Canker Sore vs Cold Sore

Canker sore vs cold sore.  They plague many people.  They both are a drag.  Let’s talk about what they are and why we get them.

Canker sore:

  • Painful sores or a single sore on the inside of your mouth

  • Can be found on your tongue, cheeks, and towards the back of your throat

  • Usually white in color or have a red border. 

  • Normally you can tell you are getting a canker sore because you may feel a tingling sensation prior to seeing any physical evidence. 

  • Tend to take about 1-2 weeks to heal and the pain lessens as they go away.

canker-sore-vs-cold-soreUnfortunately, it is not known for sure what causes canker sores.  Some people think that it may be caused from getting bumped in the mouth or stress.  However, there do seem to be some foods that tend to activate them.  Try to avoid eating certain trigger foods, which include citrus fruits, acidic vegetables and spicy foods.

There is not a cure for canker sores.  Generally you just have to ride it out.  Just be sure to brush your teeth right after eating to get rid of any food debris that may irritate the sores and be careful while you brush to not bump them.

If you are experiencing pain in your mouth from what you feel is a canker sore and it lasts longer than several weeks, please contact us at Szmanda Dental to have one of our dentists check it to make sure it’s not something else.
Cold Sore:

  • Found around the outside on or near the lips

  • Look like blisters

  • Tend to swell

  • Usually end up cracking and turning into a scab, which heals in about 1-2 weeks

  • Some people feel pain in the area prior to the outbreak, swelling and maybe even a fever

Coming into contact with the herpes simplex virus causes cold sores.  Contact may have been from kissing someone who was infected (even a parent with a child) or something as simple as sharing a drink or a fork with an infected individual.  Once the virus is in your system, you cannot get rid of it.  It will be with you for the rest of your life.  This means that you need to be careful when you are having an outbreak to not spread the virus.  Make sure to wash your hands often during an outbreak.  Try to wear lip balm and sunscreen, as sunlight tends to activate cold sores.Request an Appointment

There are medications for a cold sore; however, there are no quick remedies.  There are some ointments and pills you can take, but they only shorten the sore for about 1-2 days.  Bummer.  Although, according to the Mayo Clinic, antiviral medications taken during an outbreak can reduce the frequency of reoccurrences.

If you feel you are getting a cold sore or do have one, it’s probably best that you do not come in for a dental appointment due to the fact that we have to stretch your skin to work in your mouth and can irritate the area.  Also as mentioned earlier, cold sores are highly contagious!

If you have any further questions about cold sores or canker sores, please talk to any of the hygienists or dentists at Szmanda Dental Center.  We are here to keep you informed!

Information compiled from WebMD, the Mayo Clinic and Staff at Szmanda Dental Center  © Szmanda Dental Center, S.C. 2013