Photo of a sage plant
A mouthwash containing sage and other aromatic herbs can help soothe mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers

16 September, 2011

You’ll know when you have a mouth ulcer. These sore, red lesions occur on the tongue, roof of the mouth and inside of the cheeks.

Mouth ulcers are very common. Most people will have at least one during their lifetime and about 1 in 5 of us have a recurring problem with them.

Studies have shown that and some of us are more prone to them than others; mouth ulcers are for example more common in women and young adults.

They are not contagious – you can’t pass them on by kissing or sharing a drink and they usually clear up of their own accord after a week or so. But while they are there they can be painful enough to interfere with eating.

The cause is unknown, although stress, tiredness and low immunity all con­tribute. They are often more common in those suffering from yeast infections and those with a high sugar intake.

Some people also report that chewing gum containing artificial sweeteners can provoke mouth ulcers. Give up the gum and see what happens.

Likewise toothpastes containing harsh detergents such as sodium lauryl sulphate and/or alcohol-containing mouthwashes can provoke mouth ulcers. Look for more natural alternatives.

You can also try these natural remedies:

Fast relief

A herbal mouthwash with sage, cloves, rosemary, myrrh or Echinacea, singly or in combination will relieve pain.


Use garlic, ginger and Echinacea to boost the immune system and speed healing time.


Zinc, iron, folic acid B1, B2, B6 and B12 are common deficiencies in those suffering with recurrent mouth ulcers.


  • Feeling a bit low? Try our Vitality Quiz to determine how to increase your ‘get up and go’.