How long does it take a canker sore to heal?

This is the story of how new clothes gave me the first canker sore of my life…

The Incident

It was Tuesday afternoon, and there was a package at my doorstep. I went a little overboard on an Alternative Apparel sale I had found the month before. But, it had been 4 weeks since I ordered, and I began to lose faith that my order would ever arrive. After all, I didn’t have so much as a tracking number, and their customer service had been unresponsive to my emails. So, needless to say I was excited and relieved to see the box. Now the only thing between me and a fresh new outfit was this:


Maybe you see where this is going, but if not, let me explain. Instead of reaching for the scissors, I chose to stick this plastic razor blade of a tag into my mouth and gave it a quick yank. Mothertrucker! I sliced the gum right above my left canine. Although it hurt, there was no blood and seemingly no cause for concern. For those wondering about the clothes, I’m pretty satisfied. The quality is about the same as American Apparel, and the price is right.

Supplies for injuring your mouth: New Clothes, Plastic Tags, No Scissors

Day 3

There was slight discomfort for the first couple of days, but I didn’t think anything of it. The area was just a bit redder than the rest of my gums, but it wasn’t affecting my day to day activities. On Day 3, a white pea-size ulcer had formed and it hurt to smile. This got my anxious brain working overtime, and I spent the next few hours reading about the finer points of mouth cancer. The medical consensus seemed to be that it should heal within a couple weeks, so I waited. In the meantime I started rinsing my mouth with salt water to help with the pain and promote healing. I don’t know about the healing part, but it did ease the pain.

Day 3 Supplies: Pain Reliever, Salt, Water

Day 9

It not’s getting better. If anything it seems a bit worse. There is a bright red ring around the canker sore and my gums look paler. On top of that, I now feel a constant constant dull pain. I must do something! I make a run to the drugstore during my lunch break and pick up some OraJel for the pain and something called Gly-Oxide, an antiseptic cleaner, to prevent infection. The OraJel was a godsend; however, they don’t tell you how bad it stings when you apply it. Also, you are going to accidentally get some on your lips, which will give you a dentist-y numb feeling.  To avoid the mess I started applying it with a Qtip. I think the Gly-Oxide made the biggest difference. You can apply it directly to the canker sore or swish it around your mouth like mouthwash. It seemed to help ‘shed’ whatever secretions were coming off the sore, lessening the white appearance. I used this 2-3 times each day.

Day 9 Supplies: OraJel, Gly-Oxide, Qtips

Day 10 to 16

Finally, I’m seeing improvement. The pain gets better day by day, although the sore itself doesn’t really shrink. I gradually start using the left side of my mouth to chew again without worrying about getting a chunk of food stuck in sore. I also stop looking at it in the mirror 300 times a day, which is a relief in itself. Each day the sore gets shallower and pinker, and by Day 16 I consider myself healed, meaning it was definitely not cancer. It did remain slightly tender for a couple more weeks until the inflammation completely subsided.

Moral of the Story
  • Do NOT use your teeth to open things
  • The salt rinses help, but I would get the Gly-Oxide as soon as possible
  • It may get worse before it gets better

3 Responses

  1. Jed Molina

    Hi there,

    I’m on the same boat right now, I’ve had this canker sore for 5 days and it seems like it’s not getting better or really slow at healing..I’ve been putting salt water rinses since day 1and I’ve googled so many articles about it, and I look at the mirror like 500 times a day. 😦 It has gotten to the point where I’m losing sleep over it..and so scared that it might be month cancer.
    It’s so funny that when I read your experience, I thought to myself, gee, this person might as well be me. So similar thoughts.
    I’ve called the pharmacy and asked if they carry gly oxide and unfortunately they don’t.

    Please respond with positive vibes…lol. I worried..thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Miguel

    One thing ive learned after getting these long enough is that you NEED TO LEAVE THEM ALONE. If you look at them 500 times a day, then that is why
    it takes weeks for them to heal. You just have to try and not be paranoid about them… If you leave em alone, they will only last a few days.

    Liked by 1 person

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