit on the initial application since these little ulcers tend to be sensitive.
- Salt (stings): Apply salt directly to the area or rinse your mouth a couple times a day with a strong salt water solution.
- Baking Soda: Sprinkle directly onto trouble spot or make a paste of baking soda and water then apply. You can also rinse your mouth with a strong baking soda and water solution.
- Tea Bag (wet): Tannin from the tea helps sooth the pain, apply a wet tea bag directly onto spot and leave for a few minutes at a time. Use a fresh tea bag for each treatment (do not reuse). Can also help soothe the pain.
- Aloe Vera : Dab gel from a fresh Aloe leaf or pure aloe onto spot, can also help soothe the pain. Do this several times a day.
- Honey: Dab honey onto spot 2 to 3 times a day, can also help soothe the pain.
- Vodka, Rum or Whiskey (dabbed directly onto area): Will likely sting, apply alcohol full strength to the stain by dabbing it on with a q-tip.
- Listerine Mouthwash (original): Swoosh mouthwash around your mouth focusing on the troublesome area for as long as you can stand it (will likely be painful), do this a couple times a day until it’s gone.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (stings): Dab with this several times a day, although it stings at first it can help soothe the pain as well.
- Mix a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water, apply directly to spot.
- Dab Milk of Magnesia several times a day, helps soothe as well.
- Apply a topical dental gel such as Anbesol or Orajel, will usually relieve the pain temporarily.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of Milk of Magnesia (Maalox) with 1/2 tablespoon of Benadryl (two treatments), use half to swish around in your mouth over the area. Spit out, don’t swallow.
- Apply an ice cube or ice chips as needed, will help numb the pain.
Note: If it persists and won’t heal or is accompanied by a fever, make sure to see your doctor.
I used to get cankers quite regularly when I was younger (it seemed to be 2 or 3 times a year), but I haven’t had one for several years now. It’s likely because I grew out of them rather than doing anything to make myself immune to them (score 1 for aging!).