Essential Oils for Canker Sores


Canker sores are usually painful and undesirable. They are wounds in the sensitive parts of the mouth. These sores are painful, and they can rob you of the joy of eating. But canker sore is a problem with remedy. One of the best home remedies for this condition is the use of essential oils. Some of the best essential oils for canker sores include;

  • Rosemary oil 
  • Bergamot oil
  • Lemon balm oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Peppermint oil 
  • Myrtle oil

Essential oils are healthy plant extracts. They have loads of medicinal and healing benefits, and they help treat canker sores. These oils have analgesic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that make them suitable for this purpose. 

There are different types of essential oils, but not all of them are useful for canker sores. This guide provides you with detailed insight into canker sores. It also offers a list of the best essential oils for its treatment. Besides, you will get to learn about the types, causes, and symptoms of this infection. Keep reading to gain all these details!

What are Canker Sores? 

It is common for many individuals to mistake canker sores for other common infections like cold sores. So, it is best to understand the concept of canker sores before talking about its treatment. It is one of the most common oral lesions around the world. 

Canker sores are also referred to as aphthous stomatitis or aphthous ulcer. It is a wound or opening around sensitive parts inside the mouth. They are typically around the inside linings of the tongue, gum, cheeks, throat, and lips. It can also occur on the soft palates around the roof of the mouth. 

The appearance of canker sores is unique. They often appear white, gray, or yellow with a reddish border. The susceptibility and prevalence of canker sores vary. Women are generally more vulnerable to this condition than men. Also, the level of susceptibility can be a subject hereditary. 

Types of Canker Sores 

There are three basic types of canker oils;

  • Minor sores 
  • Major Sores 
  • Herpetiform Sores 
  1. Minor Canker Sores

Minor canker sores are the most common and less fatal type. The diameter of this canker sore is typically between 3 to 10 mm. It can heal without scarring, and the lesion only lasts ten to fourteen days, even without treatment. 

  1. Major Sores

Major canker sores share similar features with minor sores. But the primary difference is that they are more extensive and more profound. The diameter is always greater than 10 mm, and it will leave a scar after healing. 

The lesions of significant canker sores can stay for months if there is no proper treatment. 

  1. Herpetiform Sores 

Herpetiform sores are usually small. They are not as large as the minor sore, with a 2 to 3 mm diameter range. But the primary feature of this type is multiple appearances of sores at the same time. 

You can have about a hundred small sores. They take a shorter time to heal up without scaring. Also, spot treatment might be complex in this case. Consider using the mouthwash method to apply essential oils. 

Causes of Canker Sores 

Understanding the causes of canker sores will give you an insight into the proper treatment. Besides, it will help you to know how essential oils are helpful for the purpose. The general causes of canker sores include;

  • Injuries in the mouth. These injuries can result from accidental bites, rigorous brushing, dental work, and other accidents. 
  • Acidic fruits (including citrus) can worsen the occurrence of canker sores.
  • Allergies and food sensitivities. 
  • Deficiencies in specific diets like zinc, folic acid, vitamin B12, and iron.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate-containing kinds of toothpaste. 
  • Presence of certain bacteria in the mouth. 
  • Hormonal imbalance and stress.
  • Smoking 
  • Crohn’s disease and other gastrointestinal diseases.
  • Compromised immune system and certain illnesses.
  • Oral cancers 
  • Certain drugs and medications like aspirin.

Symptoms of Canker Sores 

How do you differentiate canker sores from other conditions? The best way to determine canker sores from other infections is to understand the symptoms. The typical symptoms of canker sores include; 

  • Sores, which are usually very painful.
  • Pains while speaking, chewing and swallowing.
  • Gray or silver lining in the sores with reddish borders. 
  • Tingling, itching, and burning sensation around infected areas, 24 hours before the sores become visible.

More complicated canker sore conditions are accompanied by symptoms like;

  • Fever 
  • Sluggishness
  • General body weakness 
  • Swollen lymph nodes 
  • Sore spreading to different points in the mouth

Top Essential Oils for Canker Sores 

The pains that accompany the occurrence of canker sores are undesirable. Besides the fact that they rob you of the joy in eating, they can also make speaking difficult. 

The sad news is that canker sores can happen to anyone, regardless of gender or age. The good news is that you can mitigate the condition and get rid of the pain with simple home remedies. 

The use of essential oils is one of the best remedies for canker sores. These oils are plant extracts with proven analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. These properties make them helpful for canker sores. 

But it is noteworthy to mention that not all essential oils are helpful for this condition. Below is a list of essential oils with proven use for canker sores; 

  1. Rosemary oil 

Rosemary oil is one of the most common types of essential oils. It helps treat canker sores due to its rich analgesic and antiseptic properties. It is one of the best options if the root cause of the canker sores is stress. You will benefit from both the pain-relieving and medication effects. 

  1. Bergamot oil

Bergamot oil has a reputation for aiding the treatment of various types of sores in the mouth. It even works for sore throats and the likes. It is another valuable option when the root cause of the canker sore is stress. It has both analgesic and antimicrobial properties. 

As a bonus effect, bergamot will help you negate bad breath as it relieves the symptoms of canker sores. You can use bergamot oil alone or include it in a blend. 

  1. Lemon balm oil

Lemon balm oil is helpful for various types of mouth ulcers, including canker sores. It is beneficial because of its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It rapidly heals up the sore and prevents further infections. 

Note that lemon balm oil is quite different from lemon juice. Lemon juice is not suitable for this purpose because of its high acid content. As mentioned earlier, high acid foods can worsen the occurrence of canker sores.

  1. Lavender oil

Lavender oil is one of the most versatile essential oils. It is flexible in its use and applications. So, there is no surprise to find it on this list. This essential oil has high medicinal and healing properties which makes it helpful for canker sores. 

It has anti-inflammatory properties that help to limit spread. It also speeds up healing time and relieves pain. Lavender oil reduces the size of canker sores. Note that the best way to use lavender oil for canker sores is by topical application. 

  1. Tea tree oil

The tea tree is a plant with immense health benefits. Its use for treatment and healing started a long time ago. This plant and its oil extract help manage various infections and health conditions, including canker sores. 

Tea tree oil is notable for its potent antimicrobial action. It prevents the sore from further infections and complications. This oil will also help you to speed up healing time and reduce pain. Although tea tree oil is effective when you use it alone, it works even better in combination with other oils. 

  1. Peppermint oil 

Peppermint oil is another popular essential oil. Its role in the treatment of canker sores and other mouth ulcers is one reason for its popularity. This oil is similar to rosemary oil. 

It has potent antiseptic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Its analgesic properties help relieve pain and stress. The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effect will reduce further infection or spread of the sore. 

  1. Myrtle oil

Myrtle oil is not as standard as other types of essential oil. However, this less popularity does not affect its potency and use for canker sores. The use of this essential oil for treating various mouth ulcers is one of the ancient discoveries. Recent studies provide further evidence to support its potency in the treatment of canker sores. 

Myrtle oil has rich wound healing properties. Besides, it has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic effects that support its potency. This oil reduces the size of sores in infected individuals. It can speed up healing time and prevent infections that can result in further complications. 

The use of myrtle oil for canker sores is less common than other essential oils despite its potency. One of the reasons for this limited use is the scarcity of oil. Myrtle oil is hard to find and purchase. Besides, there are some safety considerations when it comes to using this oil. 

How To Use Essential Oils For Canker Sores

Using essential oils for canker sores is not rocket science. It is straightforward, as long as you have the critical oils of the right quality. You can use essential oils for canker sores as; 

  • Mouthwash 
  • Spot treatment 


One of the most effective ways of using essential oils for canker sores is using it as a mouth wash. Here, you wouldn’t be using a single essential oil. It requires a recipe of two or more suitable and compatible oils. It can also include other active ingredients like honey and carrier oils. 

There is no standard recipe for creating essential oil mouthwash for canker sores. All you need are high-quality essential oils mixed in the right proportion. The carrier oils will help with active dilution without compromising the effectiveness. 

Note that it is best to ensure proper dilution if you are creating an essential oil mouthwash recipe. Some of these oils are toxic when ingested. But the effect of the toxicity will be minimal with proper dilution in case you accidentally swallow it. 

Spot Treatment

Spot treatment is the most common application method of essential oils most individuals use. All you need is your preferred essential oil and cotton wool swab. You can still mix two or more suitable essential oils too. Take the oil with the swab and apply it directly on the spot of the canker sores. 

Please note that it is never advisable to use essential oil for canker sores without diluting first. You can dilute with suitable carrier oils. Nevertheless, spot application of these oils for canker sores is painful with or without dilution. 

Reduced concentration is especially vital in case of accidental ingestion. Besides, the skin and membrane inside the mouth are sensitive. So, a concentrated essential oil can cause irritation and other adverse reactions. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Canker Sores

Canker sores come in various dynamics. Do you still need further clarifications on certain aspects? You will find your answers here! Below are some of the frequently asked questions about canker sores;

Is a canker sore the same as a cold sore? 

No! Canker sores and cold sores are two distinct conditions. Cold sores occur outside the mouth, while canker sores are typically inside the mouth. Also, cold sores are caused by a virus (HSV) which makes them contagious. But canker sores are regular wounds and are not contagious. 

Can I cure canker sores overnight? 

Canker sores take time to build up and express themselves. So, it will also require time to heal up. All you can do is speed up healing time with suitable remedies. 

Can essential oils replace regular dental products? 

No! Essential oils cannot replace dental products like toothpaste. In fact, you cannot use these oils repeatedly for long periods. 

A Final Word From Wellness Nova

Essential oils have impressive health and medicinal values. They are helpful as remedies for various conditions, including canker sores. Canker sores are painful and uncomfortable and require proper treatment to get rid of them on time. 

Ensure you use high-quality essential oils for canker sores. Also, it is crucial to maintain proper dilution, especially if you are using the mouthwash method. Note that the use of essential oil does not replace professional medical advice or dental services. 

Article by:

Wellness Nova Team

Our detailed review has been contributed to by multiple members of the Wellness Nova Review Team to ensure the best research and highest standard of quality. Have a good or a bad experience with one of the products? Please let us know, we love the feedback!

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