Canker Sores vs. Cold Sores

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Mouth sores are no fun, but they aren’t all created equal. Some of the most common mouth sores are canker sores and cold sores. Do you know the difference?

Cold sores, or fever blisters, are highly contagious. They come from the herpes 1 virus, and spreads through saliva or skin contact.  Once you have caught the virus, it lies dormant in your body until it is triggered again. It can be triggered by fever, stress, or other illness. There is no effective vaccine once you’ve been infected. Most children have been infected by the time they are 10. The sores look like little blisters, and often form around the edge of the lip.

Canker sores, however, are not contagious at all. They are round, painful ulcerations that can occur in the mouth, on the tongue, lips, and cheeks, or on the outside of your lips. Scientists are not sure what causes canker sores. They seem to run in families, though some experts believe there are bacteria or viruses involved. You do not need to see a doctor for canker sores, unless this is your first time getting them, or if they are 1 centimeter or larger.

If you are in the Fort Worth, Texas area and have mouth sores that need to be seen by a dentist, call Bellaire Dental Excellence at 817.294.5513 to set an appointment. Dr. Kevin M. Altieri and our team will be happy to help you relieve the pain and get back to a healthy smile.