How Do I Treat Tongue Ulcers?

Baking soda mixed with a small amount of water creates a paste that is used to treat tongue ulcers.
Spicy foods can extend the life of a tongue ulcer and worsen its symptoms so they should be avoided when suffering from the condition.
Soft drinks and other beverages, including alcohol, should be avoided when suffering from tongue ulcers because they can cause irritation.
Rinsing with warm salt water can alleviate pain and promote healing.
Sores on the surface of the tongue are indicative of tongue ulcers.
Article Details
  • Written By: Nick Mann
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Although tongue ulcers are usually not that serious, they can be extremely irritating and painful. Simple things like talking and eating can become difficult with a sore tongue. People who would like to prevent these ulcers should avoid some behaviors and make certain dietary changes. In addition, there are a few treatments that should help clear up already formed ulcers, which include rinsing with salt water, applying a baking soda paste and applying a numbing gel.

Generally, instead of treating tongue ulcers, it is better to prevent them by avoiding certain activities, drinks and foods. Since stress is often the catalyst for ulcers, stressful activities should be avoided or at least kept to a minimum. Usually, doing some deep breathing or meditation will help to quickly reduce stress levels.

When ulcers are already present, alcoholic drinks and soft drinks should be avoided because they can cause further irritation. Also any foods that are spicy, highly acidic, or contain lots of sodium should be removed from the individual's diet. All of these things can worsen symptoms and prolong the life of the ulcer, and should therefore be avoided until the ulcer is gone.

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Besides avoiding these activities, there are additional techniques for treating tongue ulcers. One of the best methods is to simply mix a tablespoon (18.25 g) of salt with a small glass of warm water. From there, the mixture should be swished around inside the person's mouth. It's best to do this process two or three times a day. This should help neutralize the pain and help the ulcer clear up more quickly than it would on its own.

Another common remedy is to create a baking soda paste. This can be done by putting a teaspoon (5 g) of baking soda into one's hand and mixing it with approximately five drops of water. The mixture should then be placed directly onto the ulcers. Like the salt water treatment, this should be done two to three times a day.

An additional treatment that works well for most people is numbing gel. There are a few varieties on the market that can be purchased over the counter from most pharmacies. These help to efficiently control the pain and can make the ulcers more manageable until they heal. Since each numbing gel is slightly different, one should always follow the instructions on the product purchased. The instructions will give precise directions on the amount to use and how many times a day the gel should applied.

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Discuss this Article

anon971076
Post 11

I had my first tongue ulcer and it's been there for like four days now. I don't know what to do.

anon958612
Post 10

These ulcers happens to me usually every single month and when I consult the doctor, he always says that the main reason may be a deficiency of vitamins in my body. I have tried many things to avoid this problem but it doesn't work at all.

anon359322
Post 7

I have gotten a tongue ulcer every other day. Every time one heals, another one comes out. I don't know why this is happening.

I heard it could also be due to a vitamin deficiency, but I take daily multi vitamins and b12, biotin, vitamin c and iron supplements. What else could be the reason?

I keep my mouth and tongue clean also, as much as it hurts, I brush twice a day and use antiseptic mouthwash, and never use Scope or those sugary gargle products.

Please, if anyone has other info, please post. This is absolutely horrible. Every day it seems like I have this issue, and I can't think of any other remedies. lately, I have been taking advil to just alleviate the pain. I feel like the pain goes down my throat and causes my glands to swell.

anon357203
Post 6

I always get ulcers. And, when I do, they get bigger and bigger! Saltwater has usually worked, as does igl├╝ gel. It is incredibly annoying trying to eat, speak and play wind instruments. I have previously missed school, they have been so bad.

anon311952
Post 4

My Grandmother told me that tongue ulcers are a sign of a sour stomach and that I should drink some bay leaf tea when they happen. It usually works.

turquoise
Post 3

@fify-- I've actually heard of the same exact method except with baking soda!

I personally just use a toothpaste that's especially made for ulcers and sores to prevent them. It's available at the pharmacy.

I have a friend who swears by alcohol for mouth and throat ulcers. She says having something like whiskey helps get rid of it. I don't think that's a very good idea, especially for people who have chronic mouth ulcers. I mean, you can't go around drinking alcohol every time you get a mouth ulcer. Maybe applying some on the ulcer with a cotton swab might help but it could irritate it too.

fify
Post 2

@turkay1-- The only food that seems to make my tongue ulcer or mouth ulcer symptoms worse (not really cause them) is fruit or fruit juice. I don't know if it's the acid in it or the sugar, but fruit juice just aggravates it so much. It's very painful and even appears to get bigger.

The one remedy I really like for tongue ulcers that my grandfather told me about is aspirin. I just take an aspirin, place it on top of the ulcer on my tongue and wait until it completely dissolves. It doesn't taste too great, so I don't really close my mouth while I'm doing this. When it's all dissolved, which takes several minutes, I just gargle my mouth with water.

This really works! It takes away the pain and basically gets rid of it if I do it daily for several days. Aspirin has salyclic acid apparently, so maybe that helps kill bacteria or something.

By the way, don't use coated aspirin because that never melts. I made that mistake once.

candyquilt
Post 1

I completely agree with the article that avoiding certain foods and drinks which trigger tongue ulcers is the best way to prevent them.

I've had tongue sores and ulcers from time to time for many years. I've noticed that they usually come up when I eat or drink something that is very acidic like lemon, aerated drinks and even extremely hot or cold drinks. Spicy and very hot food are also culprits. When I avoid these foods, I don't get tongue ulcers.

The other thing I avoid is unnatural toothpastes or mouthwashes. I buy all natural versions of both of these or just use good old salt water to gargle. Regular toothpastes have a lot of strong ingredients and chemicals in them that is harsh on our tongue and mouth. The same thing goes for mouthwash because it contains alcohol.

Switching to all natural ones makes such a big difference. It quickens healing time too because the beneficial saliva is not removed from the mouth this way.

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