Updated at: 11-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Suffering from painful canker sores? You might have heard rubbing alcohol could be the relief you need.

This blog is here to investigate this theory and unpack all there is to know about using rubbing alcohol on canker sores.

Stick around, we promise it’s going to be a mouthful of information!

The Effectiveness of Rubbing Alcohol on Canker Sores

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Is rubbing alcohol a recommended treatment for canker sores?

Rubbing alcohol, commonly suggested as a home remedy for various ailments, is not an effective treatment for canker sores. In fact, applying it can lead to more discomfort rather than relief.

This substance serves as a drying agent and might prove beneficial for cold sores but certainly not for canker sores.

The confusion between the two types of oral sore treatments may arise due to their somewhat similar symptoms but make no mistake: they require different approaches towards healing.

Always keep in mind that unlike certain other remedies offering quick fixes – like scrapings off the white part or 24-hour heal claims – rubbing alcohol does not provide any expedited relief from these painful mouth ulcers.

Can rubbing alcohol help speed up the healing process?

Rubbing alcohol is not recommended for speeding up the healing process of canker sores. While it is often suggested as a home remedy, there is no scientific evidence to support its effectiveness in treating or healing canker sores.

In fact, applying rubbing alcohol to a canker sore can actually cause more pain and irritation.

Canker sores typically heal on their own within a few days without any specific treatments.

However, there are alternative remedies that may help alleviate discomfort and promote faster healing, such as over-the-counter ointments or gels, saltwater rinses, natural remedies like honey or aloe vera, and pain relievers.

It’s always best to consult with a dental professional if the canker sore persists or worsens for proper diagnosis and treatment options tailored to your unique situation.

Alternative Remedies for Canker Sores

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Over-the-counter ointments or gels

There are several over-the-counter ointments and gels available for the treatment of canker sores. These products often contain ingredients such as benzocaine or hydrocortisone, which can provide temporary relief from pain and inflammation associated with canker sores.

Benzocaine works by numbing the area, while hydrocortisone helps to reduce swelling and promote healing. These ointments or gels can be directly applied to the sore using a cotton swab or a clean fingertip.

It is important to follow the instructions provided on the packaging and avoid using excessive amounts of these products as they may cause side effects.

However, please note that these treatments are meant for symptomatic relief and do not cure the underlying cause of canker sores.

Saltwater rinses

Saltwater rinses are a simple and effective home remedy for canker sores. By mixing salt with warm water, you create a soothing solution that helps cleanse the mouth and promote healing. Saltwater rinses can help reduce inflammationalleviate pain, and prevent infection in canker sores.

Additionally, the natural antibacterial properties of salt can help keep the area clean and free from harmful bacteria.

To use this remedy, simply dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.

Repeat this several times a day to experience relief from your canker sore symptoms.

Natural remedies like honey or aloe vera

Natural remedies like honey or aloe vera can provide soothing relief for canker sores. Honey has antimicrobial properties that help prevent infection and promote healing, while aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce pain and swelling.

Applying a small amount of honey or aloe vera gel directly to the canker sore can help alleviate discomfort and speed up the healing process. These natural remedies are safe, readily available, and may be particularly appealing to those seeking an alternative to over-the-counter medications or chemical-based treatments.

Pain relievers

If you’re dealing with the discomfort of canker sores, pain relief may be at the top of your priority list. Fortunately, there are several over-the-counter options available to help alleviate the pain associated with these mouth ulcers.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can provide temporary relief by reducing inflammation and numbing the area. Topical anesthetics like benzocaine or lidocaine gels can also be applied directly to the sore for fast-acting pain relief.

These options can help make your experience with canker sores a little less painful while waiting for them to heal naturally.

When to Seek Professional Dental Care for Canker Sores

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If your canker sore persists or worsens despite home remedies, it may be a good idea to consult a dentist. Dentists have expertise in oral health and can provide guidance on the best course of treatment for your specific situation.

They may recommend specialized treatments such as corticosteroid ointments or antiseptic solutions to help alleviate pain and accelerate healing. It’s important not to ignore persistent or worsening canker sores, as they could potentially indicate an underlying dental issue that needs attention.

Seeking professional dental care can ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment and relief from discomfort caused by canker sores.


In conclusion, while rubbing alcohol may be commonly suggested as a home remedy for canker sores, it is not an effective treatment and can actually cause more pain. It’s important to explore alternative remedies such as over-the-counter ointments, saltwater rinses, or natural options like honey or aloe vera.

If your canker sore persists or worsens, it’s always best to seek professional dental care for specialized treatments and proper guidance.

Remember to prioritize your oral health and choose safe and proven methods of relieving discomfort from canker sores.