You may need further testing or a biopsy to look for other causes of mouth ulcers. Canker sores are not cancer and do not cause cancer. There are types of cancer, however, that may first appear as a mouth ulcer that does not heal.
In most cases, the canker sores go away without treatment.
Try not to eat hot or spicy foods, which can cause pain.
Use over-the-counter medicines that ease pain in the area.
Rinse your mouth with mild, over-the-counter mouthwashes or salt water.
Apply a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half water directly to the sore using a cotton swab. Follow by dabbing a small amount of Milk of Magnesia on the canker afterward. Repeat these steps 3-4 times a day.
Rinse your mouth with a mixture of half Milk of Magnesia and half Benadryl liquid allergy medicine. Swish mixture in the mouth for about 1 minute, then spit out.
Medicines prescribed by your health care provider may be needed for severe cases. These may include:
Stronger medicines called corticosteroids that are placed on the sore or take in pill form
Brush your teeth twice a day and floss your teeth every day. Also, get routine dental check ups.
Canker sores almost always heal on their own. The pain should decrease in a few days. Other symptoms disappear in 10 - 14 days.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if:
A canker sore or mouth ulcer does not go away after 2 weeks of home care or gets worse.
You get canker sores more than 2 or 3 times a year.
You have symptoms with the canker sore such as fever, diarrhea, headache, or skin rash.
Daniels TE. Diseases of the mouth and salivary glands. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: chap 433.
Chattopadhyay A, Shetty, KV. Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis. Otolaryngological Clinics of North America. 2011;44(1)
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.