Cancer: Home Treatment for Mouth Sores

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Cancer: Home Treatment for Mouth Sores

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A painful sore or ulcer inside your mouth may make it difficult to eat and drink. Try some of the following home treatment measures to help ease pain and speed healing.

Change your diet

  • Drink cold liquids, such as water or iced tea, or eat Popsicles or frozen juices.
  • Use a straw.
  • Eat soft, bland foods that are easy to swallow, such as ice cream, custard, applesauce, cottage cheese, macaroni and cheese, soft-cooked eggs, yogourt, or cream soups.
  • Cut foods into small pieces, or grind, mash, blend, or puree foods.
  • Avoid coffee, chocolate, spicy and salty foods, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.
  • Avoid eating nuts or seeds.
  • Avoid very hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks if they increase your pain.

Rinse your mouth

  • Keep your mouth clean by rinsing with mouthwash 3 to 4 times a day. Avoid mouthwashes that have alcohol in them.
  • Rinse with an antacid, such as Maalox or Mylanta, or dab it on your sores with a cotton swab.
  • Several times a day, rinse your mouth using a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution. To make the rinse, mix 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of hydrogen peroxide with 8 fl oz (240 mL) of water. If you prefer, you can buy an already prepared hydrogen peroxide rinse, such as Peroxyl, at a drugstore.
  • You can also make a mouthwash by adding 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/8 teaspoon salt to 1 cup of warm water. After using this mouthwash, rinse your mouth with a cup of plain water.

Apply an oral paste to protect the sore, ease pain, and speed healing

  • Make a thin paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the sore.

To help ease pain, use a non-prescription medicine, such as Amosan, Anbesol, or Orabase. Check with a doctor for correct dosage before using any of these on a baby or child.

If your sore is not healing or is still painful after 2 weeks of home treatment, contact your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe a mouth rinse that contains lidocaine, which will ease your pain.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
Last Revised July 22, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.