How Do I Choose the Best Mouthwash for Canker Sores?

A mouthwash for canker sores.
Aloe vera is antibacterial, so it's used in some mouthwashes.
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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2014
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Mouthwash is a substance individuals use for a number of purposes. Canker sore sufferers often turn to the substance in an effort to relieve pain and promote healing. While mouthwash can serve as a valid treatment option, products containing certain additives like sodium lauryl sulfate and alcohol should be avoided. Some ingredients, on the other hand, can ease canker sore symptoms, such as herbs and antimicrobial agents. For consumer evaluations on marketed products, you may want to browse a few online consumer review sites.

Both homemade and pharmaceutical versions of mouthwash exist. This liquid substance is typically gargled in the mouth and then spit out. Individuals may use mouthwash for removing foods after eating, for better-smelling breath, or for treating painful mouth conditions like canker sores.

Canker sores are painful, raw spots that develop inside the mouth. Specifically, they begin as swelled areas that burst, after which they take on a yellowish, whitish, or grayish appearance. They are most painful when eating, as food rubs against the afflicted area. These common ailments usually disappear after about a week, but many individuals suffer from recurrent bouts.


When choosing a mouthwash for canker sores, sometimes knowing what not to choose is helpful. For one, many mouthwashes contain a substance known as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Some researchers believe that this substance can strip away a natural oral lubricant that protects the mouth from damage. Alcohol is another substance found in some mouthwashes that is theorized to have a negative effect. In some cases, mouthwashes containing these ingredients may actually facilitate the development of canker sores.

Some of the most effective forms of mouthwash for canker sores possess antimicrobial properties. These mouthwashes will typically advertise their germ-killing and bacteria-eradicating properties on their labels. Germs inside the mouth can irritate the canker sore, worsening pain and causing a longer healing time. Therefore, eliminating these organisms is ideal. Some mouthwashes are even specifically marketed as pain-relief mouthwashes, and these products will likely have extra-strong antimicrobial properties.

Mouthwash for canker sores with a substance called tetracycline may be of particular benefit. In some cases, it can numb pain for up to a day. Tetracycline is of further use in mouthwash for canker sores because it can also protect the sore from a bacterial infection.

You may also wish to use some natural supplements as a mouthwash for canker sores. Herb-based rinses like green tea or aloe vera juice are some of the most common homemade remedies for canker sores. In addition, retail products containing the herb Deglycrrhizinated Licorice (DGL) could prove useful as well. An even more simplistic remedy might simply entail sprinkling some salt, baking soda, or sage in a glass of water. Most of these substances can help counteract negative acidic buildup in the mouth, which will quicken healing.


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