CPAP and canker sores

by Paul

I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea for over 6 years. I use the full face mask with oxygen. My problem is that I constantly get these mouth sores (like canker sores) in my mouth. I seem to keep one all the time.

They are very painful. I have tried all sorts of medicines - canker, Sea Buckthorne Fruit Oil, peroxide, assortments of mouth wash, to name a few. Nothing works.

I have put a shield in my mask to direct the direct flow of air from going straight into my mouth - I sleep with my mouth open because I can't breathe through my nose. I have not found anyone to help me solve my problem.

Please, please tell me you know the answer.


Paul, do you have a history of canker sores or thrush before CPAP therapy? Because we have to consider all the causes of having canker sores, which can be any agent, condition, or other stimulus that causes stress, fungal infection, dry mouth, etc.

I don't know if you'll be happy or not, to tell you that dry mouth can cause this painful sores. Happy, because you now know a very probable cause for your problem (your doctor has to confirm this), but unhappy because is not so easy to find a solution.

Dry mouth comes from breathing with your mouth open, or when the air that is recirculating in through the nose and out through the mouth.

You can find solutions for this problem on the page about CPAP dry mouth.

However, the tip when you could use the chin strap to prevent the opening of the mouth during sleep is not recommended for you at this stage. That's because you can't breathe through the nose.

So I would advise you to fix this problem first - breathing normally through your nose. Then, if you still can't sleep with your mouth closed, you should use the chin strap.

Bottom line...Go to your doctor and find why you can't breathe through the nose. Maybe you have deviated septum or enlarged turbinates... Your doctor knows better.

Fix the nose problem, and then use the CPAP chin strap together with your mask, only if you can't sleep with the mouth closed.

It's imperative to breathe through the nose! All the medications for canker sores fix the symptoms. But you have to fix the cause. If the cause is dry mouth, then breathing through a healthy nose is your solution.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Comments for CPAP and canker sores

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Dec 17, 2013
My tests indicate cpap is the cause
by: Phil

Yep... canker sores from cpap. Incredibly painful. I'm doing some testing now but all roads point to the cpap. Perhaps I need to come up with new way of cleaning it.

Apr 28, 2015
doesnt help
by: Maria

I do not have a diviated septum or large annoids. I only get canker sores in my mouth when I use the cpap. I tried several masks. I used cpap yesterday for 3 hours, canker sore appeared.

May 25, 2015
Additive in toothpaste
by: Anonymous

Eliminating sodium lauryl sulfate from toothpaste eliminated chronic mouth sores for me. I now use Biotene.

Apr 20, 2016
Cpap canker sores
by: tom

I have the exact same problem and the mouth sores are very painful. I can however breathe thru my mouth, so I guess I will have to go back to the uncomfortable chin strap??

May 24, 2016
by: Anonymous

I have recently started trying to use a cpap machine but am finding very difficult to get used to it. I am continually plagued by ulcers and it is starting to get me down. I suffer with crohns disease and this can flare up through stress. I feel as if I am on a roundabout and unable to get off.

Jul 03, 2016
Cpap aggravate mouth blisters/sores
by: Anonymous

I am prone to mouth sores because of my immunodeficiency, however I have suffered awful mouth sores that are multiplying for the last two months, they usually clear up and come again without the cpap, at least I get a break. I have been nonstop with the mouth sores now almost three months, hard to talk and eat. Is there a solution?

Aug 04, 2016
Canker Sores
by: Anonymous

The opposite happened to me. Before CPAP I would have 3-5 sores at any time. After 3 months using the nasal pillows and sleeping with my mouth closed the sores are gone.

Aug 29, 2016
CPAP mouth sores
by: BeeDub

I am a 9-month CPAP user. I use the full mask and tend to breathe through my mouth. I had NO canker sores until about one month ago. Now, they will not go away. This is very frustrating because the sores are aggravated by wearing the mask, so I am less inclined to use it.

Is there anything I should be doing in terms of sanitizing the equipment to try to alleviate the problem? I can't understand why I am getting the cankers only recently, not before.

Until they developed, I was happy using the machine every night. Now, I sometimes remove it in the middle of the night. Any advice would be appreciated.

Sep 25, 2016
Unbearable sores on my inner lip and lip
by: Anonymous

I have been on CPAP for almost a year and in that year I have had mouth sores so bad that my gland in my neck are swollen and sore, my mouth is so sore I can't hardly eat or talk and when I got the first one I actually ran a fever from it.

It takes about one month to get over these sores, one thing else my lip also swells up on one side. I am at the point now of just quitting the device and going back to oxygen..

The company that furnishes the equipment are not really providing the best of care, I shouldn't have to wear old masks that are leaky and aren't really doing me much good but giving me terrible mouth sores.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Sleep Apnea Help Line.

Latest Updates

  1. The CPAP Machine Guide for Newbies

    Everything You Need to Know About CPAP Machine. Learn about CPAP using a detailed Guide that will educate you to choose the best CPAP and help you to avoid the most common side effects.

    Read More

  2. CPAP Benefits | Sleep Apnea Guide

    Can CPAP benefits boost your health if you have sleep apnea or snoring? And is it worth it to sleep with a mask on your face every night?

    Read More

  3. CPAP Claustrophobia | How to Eliminate it?

    How to prevent and eliminate CPAP claustrophobia? Learn how to sleep with your CPAP mask on even if you have CPAP anxiety.

    Read More

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Sleep Apnea Info.
Share This Site

Email; Contact UsContact Us