What Is The Difference Between Cold Sores And Canker Sores?
Despite being caused by very different events, canker sores and cold sores cause oral lesions that may look and feel very similar. The two, however, are very distinct from one another. It is crucial to determine the type of Mouth sore you are experiencing to treat it effectively and recover back to normal. Differentiating between a canker sore and a cold sore can be easy if you know what to look for.
Canker sores develop only in the Mouth’s soft tissues, such as your gums or the cheeks. Several factors, such as vitamin deficiency and internal mouth trauma, are believed to lead to their development.
Cold sores can sometimes develop inside the Mouth but typically appear on and around the lips. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection is the root cause.
Another common name for cold sores is “fever blisters.” They are also referred to as oral herpes since they are a sign of a herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 infection.
Causes of Cold Sores
If you have previously experienced cold sores, the virus may stay in your body and reactivate when triggered. Several factors can cause cold sores, including:
- Common Cold
- Flu (Influenza)
- Excessive exposure to the sun
- Increased Stress
- Hormonal changes. For example, menstruation and pregnancy
- Facial injuries (cuts or facial surgery)
Symptoms of Cold Sores
Cold sores show as painful blisters or clusters of blisters in the following areas:
- Gum Tissues
- The roof of the Mouth
These sores can itch, burn, tingle, and drain fluid during the active infection. The active infection usually lasts around 7 to 10 days.
Marielaina Perrone, DDS, can examine and diagnose cold sores based on her extensive clinical experience. Most of the time, no medications or treatment are required, but Dr. Perrone may prescribe antiviral therapy in severe cases or ones that recur often.
Are Cold Sores Contagious?
Cold sores are very contagious. Contact with an infected person with an active infection is how most people get the virus.
Children and young adults are particularly susceptible to contracting the virus. They may be unaware of the risks of kissing and sharing eating utensils with other people. Once the lesion is covered in a scab, it is no longer infectious.
To protect yourself from cold sores or to prevent others from contracting them:
- Avoid kissing an outbreak is active.
- Maintain your distance from others when you have an active cold sore.
- Stay away from those with compromised immune systems, such as young children or cancer patients.
- Never exchange personal things like towels, razors, or lip balm.
- Never share food or drinks.
- Do not touch your cold sores.
- Frequent hand washing.
They are also known as Aphthous Ulcers. These are painful round or oval lesions that develop on the tongue, the inside of the lips, or the cheeks. Women experience canker sores 2x as frequently as men, and they typically first develop in their teens, though they can appear as early as two years of age.
Causes of Canker Sores
Canker sores can show up alone or in groups, similar to cold sores. The exact cause is unknown, but several other factors can induce an outbreak.
Canker sores are frequently aggravated by:
- Food allergies
- Increased Stress
- Hormonal changes
- Vitamin deficiency
- Spicy and hot foods
Symptoms of Canker Sores
If you have canker sores, you may see one or more small, circular lesions with red rims and a gray, white, or yellow center. Canker sores appear in the following areas of the Mouth:
- Inside the lips
- Inside the cheeks
- Beneath the tongue
- Back of your throat
Canker sores can be painful for some but typically disappear within one to two weeks.
How to Treat Oral Sores?
Both types of sores typically heal on their own within two weeks. You cannot cure cold and canker sores, but several therapies can speed up the healing process or stop them entirely.
Treatment of Cold Sores
Sunscreen, lip balms, and ointments can all be used to treat cold sores. These remedies can lessen your symptoms and decrease the virus spread. Even if you do not have cold sores, lip balm and sunscreen can help prevent them.
You can use pain relievers if your sores are painful. Avoid acidic foods and drink to prevent irritating the sores. You may also find relief by keeping them cool using ice, cold towels, and cooling creams.
Treatment of Canker Sores
Ointments, creams, and mouthwashes are the main treatments for canker sores. These therapies decrease the discomfort, delay the outbreak, and make occurrence less frequent. You can prevent canker sores by avoiding spicy and hot foods like cold sores. When necessary, you can also use pain relievers to reduce pain.
Depending on the severity of the sore, you should see Dr. Perrone for a complete evaluation and possible prescription.
Contact Marielaina Perrone, DDS, at (702) 458-2929 to schedule a no-cost cosmetic consultation appointment if you are ready for a smile makeover. We cannot wait to help you with your smile makeover to create the smile of your dreams in Summerlin, Henderson, and Las Vegas, NV.