Aphthous ulcers, more commonly known as canker sores, are usually quite painful. Unlike cold sores which are caused by the herpes virus, canker sores are found inside the mouth along the soft surfaces and aren’t contagious. Surrounded by a red border, they can be grayish, yellow, or white, they vary from small to big. Herpetiform canker sores are tiny and develop in clusters of 10-100.
While the exact cause of these mouth sores is unknown, they usually develop after an injury to the mouth, for example, brushing your teeth too hard, and a lot of people find that stress triggers them. Mouth ulcers can also be caused by bacteria and nutrient deficiencies like vitamin B12, zinc, or iron.
Canker sores go away by themselves and can last anything from a week to 6 weeks depending on the severity (1). You can, however, speed up the healing and decrease the pain by using a tea bag for canker sores.
How does Using a Tea Bag for Mouth Ulcers Help?
The benefits come from what’s inside the tea bag. Tannins and other nutrients from the tea help in the following ways:
Tannins are antimicrobial.
Certain teas can reduce pain and inflammation.
Teas have healing properties that can not only speed up the healing of your mouth sores but help for some of the possible causes.
Tea bags are a very cost-effective home remedy since most people already have tea in their kitchens.
How to Use Tea Bag for Canker Sores
While you can go and get over-the-counter (OTC) medications or ointments for canker sores and take pain medication, these are not methods that can be used for an extended period of time as they have side effects. Pain medications are especially harmful to your liver over time. Tea bags are cheap and effective without the side effects.
Use these remedies two to three times a day until your canker sore is gone. You can also alternate them with these remedies for canker sores.
1. Tea Bag for Mouth Sores
Using tea bags for canker sores is quite simple. You must just remember to let them cool down first or pop them in the refrigerator for a few minutes before putting them on your canker sore. Heat will hurt and inflame the canker sore. Simply take a wet used tea bag and put it on your ulcer for 15-20 minutes.
2. Tea for Canker Sores
Making yourself a cup of tea is a great way to obtain a tea bag and drinking tea itself is also an effective way to soothe and get rid of your canker sore. As with the tea bag, make sure that your tea isn’t too hot. In fact, drink a delicious cup of tea while you wait for the tea bag to cool.
Teas that help for canker sores:
Black tea: Black tea is one of the teas that contain the most tannins and is good for gut health which is necessary for the proper absorption of nutrients (2, 3). Black tea is also great for relieving stress.
Green tea: Green tea has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (4). Green tea also contains L-theanine which is an amino acid that helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
Oolong tea: Like black tea, oolong tea is high in tannins (2).
Turmeric tea: Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties (5). You can find standalone turmeric tea or as part of various tea blends at health shops or online.
Chai tea: Chai spices are ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and cardamom and often paired with turmeric for the amazing health benefits. The chai spices are anti-inflammatory and they are antibacterial too (6, 7, 8, 9, 10). You can also find them as standalone teas. Usually, chai tea is made with black tea as the base, but you can find just about any chai tea blend.
White tea: White tea is also full of tannins and has benefits for your oral health all round (11).
You can also find the tea leaves in stores if you prefer that, but using a tea bag for canker sores is a convenient and effective treatment.
Tips and Precautions
Minor canker sores are easily treated at home, but if you have a major canker sore which is larger and deeper, it might be extremely painful. If this is the case, you may need some medical treatment.
Keep an eye out for swelling or a fever. These are an indication that you may have developed an infection.
Keep your mouth clean. You should still brush your teeth twice a day and floss every day, but be gentle.
Avoid alcohol, smoking, spicy foods, and hot foods as these irritate your canker sores.
Eat a healthy diet. Be sure to include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. This will help to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common cause of mouth ulcers. If you are vegan you need to take a B12 supplement. If you don’t eat meat regularly, you may also need a B12 supplement.
Be careful when you brush your teeth or drink or eat hot beverages and food. Brushing too hard, accidentally biting the inside of your cheeks or tongue, and burning yourself when eating or drinking can cause canker sores. If you constantly bite yourself accidentally, see a dentist, your teeth or jaw may be misaligned and in many cases, this can be corrected.
Stress is a common cause of mouth ulcers for many. Drinking a soothing cup of ginger, chamomile, or green tea can help. Make time to relax and do things that you enjoy. If you have too much on your plate, see which tasks you can delegate. Exercise and meditation are also effective ways to reduce stress.
Jane Scott grew up on a farm in California and is a crossover between a country girl and an evangelist for healthier living. She’s a nutritionist who preaches that healthy living need not be complicated.
She believes that by exercising regularly, eating mostly non-processed foods (with plenty of vegetables), and using home remedies for the small things and doctor’s advice for the big things, almost anybody can feel great and live a happier and healthier life. She’s excited to share her knowledge of natural remedies and healthier living on HRFL.
In her spare time, Jane enjoys cooking and watching bad rom-coms. She also loves nuts, and is a bit of a nut herself when it comes to Yoga, which she’s a little too obsessed with in the opinion of her friends and family.