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Canker Sore on Tonsil

Last reviewed by Editorial Team on August 13th, 2018.


The canker sore is a small and painful ulceration that appears inside the mouth, on the lips or at the level of the throat, on the tonsils. The small ulceration is either white or yellow in color, being surrounded by a red area. This condition is benign and it does not pose any threat of becoming cancerous. It is often presented in the medical literature as aphthous stomatitis and it should not be confused with cold sores. Most of the times, the presence of canker sores on the tonsils can lead to difficult swallowing.

What causes canker sore on tonsil?

These are the main causes that lead to the appearance of canker sore on tonsils:

  • Small injuries
    • Accidental bites
    • Bumps
    • Burns
    • Excessive brushing of the teeth
    • Dental work resulting in abrasion
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiency
    • Iron
    • Zinc
    • Vitamin B12
    • Folic acid
  • Food allergy or hypersensitivity
    • Coffee
    • Chocolate
    • Seafood
    • Fruits – strawberries, citrus fruits
    • Cheese
    • Eggs
    • Nuts
    • Acidic foods – pineapple, tomatoes
  • Hypersensitivity to toothpaste
  • Hypersensitivity to chemical substances, such as sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Intense stress or anxiety
  • Dental problems and poor oral hygiene
  • Bacterial overgrowth inside the throat
  • Hormonal fluctuations – premenstrual period
  • Medication – antibiotics


These are the most common remedies for the canker sore on the tonsils:

  • Eating yoghurt
    • Speeds up the healing process for the canker sore
    • Improves the discomfort experienced by the patient
    • Contains healthy bacteria
  • Baking soda
    • Mix water with baking soda and gargle
    • This will help reduce the pain caused by the canker sores on the tonsils, promoting a faster healing
    • Do not swallow the mixture – it should be used solely for gargling
    • Repeat the procedure on a daily basis until the symptoms improve
  • Lozenges
    • Choose the products that contain zinc, as these are the best for canker sores on the tonsils
    • Reduce the bacterial overgrowth and improve the symptoms caused by the canker sores
  • Hydrogen peroxide/milk of magnesia
    • Mix the hydrogen peroxide with water and apply the mixture to the affected tonsils with a cotton swab
    • Repeat the same procedure for the application for the milk of magnesia
    • The procedures should be repeated at least three or four times a day
  • Gargling with mouthwash
    • Antiseptic and antibacterial properties
    • Faster healing process
    • Alternative to gargling with salt water/baking soda
    • Recommended to be repeated at least two times per day
  • Cold
    • Drinking cold fluids
    • You can also suck on an ice cube
    • Pain relief due to the temporary numbness
  • Vitamin supplements
    • Recommended – B12 vitamin supplements (daily basis)
    • Foods that are rich in vitamins from the B complex (seafood, dairy)
  • Propolis
    • Antiseptic properties
  • Probiotics
    • Daily intake is recommended, especially if you are following a treatment with antibiotics
  • Alum
    • Antiseptic properties
    • Not everyone can handle the application for alum powder on the tonsils (might induce vomiting).

How to heal a canker sore?

If you want to heal a canker sore, you must first remember that each person responds to a particular treatment in a different way. You will have to try several treatments and natural remedies until you find the ones that work for you. The healing process can be facilitated by eliminating the foods that trigger such problems from your diet. It might be helpful to organize a list with all the foods that you have eaten, trying to identify what might have led to the canker sores on the tonsils. The same goes for the different chemical substances you might be allergic to, such as sodium lauryl sulfate that is contained in the toothpaste.

The doctor might also recommend that you apply glycerin or other topical anesthetics to help you with the discomfort caused by the canker sores. Corticosteroids are recommended as treatment only the canker sores cause intense pain and there is associated inflammation. However, the treatment cannot be administered for prolonged periods of time, given the negative health effects. Antibiotics might be recommended in case of bacterial infections but it is important to keep in mind that these can cause canker sores in turn. During the treatment period, you can eat a lot of yoghurt, so as to reduce the risk of new canker sores. The healthy bacteria in the yoghurt are going to give you exactly the protection you need.


canker sore on tonsil pictures

canker sore on tonsil

canker sore on tonsil pictures 2

How long does it last?

It should be mentioned that the natural remedies and treatments recommended above will reduce the necessary healing period. However, if you decide to not pursue any treatment for the canker sores on the tonsils, you can expect for the ulcerations to be present around ten days. This can be a long time, as the pain and discomfort caused by the canker sores can be quite intense. The tonsils are highly sensitive and the tissues take a long time to properly heal – considering all that, you might want to try out the natural remedies and treatments suggested above.

In choosing a particular natural remedy or treatment, you might want to consult the doctor. Being a specialist in the field, he/she can recommend the treatment or natural remedy that works the best for your own particular situation. With the right treatment administered, you can cut the healing period down in half and enjoy your healthy tonsils once more. You will be able to swallow properly and return to the normal eating and drinking habits.

In conclusion, having a canker sore on tonsils is not the end of the world but it can generate a lot of discomfort. You can improve the symptoms experienced by choosing one of the many natural remedies or treatments available. Future canker sores can be prevented by eliminating the foods that trigger them from the diet, as well as avoiding the substances that irritate the tonsils on a regular basis. You need to pay attention to the products you come in contact with and the substances they contain.

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