Does Putting Salt on Canker Sore Help?

Canker sores can be frustrating and painful. Are you wondering if putting salt on canker sores will help deal with them? Well, this article is for you. Keep reading to learn about canker sores and if the remedy lies in a saline solution.

What Is a Canker Sore and What Is the Cause?

A canker sore is painful ulceration on the mouth’s soft tissues. They are usually caused by injury to the mouth or by a virus. The most common symptom is pain, which can be severe enough to interfere with eating, drinking, and speaking.

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, can occur anywhere in the mouth.

What Causes Canker Sores

We don’t know exactly what causes canker sores, but be rest assured that they’re not contagious and can’t be spread via saliva.

They might appear as a result of an injury, like, say, you accidentally bit your cheek during a run, or your braces were to rub against the inside of the cheeks or back of the lips, but more often than not, they appear out of nowhere.

Various factors, including tooth decay, trauma to the mouth, dehydration, allergies, and stress, can trigger them.

Canker sores can also be caused by:

  • Lack of vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron in your diet
  • Hormonal shifts during the menstrual cycle
  • Genetics (It sucks, I know)
  • Sensitivity to the likes of chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, cheese, or spicy or acidic foods
  • Using a toothpaste product containing sodium lauryl sulfate

It is important to note that some medical conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases, e.g. ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, can trigger canker sores.

People with herpes and HIV/AIDS can also have canker sores due to their vulnerable immune systems.

Does Putting Salt on Canker Sore Help?

The answer is yes. Salt can help with a canker sore, but it’s not the only thing that will do the trick. Let’s look at what salt does and how it helps with canker sores.

Salt has been used as a home remedy for many years to cure canker sores and other discomforts in the mouth. It is thought that this is due to its antibacterial and pain-relieving properties.

Salt is an essential mineral that our body needs to function properly. It helps to regulate blood pressure, supports the immune system, and maintains electrolyte balance in the body.

What does this have to do with canker sores? Salt also helps heal wounds by drawing water out of them and reducing swelling. When there is less water in the area of inflammation, it becomes easier for cells to regenerate faster and heal more quickly.

It is worth noting that the saltwater solution should be applied directly to the sore, but it should not be swallowed because it could cause other problems.

You should not use salt if you have high blood pressure or are on a low-sodium diet because it will worsen your condition.

Salt Water Gargle for Canker Sore Relief

Making saltwater solutions at home is quite simple and easy to do. Adults of all ages and children over 6 years old can use it. The exceptions would be children under 6 and anyone who has trouble gargling.

How to Make Saltwater Solution

  • Mix around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt into every 8 ounces of water.

The water should be warm as warm water is more helpful when relieving mouth pain. It’s also generally more pleasant.

But if you prefer cold water, the procedure will not be less effective.

Warm water also helps dissolve the salt easily.

Better salt dissolving might be ideal if you’re using coarse sea salts or kosher salts instead of iodized or table salts. Salt can be used to prepare your solution for saltwater gargles.

How It Is Done

Try to gargle the water in the back of your throat for as long as possible.

Ensure you swish the water around the mouth and teeth.

Spitting out the water into a sink is recommended when you’re done.

It is not advised to swallow.

You should be careful about doing multiple mouth rinses daily and swallowing too much salt water, as it can dehydrate you. 3-4 times daily is enough.

Drinking too much salt water can trigger health risks, such as calcium deficiency and high blood pressure.

You could try to improve the taste, try adding: honey, lemon, ginger, garlic, and other herbs.

What Are the Best Remedies to Treat a Canker Sore?

The only way to cure a canker sore is with time and patience.

There are many other treatments available to help with this condition as well. One of the most common is liquid Benadryl which reduces inflammation and promotes healing. Doctors also prescribe antibiotics to fight infection.

OTC and prescription products like pastes, creams, gels, or liquids may help with the pain and expedite healing if applied to individual sores immediately after they appear. Some products have effective ingredients like:

  • Benzocaine (Anbesol, Orabase, Kank-A, Zilactin-B)
  • Fluocinonide (Vanos, Lidex)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (Orajel Antiseptic Mouth Sore Rinse, Peroxyl)

A Doctor could prescribe a nutritional supplement like folic acid, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, or zinc to help with your recovery.

Other Ways to Deal With Canker Sores:

  • Rinse your mouth using salt water or baking soda rinse. Do this by dissolving 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 cup of warm water).
  • Dab a little amount of milk of magnesia on your sore a few times a day.
  • Stay clear of abrasive, acidic, or spicy foods that can cause further irritation and pain.
  • Apply ice. Let the ice chips slowly dissolve over the sores.
  • You need to brush your teeth gently, using a soft brush and foaming-agent-free toothpaste, e.g. Biotene or Sensodyne ProNamel.

Note: If the canker sore becomes unusually large, lasts for two weeks or more, extends to your lips, makes it very difficult to eat or drink, or if you’ve started developing a fever, please seek the advice of your primary care doctor, a dentist, or dermatologist as soon as possible.

Before you visit a doctor, it is important to take note of the following:

  • Take note of your symptoms, including when they may have improved or worsened over time.
  • Take note of all your medications, including OTC medications, vitamins, and other supplements, and the doses you have followed.
  • Take note of other medical conditions to see if they relate to your symptoms.
  • Take note of details about your personal life, including any recent changes that might have occurred or emotional stressors in your life.
  • Take note of questions to ask your doctor or dentist. That way, you have a clearer understanding of your symptoms.


You can avoid canker sores using the following tips:

  • Ensure you brush and floss after meals to keep your mouth clean and free of food particles.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to prevent irritation to your gums and mouth.
  • Make sure you use orthodontic waxes to cover up sharp edges on braces or other dental devices.
  • Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation and yoga.
  • Keep a food diary. You could find connections between when canker sores appear and what you eat.

I hope you found this piece instructive. If you found it helpful, kindly share and drop a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

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