Canker sores occur for several reasons. Sometimes a simple mistake such as biting the side of your mouth while chewing can cause them.

But other consumers suffer from canker sores because of medication or an underlining illness. For them, the joys of food and drink are replaced with into pain and discomfort.

My best advice is to not lose hope. Whether this is your first canker sore or they’re part of your daily life, you can do something about it.

No matter why you have them, one thing you must do is keep your mouth clean and healthy. An unclean mouth can have literally 100 million bacteria per tooth!

Add up all your teeth, plus your palate and gums, and you’re looking at billions of microbes. No wonder why your mouth won’t heal.

I think one of the best ways to fight canker sores is to keep your mouth clean. And an oral rinse remains crucial to this purpose. Below, I’ve listed the top mouthwashes for canker sores.

I’ll go over who benefits of each mouthwash, too. And later, I’ll offer you some tips to simplify your choice. By the time you’re done my review for the best mouthwash for canker sores, you’ll have a remedy that works.

The Best Mouthwash for Canker Sores Comparison Table

Top 7 Mouthwash for Canker Sores Reviews

Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash

Listerine Total Care Anticavity MouthwashListerine got its name from the famous Dr. Lister, who preformed the first dental surgery using an oral antiseptic. And since the Listerine has been one of the founding oral rinses. They even shipped their product in the similar glass bottles until just twenty years ago.

Every bottle of Listerine contains their famous combination of three essential oils that clean your mouth better than the other leading brands. And their Total Care formula boasts six benefits in one bottle.

Aside from cleaning the whole mouth, it also kills germs and bacteria that cause bad breath. The included fluoride strengthens teeth and helps prevent cavities. Best of all this solution restores enamel.

Listerine recommends swishing the mouthwash in your mouth for at least sixty seconds. This helps the bacteria fighting agents reach between teeth and under the gum line.

The extra large 1-liter bottle should last about seven weeks if used twice a day.

Get Listerine Total Care at Amazon

Why I Like This Mouthwash 

I think Listerine is a great recommendation for certain types of canker sores. And with a proven record in the oral healthcare industry for almost 200 years, they’re one to be trusted.

If you have canker sores due to bacteria or as a side effect of medication, then this may be a good choice for you. That’s because Listerine contains alcohol, which can help disinfect an open sore and clean your mouth. The Fresh Mint flavor is intense at first but subsides not long after using.

You can, however, have a canker sore from drinking too much alcohol and other acidic liquids, like citrus. If that’s the case, then you should choose another option.

Listerine stands as a wise choice for those of you who need total cavity and enamel protection while eliminating their canker sores and preventing others from cropping up.

What Could Be Better

Total Care Listerine contains alcohol. Depending on why you have canker sores, alcohol may be the last thing you should be using. Those with sensitive mouths should choose a non-alcoholic oral rinse.

CloSYS Ultra Sensitive Mouthwash

CloSYS Ultra Sensitive Mouthwash

CloSys started in 1991 as the passion project of Dr. Ratcliff, a leading expert in oral health. He was displeased with the amount of alcohol and sulfate-based products on the market. In his research he discovered Cloralstan, which cut the bacteria in his patience significantly.

Today, their leading oral rinse is a step in a new direction, away from the traditional over-the-counter options. It’s tasteless and free of alcohol, gluten, and sulfates.

Yet even without these common ingredients, it still provides advanced oral care with no irritation or burning. Instead, this oral rinse gently cleanses your mouth and freshens your breath.

If you prefer some mint flavoring, CloSYS provides an optional flavoring dropper. You harness the power to increase or decrease the amount of flavor depending on your sensitivity and preferences.

This oral rinse sports an American Dental Association Approval (ADA). They designed their formula for sensitive mouths, going so far as to eschew both fluoride and triclosan.

Get CloSYS Ultra Mouthwash at Amazon

Why I Like This Mouthwash

This is one of my favorite oral rinses for sensitive mouths. I was initially sceptical of its ability to clean my mouth without the tingling sensation found in flavored products.

I discovered that flavorings are often used to mask the lack of true anti-septic ingredients. Not only was my mouth refreshed after using this oral rinse, but I had noticeably fresher breath too.

The included dropper of mint flavoring isn’t spicy. And even at high doses it doesn’t burn or cause any irritation near my canker sores or gumline.

I like that the product contains to sulfites, which some customers believe causes canker sores. If you worry that mouthwash may agitate your canker sores, then I think you should try the CloSYS oral rinse.

What Could Be Better

I believe this is the perfect rinse for sensitive mouths because it isn’t flavored. But those that want a punchy taste that lingers long after their morning brush and rinse should look elsewhere.

SmartMouth Mouthwash

SmartMouth Mouthwash

SmartMouth has been in operation since 1993. Dr. Cohen had a passion to cure halitosis, or the leading cause of bad breath. Every mouthwash on the market dealt with the symptoms of bad breath but not the root issue, which he posited was sulfur production.

So, he developed the patented SmartMouth formula. It activates zinc ions and neutralizes the bacteria that thrive in your mouth.

The unique dual chamber design is more than just an eye-catching gimmick. Each bottle of SmartMouth has two solutions in one bottle. One eliminates the sulfur producing bacteria, and the other activates zinc ions.

When mixed, the solutions combine to reduce bacteria. It also inhibits the surviving bacteria from eating proteins that thrive in your mouth. Because it doesn’t just mask the problem of bad breath but cuts it down, you’re protected for 24 hours per rinse.

This product is safe for kids and the elderly because it contains zero alcohol. The anti-plaque and anti-bacteria oral rinse has a mild mint flavor and no aftertaste.

Get Smart Mouth Mouthwash at Amazon

Why I Like This Mouthwash

Honestly, I initially thought the SmartMouth claim was a gimmick. I don’t know the science behind bad breath and the mouthwash’s copy didn’t quite make sense to me. But you know, it works!

If you think your canker sores won’t heal because of the high amounts of bacteria in your mouth, then this oral rinse is an ideal option.

The flavor is mild but long lasting, a sweet mint taste that sticks around for most of the day. And I like that the offer linked above ships with two bottles. I found the two-spout system adds extra plastic to the container. Plus, you’ll go through the solution faster than you think.

I recommend the SmartMouth zinc-activated formula for those that want to keep their mouths clean so that their canker sores can heal.

What Could Be Better

Customers rave about the toothpaste and complain about the packaging. Apparently SmartMouth redesigned their plastic bottles and they are difficult to open. Once you overcome the challenging new bottle design, however, the product is great.

Colgate Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse

Colgate Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse

Everyone knows Colgate. They’re one of the leading umbrella companies in the world, with Irish Spring and Tom’s of Maine being a few of their over 40 brands.

A company this diverse, you’d expect them to have a mouthwash for oral sores. And they do. They formulated their Peroxyl rinse specifically for canker sores, mouth burns and other irritations.

What sets this product apart is that it contains hydrogen peroxide. This chemical is known as a debriding agent and disinfectant, reaching deep into wounds to clean and promote healing.

This specialized formula stimulates canker sores by reducing bad bacteria that hinders open sores from healing. The oxygenating ingredients flush out oral debris to reduce the chance of infection.

The formula linked above is Colgate’s sensitive mouth edition. It is alcohol-free, and the mild mint flavor is strong enough to freshen breath but won’t sting or irritate your sores.

Why I Like This Mouthwash

If you’re primary aim to is to quash your recurring canker sores due to an illness or a high stress environment, then this is the option for you.

It doesn’t contain fluoride, and it isn’t designed for total oral care. The key symptoms Colgate’s Peroxyl oral rinse was formulated to alleviate was your canker sores.

And it helps to calm oral sores and clean your mouth so they can heal. Some customers have complained that the formula stings, but I didn’t notice any pain while testing the product.

Just because Colgate concocted the rinse oral sores doesn’t mean it isn’t beneficial to your overall oral health. I found that my breath was fresh most of the day after a rinse with this mouthwash.

What Could Be Better

While Colgate brands this their sensitive formula, some customers have remarked that it stung their canker sores. Either way, I still think it’s worth trying. This is one of the few oral rinses made specifically for canker sores. 

ACT Restoring Mouthwash

ACT Restoring Mouthwash

Act is an oral care company with over 30 years of dedication to the mouthwash niche. Their products focus on fluoride-based rinses that strengthen and protect teeth. It also remineralizes soft spots caused by an overly acidic saliva.

Their Restoring mouthwash contains anti-cavity protection. Specifically, they added .2% sodium fluoride to bolster enamel and provide all-day protection against acids and bacteria.

This Act oral rinse has been proven to be gentle and safe for adult use. And clinical evidence suggests it can reduce carries by two-thirds compared to other leading brands.

The neutral pH formula also stabilizes your oral biome, one of the leading causes of bad breath and bacteria. The cool splash mint doesn’t sting or irritate and lasts twelve hours.

Act added alcohol to their Restoring mouthwash. They believe it has antiseptic properties and staves off germs which can lead to halitosis and gingivitis.

Why I Like This Mouthwash

I’ve used the Act brand off and on for years. They make quality oral rinses crafted with specific objectives in mind. And while they haven’t dedicated an oral rinse to canker sores, I think their Restoring blend is worth trying.

That’s because it’s one of the milder options in the Act wheelhouse. The cool splash mint refreshes your breath without being too strong or irritable.

I must warn you that this product contains alcohol. So if you were planning on averting the substance on your search for an oral rinse, then this one isn’t for you.

But customers open to the cleaning properties of alcohol will also find other benefits here, such as sodium fluoride. This mineralizing compound will restore your enamel as you fight off those pesky canker sores.

What Could Be Better

If your dentist warned you to eschew alcohol, then I don’t recommend using this product. It has a high alcohol content, 11%. That’s more than some other brands on my list.

CariFree CTx3 Fluoride Rinse

CariFree CTx3 Fluoride Rinse

CariFree champions a new model of oral health. They believe that mouthwash is part of the trifecta of cavity prevention, along with brushing and flossing. They also believe in their brand and have some potent technology behind their products.

Their science-based formula contains pH neutralizing agents that aid in balancing your oral biome. High acidity leads to high bacteria which feed on acids and proteins.

CariFree blends xylitol in all their oral rinses because it promotes good bacteria and dampens the harmful agents in our saliva that erode our teeth and gums. Found in birch tress and other plant fibers, xylitol furthermore increases how much calcium your teeth can absorb.

Their impressive research into oral health brought them to nano hydroxyapatite, a kind of calcium mineral. This fascinating compound works in tandem with fluoride to remineralize and strengthen teeth.

Their CTx3 oral rinse has a soothing mint taste that is as tasty as it is mild.

Why I Like This Mouthwash

CariFree’s CTx3 oral rinse has a lot going for it. It’s easily one of the best tasting oral rinses I tried. The mint flavor is mild and doesn’t hurt as I swish it around in my mouth. And the formula kept my breath fresh seeming well into the afternoon.

But it’s the amount of science that CariFree has put into their products that impresses me the most. Every ingredient they have in their formula has a purpose that’s customer centered. There are no fillers or needless chemicals.

And when you’re suffering from canker sores, one of the biggest obstacles is reducing the amount of chemicals you’re putting in your mouth. This is especially true for those who don’t know the source of their mouth irritation.

I think CariFree’s mouthwash is perfect for consumers who want to restore their oral pH so their mouth can heal.

What Could Be Better

While I believe this is a great product for most people with canker sores, it may not be for you if your main objective is to find a product with astringent ingredients.

Oxyfresh Lemon Mint Mouthwash

Oxyfresh Lemon Mint Mouthwash

Way back in 1984, the year of The Terminator, Oxyfresh invented and patented a natural occurring compound called Oxygene. This non-toxic ingredient stanches germs and bacteria that cause bad breath through a unique oxidization process. It essentially scrubs, lifts, and captures the bad stuff as you rinse or brush.

Since then, Oxyfresh has cultivated a strong research and development department to invent creative formulas that utilize their special compound. The Lemon Mint mouthwash is one of these products.

This clinically proven oral rinse is full of healthy, non-toxic ingredients. You won’t alcohol or dyes. But you will enjoy the power of xylitol, which balances your oral pH levels and decimates harmful bacteria.

The included aloe vera soothes sores and inflamed gums. And the blend of essential oils clean your mouth with their antiseptic properties.

Also, the revitalizing lemon mint flavor refreshes your breath without the use of additives or synthetic chemicals.

Why I Like This Mouthwash

I love this product. I stumbled on it by accident when on the hunt for my canker sore solution. The blend of essential oils and xylitol combine nicely with Oxyfresh’s patented Oxygene compound.

Not only did it soothe my canker sores, but it eliminated my bad breath. And I didn’t even think I had bad breath until I noticed the difference with this product.

I like that this oral rinse promotes healing without the use of alcohol. The aloe vera turns out to be a great cooling agent when your sores inflame the inside of your cheeks or tongue.

My one gripe with Oxyfresh’s mouthwash is that the taste is mild and slightly medical, sort of like a rinse at the dentist. But considering the good it can do for your canker sores and bad breath, it’s worth it.

What Could Be Better

There isn’t much not to like with this oral rinse. But I think if you want a strong-tasting mouthwash then this one isn’t for you. The taste is mild and doesn’t last very long. What it doesn’t have in taste it makes up for in its ability to heal canker sores.

What Causes Canker Sores?

The symptoms of canker sores are straightforward. They’re painful, fluid-filled sores on the inside of your cheeks, tongue or the roof of your mouth, also known as your palate. Canker sores are not cold sores. The easiest way to tell the difference is where you have the canker sore. If it’s outside your mouth, then you most likely have a cold sore, or herpes.

The causes of canker sores aren’t well defined. That’s because there are many known issues that can either cause canker sores or create an environment where they can occur. That being said, we can still narrow the causes down to these 6 possibilities.

  • Increased Stress

Stress can cause all sorts of turmoil to your body, big and small. The worst part about stress is that you don’t really know you’ve hit the limit of your capacity until you show symptoms.

Canker sores are one way that the body can tell you that you need to relax. We don’t know the exact link between canker sores and stress, but it could have something to do with hormone imbalances.

  • Oral Injury

When you accidentally bite down on your tongue or cheek, a canker sore can sprout from the inflamed tissue. That’s because of the high number of bacteria in our mouths.

That bacteria can penetrate deep into your sore and reduce your body’s ability to heal. Cleaning your mouth remains one of the most important ways to stymie a canker sore’s growth for this very reason.

  • Acidic Foods

We all have unique tolerances to acidic foods like oranges, pickles, and sugar. And when we go over the limit, canker sores are a way that nature lets us know to tone it back.

But once you have a canker sore, reducing your intake of acidic food won’t make the sore go away. So it’s important to know your limit and try not to go beyond it.

  • Dental Appliances

If your canker sore issues arrived along with the introduction to a dental appliance, then the two are most likely linked. Braces and retainers can rub up against your tongue and cheeks, fomenting cancer sores.

Your dental professional should have recommended a dental wax to soften the metal rubbing against your mouth. If he or she didn’t, then you should buy some. Use it as many times a day as you must so you can maintain a barrier between your mouth and those uncomfortable foreign objects.

  • Sudden or Prolonged Illness

Nothing sends your body into turmoil like an illness. Whether it’s a nasty weekend flu or a serious sickness, the stress on your body can provoke the gestation of canker sores.

The main thing to remember is to relax. Keeping your mouth clean with an oral rinse will ease many of the symptoms that illness causes to your oral biome.

  • Diet Choices Matter

Sometimes canker sores seem to appear with no signs or symptoms. If that’s the case, it could be your diet. As strange as it sounds, not altering your diet can cause your body to develop intolerances to certain foods or textures. For example, if you eat a lot of nuts, the rough edges could agitate your mouth.

What to Remember When Choosing the Best Mouthwash for Canker Sores

While an oral rinse is a good option for soothing and eliminating canker sores, it’s important to know that they aren’t all the same. You have options. So, before you choose one of my recommended mouthwashes, look over my list of the 6 common factors that go into your decision.

  • Alcohol or no Alcohol?

There are two schools of thought regarding alcohol’s ability to soothe or hinder canker sores. If you drink more than a few alcoholic beverages a week, it’s likely that it won’t help. Alcohol has been shows to cause canker sores.

Other dental professionals argue that alcohol remains one of the leading antiseptic ingredients. My list includes both, and I make it a point in my overview chart to label the product as non-alcoholic.

  • Amount of Mouthwash

Depending on how often you’re inflicted with canker sores, you may want to purchase a larger amount of mouthwash. My list includes an array of bottle sizes.

The specialized products are usually in smaller bottles, and in a concentrated liquid. Others, like Listerine, are in large 1-liter bottles. Just know that sometimes the value is in the ingredients and not in the amount.

  • What Flavors Do You Prefer?

Mouthwashes come in a variety of flavors. While many of them are some variation of mint, the intensity can vary. It’s a myth that mouthwashes have hit you with a burst of mint. Some are, in fact, mild and gentle.

In my reviews I dedicate a paragraph to describing the flavor and its strength. The intensity of the flavor doesn’t mean the product will heal your canker sores faster. It’s just a personal preference.

  • The Secondary Benefits

There’s no over-the-counter mouthwash dedicated to canker sores. So whatever you buy will have other benefits. Some brands focus on cavity control and others on bad breath.

It’s worth taking a moment to ruminate on what other traits you want from a mouthwash. That way, when your canker sores are gone, you can continue using an oral rinse for your oral health.

  • Are You Okay with Fluoride?

Some mouthwashes contain fluoride. The opinions on this infamous mineral range from beneficial to downright sinister. In my view, if you don’t have any fluoride in your water supply, the amount you’ll ingest from your toothpaste and mouthwash is minute.

Plus, many dentists argue that fluoride protects and strengthens your tooth enamel. Either way, fluoride won’t help or hurt your canker sores.

  • A Warning to the Hyper-Sensitive

If you suffer from extreme oral sensitivity, no matter what precautions you make, many of my suggestions may not help. I suggest you purchase a tasteless, alcohol-free mouthwash.

And if that doesn’t work you could try simple salt rinses or altering your diet. While I believe mouthwash should remedy most cases, it won’t work for everyone.


Nobody wants to have canker sores, but at least now you have a solution. And while mouthwash may not completely remedy the situation, it should help.

Remember, if you suffer from recurring canker sores and don’t know why, consult a doctor. Sometimes what you think are canker sores can be something completely different.

The best part about buying a mouthwash is that it doesn’t just help with your canker sores. You’ll also enjoy a healthier, fresher mouth. Oral rinses have been around for hundreds of years for a reason: they work. Hopefully your new mouthwash solves your problem as much as it did for me!

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