Coconut Oil for Canker Sores — How Does It Work?

Do you want to learn why using coconut oil for canker sores is effective? Give this plant-based remedy a try for those annoyingly painful mouth ulcers! Read on to learn more.

What Are Canker Sores?

Canker sores are medically called aphthous stomatitis or aphthous ulcers. They are painful oral lesions, or mouth ulcers, and may appear on the gums, tongue, or lips.

Coconut Oil as a Natural Treatment for Canker Sores

The other day, I woke up to discomfort and pain whenever my tongue touched my teeth. I stuck my tongue out at myself in a mirror and, sure enough, there was a tiny canker sore, no bigger than a quinoa seed.

I ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, and went about my day trying to avoid rubbing it against anything. I failed over and over again, each time sending searing pain through my mouth.

By dinner, it had doubled in size. That’s when I broke out the coconut oil.

As defined above, canker sores are small mouth ulcers that form on the inside of your cheeks, lips, or underside of your tongue. I have two places that they like to show up: the tip of my tongue and the upper inside of my lips, right over my canines.

Either place they choose to appear, they are excruciating and insist that my nice smooth teeth are actually more like fiery sandpaper. These painful and obnoxious little sores aren’t contagious like cold sores but they heal just as slowly.

Luckily, coconut oil works on both to change all of that, and I’ve been using it as my go-to natural canker sore treatment to reduce pain and inflammation.

How to Treat Canker Sores Using Coconut Oil

I put a spoonful of solid oil in my mouth, letting it melt over the sore. I swish it around my mouth for several seconds before swallowing.

Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and has natural healing properties. It reduces the swelling that causes these sores to rub against teeth more often, and it soothes the pain.

Coconut oil happens to also be antibacterial and antiviral, helping to heal those canker sores faster. I used it several times a day and two days later, my sore was gone.

Tip: If you can, get your hands on organic coconut oil made from fresh coconuts. It offers more beauty and health benefits since it’s not processed or unrefined.

How Does Coconut Oil Work to Get Rid of Canker Sores?

Coconut oil contains capric acid and lauric acid, which coats bacteria and viruses with fat or lipids to fight them off. As the mouth enzymes metabolize capric and lauric acid, they break down into fatty acid chains that are useful for viruses and bacteria.

The canker sore-causing organisms, then, attach to the said chains. They end up dissolving in the end since the fatty acid chains in coconut oil are actually protective of human cells only.

(Note: Not only can coconut oil help with canker sores, but it has a variety of uses that can help you in your day-to-day activities. Check them out!)

Other Natural Remedies for Canker Sores

1. Match Head

This is one of the most effective treatments I’ve used in the past. Light it, blow it out, let it cool, and then hold the charred head to your canker sore.

Don’t forget the “let it cool” part. It will still sting, but that’s the sulfur compounds going to work and killing bacteria.

Do take precautions when using this canker sores home remedy. Do not use too much or too frequently, or inhale or ingest, as excessive exposure to sulfur may cause allergic reactions and irritation.

2. Aloe Vera

In a 2012 double-blind clinical trial, subjects were randomly given a placebo and aloe vera gel for their minor yet recurrent aphthous ulcers. Results concluded a faster healing process, lower pain score, and smaller wound size on those who used aloe vera.

To use aloe vera for canker sores, swish the juice of an aloe leaf around your mouth several times per day for pain relief and to speed up healing.

3. Eat Better

Diet definitely affects how often canker sores show up. Nutritional deficiencies in vitamins B and C and iron may cause canker sores.

I usually get them when I’ve been neglecting what I know I should eat and going for the simple sugars too much. They may also be linked to food allergies.

Nuts, chocolate, and coffee may trigger allergic reactions that exhibit mouth ulcers as symptoms, especially in children. Try eating healthier to prevent canker sores.

4. Relax

Canker sores are also tied to stress and anxiety. You are more likely to get them when you are under some form of stress.

An enrolled trial published in 2009 studied the influence of psychological stress on the occurrence of recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS). The former was concluded to be a triggering factor for RAS, and the use of psychotherapy to help manage mouth ulcers was recommended.

Take some deep breaths, pick up meditation, do some yoga, or find some way to relieve that stress to keep your painful canker sore from growing in size.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix with water and rinse like you would use a mouthwash. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) kills bacteria and helps encourage healing.

Here’s a sample ACV rinse:

  1. Stir in 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup water.
  2. Swish the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds to a minute.
  3. Spit it out, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
  4. Try it daily until the sores go away.

Note: If irritation occurs, the pain worsens, or if sore size increases, stop using immediately and seek medical help.

6. Tea Tree Oil

You don’t want to ingest this essential oil, but you can take a Q-tip and rub a small amount directly on the canker sore. Or, you can mix 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with 1 cup of water, and use it as a mouthwash once or twice a day.

Tea tree oil has disinfecting properties that may numb the pain and help kill any bacteria that might be in and around the sore.

7. Baking Soda

Apply a paste of baking soda and water to the sore several times a day. The alkalinity of the solution helps neutralize the acids causing irritation and pain, as well as deter bacterial growth.

8. Onion

Apply raw onion to the sore for 15 minutes then rinse with water. Like the match, onion contains sulfur compounds that kill bacteria and help promote the healing process.

Small and localized, painful canker sores can still be debilitating. They can keep one from doing chores or focusing on work.

Try the above-mentioned home remedies for canker sores and see which one works best for you. Practice proper oral hygiene, too, so you can keep your mouth free of bacteria-causing diseases.

You can also try boosting your B complex vitamins for stronger immunity.

Important Notice: This article was originally published on July 24, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy at where all credits are due.