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What Causes a Canker Sore in the Throat?

Laura M. Sands
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

A canker sore in the throat may occur after a throat infection, or a sore may be caused by trauma to the skin on the tonsils. Often, such trauma is caused by sharp foods, such as ice, tortilla chips or the accidental swallowing of a shell, which may cut the throat during the swallowing process. An oral sore anywhere in the mouth or in the throat may also be caused by an allergic reaction. Regardless of the cause, a canker sore will usually go away on its own after several days.

Sore throats caused by tonsillitis or streptococcus may trigger a canker sore even after the initial throat condition has subsided. Also known as an aphthous ulcer, canker sores are painful and unsightly, but they are not contagious. Unlike a cold sore or fever blister caused by the herpes virus, a canker sore in the throat or elsewhere in the mouth cannot be transmitted by kissing, oral sex or eating with the same utensils as someone else.

Injury to the delicate tissue lining the throat may result in the development of a canker sore. Sometimes, a sore occurs after the throat has been burned with hot liquid or food, or may occur if the skin on the throat is otherwise damaged or broken. Spicy foods may irritate a canker sore and should be avoided until after it completely heals.

In some people, a canker sore in the throat may also be triggered by a reaction to certain foods. For instance, some people with gluten allergies complain of recurring canker sores. Dietary changes may help stop these sores from occurring in the future.

A canker sore in the throat or elsewhere in the mouth is not necessarily the sign of an underlying illness. While some may be caused by a sore throat due to infection, they are usually only triggered by the inflammation of the throat tissue due to the infection and not by the infection alone. Canker sores are self-healing and, since they are not caused by a viral infection, antibiotics are not prescribed for their treatment.

Home remedies, such as coating an oral sore with tea or Milk of Magnesia, are more difficult to use on a canker sore in the throat, as some are not easily reachable. Still, avoiding foods and beverages that may irritate the throat is recommended for soothing relief. Also, gargling with tea, as well as baking soda and water, may help relieve a throat sore and help it heal faster.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing to her work. With a background in social sciences and extensive online work experience, she crafts compelling copy and content across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a skilled contributor to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By anon991704 — On Jul 10, 2015

Ow they hurt! I love eating and I can't eat. Ouch.

By anon990679 — On May 05, 2015

@anon977095 How do you take this Peridex?

By anon985586 — On Jan 17, 2015

I put Neosporin on a canker sore and it goes away real fast. Or putting Ambesol on it also helps.

By anon977095 — On Nov 07, 2014

I have had canker sores twice in my throat. They got really big because you can't eat without re-irritating them over and over again. I finally decided to go to my dentist when it got really bad. He spoke with another doctor and they prescribed me Peridex (0.12% chlorohexidine gluconate is the active ingredient). It totally worked and began healing them quickly both times.

Because they were really bad when I began treating them, it still took between three and five days for them to disappear completely. However, the pain was mostly gone in two or three days. I'm telling you, this stuff works for canker sores in the throat. I just wanted to spread the news so others could know.

By anon337112 — On Jun 03, 2013

I place an aspirin on the sore and hold it until its gone. It takes the pain away and kills whatever is living there, allowing it to heal.

By feasting — On Aug 07, 2012

@cloudel – Canker sores on the throat really are bothersome. I have had them before, and every time that I swallowed, I could feel the irritation afresh.

One thing that has worked for canker sores that are within reach is a paste of baking soda and water. You rub it right on there, and it seems to help them heal faster.

However, when they are in the throat, you can't do this. So, instead, I gargle with warm salt water. It burns a little at first, but it seems to make them disappear faster.

By cloudel — On Aug 06, 2012

I have had canker sores in my mouth before, but I've never had them in my throat. They are incredibly painful when they are in my cheeks or along my gumline, so I can't imagine how painful they must be way back in the throat.

I have to avoid acidic foods when I have a canker sore. Oranges and tomatoes will burn the sore terribly, as will pineapple.

There really doesn't seem to be any way of speeding up the healing process. My worst sores have lasted about two weeks.

Laura M. Sands
Laura M. Sands
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing...
Learn more
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