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Difference between Cold Sores and Canker Sores

Difference between Cold Sores and Canker Sores


Are you curious about the difference between cold sores and canker sores? Both are sore mouth problems, but they are caused by different things and treated differently. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two types of sores. We will also discuss how to treat them and prevent them from happening in the future. By understanding the difference between cold sores and canker sores, you can better care for your mouth health!

What is Cold Sores?

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are a common viral infection. The main symptom is a cluster of small blisters that appear around the mouth. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV is highly contagious and can be spread through close contact with an infected person. Cold sores typically heal on their own within two weeks. However, they can occasionally lead to more serious health problems, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Cold sores can be treated with antiviral medications, which can help to shorten the duration of the infection. There is no cure for cold sores, but HSV can be managed with proper treatment.

What is Canker Sores?

Canker sores are small, painful ulcers that can appear on the tongue, gums, or inside of the cheek. They are usually round or oval in shape and have a red border. Canker sores can cause a burning or tingling sensation and make it difficult to eat or drink. Canker sores are not contagious, but they can be painful and reoccur. There is no known cure for canker sores, but there are treatments that can help to reduce the pain and speed up healing. Canker sores are most common in people between the ages of 10 and 20, but they can occur at any age. Women are also more likely to experience canker sores than men. Canker sores typically last for 7-10 days and will heal on their own. However, severe or recurrent canker sores may require treatment from a doctor or dentist.

Difference between Cold Sores and Canker Sores

Cold sores and canker sores are both types of mouth ulcers, but they have different causes and treatment options. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and usually occur outside of the mouth, on the lips or around the nostrils. Canker sores, on the other hand, are caused by stress or trauma to the inside of the mouth, such as from braces or a hard toothbrush. Cold sores typically go away on their own within a week or two, but canker sores can last for several weeks. There are over-the-counter treatments available for both types of mouth ulcers. Cold sores often respond well to topical creams or ointments that contain antiviral medication, while canker sores may improve with numbing agents or oral Rinse solutions. In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe oral antiviral medication for cold sores or corticosteroid mouthwashes for canker sores. Cold sores and canker sore outbreaks can be difficult to deal with, but understanding the difference between the two can help you choose the best course of treatment.


While cold sores and canker sores may look similar, they are actually caused by different things and have different treatments. If you’re not sure which type of sore you have, be sure to visit your dentist or doctor for an accurate diagnosis. In the meantime, here are a few tips for managing each type of sore. For cold sores, apply a lip balm or cream that contains sunscreen and avoid touching the area; for canker sores, rinse your mouth with salt water and avoid eating acidic or spicy foods.

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