Finding the Difference Between Canker Sores and Cold Sores

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No one likes a mouth sore. Mouth sores, sometimes known as soft-tissue disturbances, near or in your mouth can be painful, unattractive, and a possible indicator of a more serious condition. Many people mix up cold sores and canker sores, so we’ve assembled this comparison to help you in knowing the difference between the two.


Canker sores: These can form on the tongue or in the mouth, but not outside of the mouth. They tend to be very small, whitish-yellow incisions, and are not contagious. About 50% of the population have them at some point, but we still don’t know exactly what causes them. A few scientists suspect stress may be a contributor. If you have canker sores, avoid eating acidic foods, which can worsen pain from the sores.


Cold sores: These are frequently mixed up with canker sores, but cold sores are fluid-filled sacs appearing outside of the mouth, mostly on the lips. Their fluid can bubble-over or crust and can be very contagious. They normally last about 7-10 days, and like canker sores may be related to stress. They sometimes tend to form due to weather exposure or fatigue. Ask professionals about antiviral medicines to take if you are dealing with cold sores.


If you have an infected sore, especially for more than two weeks, give Bee Family Dentistry a call at 210-690-9430 today so we can evaluate your best course of treatment. Let Dr. Catherine Boenitz and the team at Bee Family Dentistry in San Antonio, Texas, help you and your oral health today!