Natural Remedies For Mouth Ulcers or Canker Sores

Good oral hygiene (regular brushing, flossing, cleaning and dental check ups) is important in both preventing and treating mouth ulcers and canker sores. However, clinical trials have shown that SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) aggravates and causes mouth ulcers – so make sure your toothpaste does not contain this ingredient (all our toothpastes in the Shoppe are SLS-free).

Like cold sores (oral herpes), mouth ulcers and canker sores are most likely viral in origin. Therefore, the quickest, most effective mouth ulcer treatment is to eliminate the infectious agent that’s causing them.

Wild Oregano Oil Heals Mouth Ulcers/Canker Sores FAST

The best natural remedy to eliminate the infectious viruses that are the main cause of mouth ulcers and canker sores is to use wild oregano oil. Wild oregano oil is the MOST potent antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic (anti-everything it seems!) that I have come across in 20 years of searching and testing natural remedies. I am very enthusiastic about this herb and once you’ve used it, you’ll know exactly why.

Wild oregano oil can be unpleasant to use because it creates a very strong heat sensation whenever it’s applied to mucous membranes (nose, mouth, genitals, etc.).  It’s like a very hot chili pepper but, unlike a chili pepper, the heat sensation completely disappears after about 2 minutes. The results are so fast and effective that it’s worth persevering through the heat (and this from someone who’s allergic to chilies and never eats them!).

NOTE: Be sure to get my Free eBook: What You Need To Know About Wild Oregano Oil by signing up below.

However, in case you are allergic to wild oregano oil, I will also provide you with two other therapies that are helpful (they just take longer to work than wild oregano oil). But first, let me tell you how my family uses wild oregano to get rid of mouth ulcer within a few applications – but usually the pain is gone, or greatly reduced after just one application.

Put a drop of wild oregano oil onto your finger and apply it directly to each mouth ulcer or canker sore. Leave it as long as you can up to 10 minutes without drinking anything, although feel free to swallow (the intense heat sensation will last about 2 to 3 minutes). The longer you can leave the wild oregano oil in your mouth, the more effective it will be as a canker sore treatment. You should see results/partial healing after only one application of wild oregano oil. Continue treatment until your mouth ulcer symptoms are completely gone (usually 2 to 3 applications).

canker sore

Easier than this though, and equally effective, is to make a dilution of wild oregano. This greatly reduces the heat sensation and I use it this way for my kids. Adults can usually tolerate a 4:1 dilution easily, and 6:1 is great for kids. This means you use 4 drops of organic olive oil to every 1 drop of wild oregano to make a 4:1 dilution. For 6:1 dilution, it is 6 drops olive oil for every 1 drop of wild oregano. Store this dilution in a separate bottle as it is so useful to have on hand – not just for mouth ulcers, but use it exactly the same way on cold sores (herpes lesions), any kind of skin infection or infected cuts, bites, etc. I have tested this thoroughly and the diluted version works just as well as the full strength, but without the crazy heat sensation.

NOTE: When I talk about “full strength” wild oregano oil, I am not talking about the pure, essential oil of oregano (which should never be used directly on skin, or internally). I am talking about commercial brands of wild oregano (see my recommendations), that are already mixed with olive oil. Then when we prepare a “dilution” we add more olive oil as directed above.

My elderly aunt had not been able to eat properly for months due to ongoing mouth ulcers. Her son and his wife are both pharmacists, and had tried every treatment for mouth ulcers under the sun – nothing had provided any relief or healing. She was visiting me, and I strongly suggested she try wild oregano oil. She was quite wary of trying wild oregano since she’d recently had surgery for trigeminal neuralgia, and was afraid of somehow re-triggering the pain.

However, upon my repeated assurances and encouragement to listen to her own gut, she tried applying the wild oregano oil before bed, without swallowing it (she spat it out after 5 minutes). She couldn’t believe the improvement when she woke up the next morning (her mouth ulcers were more than 50% healed), and insisted we go out immediately and buy a bottle of wild oregano oil for her to take back to London! Needless to say, she’s used it ever since, and being able to chew and eat properly again has changed her life.

mouth ulcer

Become tuned to your body, and you’ll probably notice that prior to mouth ulcers erupting, your tongue, gums and lining of your mouth become quite tender and sore. Your taste buds may even change, and as a result nothing tastes the way it should. When you notice these warning signs, you can immediately gargle/rinse your mouth with wild oregano oil and you’ll probably avoid an ulcer sore outbreak altogether. Here’s how to use wild oregano as a gargle:

Take a sip of water; hold it in your mouth and add 5 drops of wild oregano oil to the water. Swish the oil and water mixture around in your mouth (especially where your ulcer sores or tender areas are) for as long as you can tolerate it. Then swallow. Leave the residue in your mouth for as long as possible (the heat sensation will last about 2 minutes). If you can’t tolerate the heat sensation, then drink as little water as you have to until it subsides.

DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Extract) Chewable Tablets

This is the second most effective soothing and healing mouth ulcers/canker sore natural remedy available after wild oregano oil. Licorice extract has both anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Unfortunately, you have to like licorice to be able to take these. Don’t get the ones flavored with peppermint, as they will aggravate heartburn.

Just suck on one tablet at a time (take as often as you need to), and hold the juice in your mouth and swirl it around for as long as you can before swallowing. Continue this process until the tablet is completely dissolved. If you like licorice enough to pursue this mouth ulcer treatment, you’ll get an instant soothing and lessening of symptoms such as pain, and the ulcer sores will heal a lot faster than usual.

If you have mouth ulcers and/or throat ulcers, you should also follow the Reduce Diarrhea Healing Diet (in Chapter 3 of my book Listen To Your Gut or see my Diarrhea Natural Remedy Page), as it eliminates all tomato-based and acidic foods (which greatly aggravate mouth sores). Also, go easy on spices, salt and sugar – basically, the blander the better.

Licorice has also been dubbed “nature’s steroid”, so you may want to check with your naturopathic doctor before supplementing with licorice tablets, capsules or liquid tincture as an anti-inflammatory, particularly if you’re weaning yourself off prednisone, Imuran or a similarly potent drug.

DGL increases the amount of mucous-secreting cells in the digestive tract. This improves the quality of mucous, lengthens intestinal cell life and enhances microcirculation in the gastrointestinal lining. For these reasons, DGL should work particularly well for those with the inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis.


Beneficial bacteria can also heal and control future outbreaks of mouth ulcers or canker sores. Clinical trials show L. acidophilus to be particularly effective. Mix 1/2 tsp. of Natren Inc.’s Megadophilus powder with a small amount of water (2 to 4 ounces). Take a sip, and then swish it round your mouth and gums and hold it in your mouth for as long as you can before swallowing. Take another sip and continue in this manner until you’ve finished the dose. As with all probiotics, take it on an empty stomach.


  • Apply a drop of wild oregano oil directly to sores and ulcers. Prepare a 4:1 dilution with olive oil to reduce heat sensation. 1 to 3 applications should completely heal mouth ulcers.
  • Gargle with 5 drops wild oregano and a sip of water if your mouth gets tender and you feel an outbreak coming.
  • Suck DGL lozenges (and swish the DGL and saliva around in your mouth) as often as you can until the mouth ulcers subside.
  • Follow the Reduce Diarrhea Diet (Chapter 3 of Listen To Your Gut or see my Diarrhea Natural Remedy Page for the diet) to eliminate acidic, sugary, spicy foods.

Pregnancy/Breastfeeding/Babies Guidance: I have used Natren probiotics while pregnant and breastfeeding. I have also given Natren probiotics to my kids as babies and toddlers (give babies ONLY Life Start – B. infantis – probiotic). I have used wild oregano oil topically with my daughter from 4 months of age, and very sparingly internally from when she was 1 year old. I have used wild oregano oil internally with my son since he was 3 years old. Herbal literature states that DGL should be safe to use while pregnant/breastfeeding, while regular licorice is not (it may elevate blood pressure). Wild oregano oil should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, if you just rinse your mouth and then spit it out without swallowing it, that may be okay – check with your naturopathic physician to be sure.

NOTE: Be sure to get my Free eBook: What You Need To Know About Wild Oregano Oil by signing up in the green box towards the top of this page.

What Causes Mouth Ulcers or Canker Sores?

A mouth ulcer is an open sore in the mouth. Canker sores (white or yellow sores surrounded by red inflammation) are a form of mouth ulcer. Most sores in the mouth occur on the inside of the lips or cheeks, on the floor of the mouth, or on the tongue. Mouth ulcers are usually harmless, but painful (especially when eating). Mouth sores are more common in people with diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease and mouth mucosal tissue is the same as that inside the intestines.