fbpx Support for Mouth Sores | CCNM-ICC

Mouth sores, also called oral mucositis, are a common side effect of certain chemotherapy drugs or head and neck radiation. These are painful, inflamed and swollen mouth ulcers that often lead to difficulties with chewing and swallowing. Due to the impact this can have on quality of life and the ability to eat, we commonly recommend a few simple, home remedies that we have found to be supportive:

  1. Honey rinse 
    • Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a soothing effect that can help with healing tissues. Add 1 teaspoon to a ½ cup of water, mix well, and gargle the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds before spitting it out. You can repeat this as many times a day to help support healing and get some relief.  
  2. Zinc lozenges 
    • Zinc is a mineral that is well-known for immune support, however, it has also been studied in mouth sores and has been shown to be effective at reducing severity and improving healing. Simply pop a zinc lozenge in your mouth and let it slowly dissolve up to 4 times per day.
  3. Herbal tea 
    • An herbal tea we commonly recommend for mouth sores is Throat Coat by Traditional Medicinals, which can be found at most grocery or health food stores. It contains a variety of demulcent herbs that coat and soothe inflamed tissue in the mouth, helping to decrease pain and speed up healing. Steep the tea bag in hot water for about 10 minutes and let it cool, then swish in your mouth before swallowing as you sip throughout the day.
  4. Baking soda and salt rinse 
    • Rinsing your mouth with baking soda, salt, and lukewarm water can also help reduce inflammation. Simply add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt to a ½ cup of lukewarm water and mix it well for up to 30 seconds. Take a sip, rinse, gargle your mouth with it and spit it out after about 10 seconds. Continue until you have finished the solution. You can repeat this a few times per day for a more rapid recovery.
  5. Avoid SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) 
    • SLS is a chemical additive found in products such as toothpaste and mouthwash, which may increase the risk of and worsen mouth sores as it irritates the tissue.

Please note that the information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is essential to consult with your healthcare provider or a qualified professional before making any healthcare decisions or taking any actions based on the information presented here.

Author: Dr. Nadine Kexel ND, CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre Resident