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Simple Home Remedies for Tongue Ulcers

By Dr Siddharth Gupta +2 more


Mouth ulcers can sometimes occur on your tongue and give you tongue ulcers. These ulcers are usually red or yellow in colour and can be quite painful to live with. Tongue ulcers are quite common and usually go away on their own within a week or two. Tongue ulcers are not usually signs of serious health conditions but are uncomfortable.1,2People with tongue ulcers find it difficult to eat and drink anything.  

What Causes Tongue Ulcers?  

The exact cause of tongue ulcers is unknown, but some factors may contribute to the development of these ulcers, including: 

home remedies for tongue ulcers

  • Eating acidic foods, like oranges, pineapples, and strawberries2 
  • Dental procedures, such as filling a tooth cavity, can cause minor tissue damage 
  • Ill-fitting dentures and braces 
  • Rough dental fillings or sharp teeth 
  • Accidentally biting your tongue or cheek 
  • Allergic reaction due to some specific pathogens 
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency. For example, vitamin B12 and iron1,2 
  • Use of abrasive or harsh toothpaste 
  • Hormonal changes during your period (menstruation) 
  • Feeling tired, stressed, or anxious 
  • Lack of proper sleep 
  • Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections1,2 

Did You Know 

  • Iron deficiency anaemia, neutropenia and vitamin deficiencies can predispose individuals to develop oral aphthous ulcers. source: NCBI
  • Avoiding hard, acidic, and salty foods, as well as toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate, can help manage oral aphthous ulcers. source: NCBI
  • Mouth ulcers can be managed at home and usually clear up within a week or two. source: nidirect.gov.uk
  • Mouth ulcers can be caused by accidentally biting the inside of the cheek or a sharp tooth. source: nidirect.gov.uk

Symptoms of Tongue Ulcers 

If you have tongue ulcers, you might experience  

  • Swelling surrounding the tongue ulcer  
  • Teeth brushing increases the pain  
  • Pain that worsens while eating spicy, salty, or sour foods2  

Also Read: Home Remedies For Tonsillitis

Suggested Home Remedies for Tongue Ulcers 

Tongue ulcers are a common condition but can cause immense discomfort on a day to day basis. However, you can try these home remedies to control them and ease the discomfort.  

1. Coconut oil  

You can apply coconut oil to tongue ulcers. Coconut oil, when applied to the affected area, forms a protective barrier on the ulcer. It is highly effective as it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues. It is also effective against the bacteria that cause ulcers.3 You can put coconut oil directly on the affected area to rapidly get rid of the tongue ulcer.  

2. Saltwater    

Frequently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water aids in healing ulcers. You can mix some salt in warm water and use it as a rinse.2 

3. Honey    

Honey is known to possess wound healing benefits. It speeds up the healing process and can be used as an effective agent for the treatment of ulcers. Honey is non-irritant, readily available, and an easy-to-use remedy for ulcers.4 To use honey, you can rub some honey directly on the affected area a few times a day. In addition, you can sip on honey by adding it to a cup of tea.    

4. Chamomile  

Chamomile can be used as a local application to treat bacterial diseases of the mouth. Chamomile reduces the healing time of ulcers induced by stress.5 To use chamomile, you can brew chamomile tea and use it as a mouth rinse. You can also drink chamomile tea with honey to double the benefits.    

5. Aloe vera  

Aloe vera gel is known to promote healing in the damaged tissues and accelerate the healing process.6 You can apply aloe vera gel on the tongue ulcer to hasten its healing. You can also drink aloe vera juice to help teat the ulcer.    

Also Read: How to Get Rid of a Canker Sore: Evidence-Based Remedies and Tips

6. Vitamin supplements    

Ulcers on the tongue can also form as result of a deficiency of certain minerals and vitamins. Taking those vitamins and minerals as dietary supplements may help with tongue ulcers. For example, supplementing with vitamin B12 and iron might help with oral ulcers. 1  

7. Avoiding things that are causing your ulcer  

You can manage your ulcers on your own by avoiding triggers that cause ulcers. For example, eating spicy, acidic or rough foods, drinking very hot or acidic drinks, use of toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulphate, and eating a chewing gum should be avoided.  It will benefit the ulcer by providing benefits like  

  • Reducing the pain 
  • Accelerating the healing process 
  • Reducing the chances of reoccurrence.1 

Also Read: Does Honey Expire? Unveiling The Truth About Honey’s Shelf Life

When to Seek Medical Help? 

Tongue ulcers can affect anyone. However, you should seek medical help from your doctor if you have: 

  • Ulcers that last for more than three weeks 
  • New ulcers appearing before the old one heals 
  • Mouth ulcers that spread to other part of your lips 
  • Pain that is not relieved by medication 
  • Large ulcers, that appear unusual 
  • Painless mouth ulcers 
  • A fever 
  • Diarrhoea2 

Also Read: 12 Natural Remedies For Mouth Ulcers


Tongue ulcers are simply painful sores that form on the tongue. Tongue ulcers usually red or yellow in colour. These ulcers are   common, heal on their own, and usually do not indicate anything serious. You can use some household substances like honey, aloe vera, and coconut oil to get relief and to hasten the healing. Tongue ulcers don’t usually require medical intervention. Still, if you have symptoms such as fever, diarrhoea, very large ulcers, ulcers spreading to other parts of your mouth or ulcers lasting more than 3 weeks, you should contact your doctor.    

Also Read: Acidity Problems? 14 Home Remedies That Can Help

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) 

What are the home remedies that can be used for tongue ulcers?  

There are some common household items that can be used to manage tongue ulcers. Chamomile tea, honey, coconut oil, and aloe vera are among them. You can try a mouth rinse with warm salt water to speed up ulcer healing. If your ulcer is due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency, you could try supplementing those vitamins and minerals to help with healing. However, if your tongue ulcer is caused by an underlying health condition, managing the condition and getting it under control might is the first step to get rid of the ulcers. 1–6 

Are tongue ulcers severe?  

No, tongue ulcers by themselves do not generally indicate anything serious. Tongue ulcers are common and self-healing. However, if you have tongue ulcers that last longer than three weeks, new ulcers appearing before the old ones heal, fever, diarrhoea, pain that does not go away with medication, ulcers spreading to other parts of your mouth, or abnormally large ulcers, you should contact your doctor because it could be a sign of something more serious.1,2  

How can I prevent tongue ulcers?  

There is no known way to completely prevent ulcers. However, you can reduce your risks, by eating a rich and healthy diet (fruits and vegetables), using a soft-bristle toothbrush to avoid tissue injury, brushing your teeth twice daily to maintain oral hygiene, and visiting the dentist for cleaning and checkups.2 

Does rinsing with saltwater help with ulcers?  

Yes, rinsing the mouth with warm saltwater might help improve the tongue ulcers by acting as a healing aid.1  

Can I apply coconut oil on tongue ulcers?  

Yes, you can apply coconut oil to tongue ulcers. Applying coconut oil creates a protective barrier, accelerates healing, and fights bacteria causing ulcers. Coconut can apply directly to the affected area.3   

What if my tongue ulcer does not heal? 

If your tongue ulcer does not heal within three weeks, you should consult your doctor.2  

How to use honey to treat tongue ulcers?  

You can apply honey directly to the affected area. Honey is effective in managing ulcers as it speeds up the healing process.4 

Can I apply aloe vera gel on my tongue to treat ulcers?  

Yes, you can use aloe vera gel directly to the affected area on the tongue. You can also drink aloe vera juice to get the benefits and manage tongue ulcers.6  

Also Read: 7 Best Home Remedies For Throat Infection


1. Mouth ulcers [Internet]. nhs.uk. 2022 [cited 4 May 2022]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mouth-ulcers/

2. Mouth Ulcer: What Is It, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. 2022 [cited 4 May 2022]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21766-mouth-ulcer

3. Vala GS, Kapadiya PK. Medicinal Benefits of Coconut Oil. International Journal of Life Sciences Research. 2014;2(4):124–6. [Internet]. 2022 [cited 4 May 2022]. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268805677_Medicinal_benefit_of_coconut_oil  

4. Ylmaz N, Nlsbet Ö, Nlsbet C, Ceylan G, HoÅŸgör F, Dede ÖD. Biochemical Evaluation Of The Therapeutic Effectiveness Of Honey In Oral Mucosal Ulcers. Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences [Internet]. 2009 [cited 2022 Apr 25];9(4):290. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20001994/ 

5. McKay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita L.). Phytother Res [Internet]. 2006 Jul [cited 2022 Apr 25];20(7):519–30. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16628544/ 

6. de Freitas Cuba L, Braga Filho A, Cherubini K, Salum FG, Figueiredo MAZ de. Topical application of Aloe vera and vitamin E on induced ulcers on the tongue of rats subjected to radiation: clinical and histological evaluation. Supportive Care in Cancer 2015 24:6 [Internet]. 2015 Dec 23 [cited 2022 Apr 25];24(6):2557–64. Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00520-015-3048-3 

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