Blog Section

What are Canker Sores and Mouth Sores?

What are Canker Sores and Mouth Sores?

Mouth Irritations And Oral Lesions

Irritations and oral lesions can be spots, sores, or swelling around the mouth, tongue, and lips. They consist of numerous types of disorders, including cold sores, canker sores, leukoplakia and candidiasis. Mouth sores are very common, about a third of people will be affected by them at some point in their lives.  The irritations and lesions they cause are more than just a nuisance, they can be painful and interfere with a person’s speech and eating.  If your mouth sore doesn’t go away in week, you should have it examined as it could indicate a much more serious disease like HIV or cancer.

How Do I Tell the Difference Between A Lesion And A Mouth Sore?

These signs can indicate the presence of an oral lesion or mouth sore:

Small white swellings or sores surrounded by  redness indicate canker sores. Often confused with cold sores, canker sores occur inside the mouth and are not contagious.  Canker sores grow as a single sore or a cluster of sores. They can recur in your mouth and are believed to be cause by problems with your immune system. Bacteria, viruses, stress, allergies and many other factors may also play a role in their development.

Painful, fluid filled blisters near the lips, nose and chin are caused by cold sores. Also known as herpes simplex or fever blisters, cold sores are caused by a type of herpes virus and are highly contagious. Children are often the first to be infected, although they might not show any symptoms. Once infected, the virus remains in the body and can occasionally causes blisters to recur.

A thick, whitish-color patch on the gums, tongue, or inner cheek can be a sign of leukoplakia. Smoking and tobacco use are associated with leukoplakia, as well as broken teeth and bad fitting dentures. It is recommended that a biopsy be take if you have leukoplakia since a small fraction of the cases cause cancer.

A creamy, yellow-white or red patch occurring inside the mouth is a sign of candidiasis, or oral thrush,  a type of  fungal infection caused by yeast. The infection is painful and common among babies, people who wear dentures, and those with a weakened immune system.

Treatments For Mouth Irritations And Oral Lesions

Canker sores usually heal on their own after a week, but recurrences are common. Ointments, pain relievers, antibiotics, and antimicrobial mouth rinses are all effective ways to remedy canker sores.

Cold sores also heal in about a week. Since there is no cure for the herpes infection, the sores can reoccur due to allergies, fever, and other environmental factors.  Non-prescription topical anesthetics and prescription antiviral drugs can provide relief and reduce the severity of the infection.

Leukoplakia can be treated by removing the cause of the lesion. This includes quitting smoking and tobacco use, or replacing old ill-fitting dentures with new ones.

Candidiasis treatment involves taking antifungal medications, practicing good oral hygiene (such as cleaning your dentures) or stopping the use of antibiotics and other drugs which may be causing the outbreaks.

Canker Sores and Mouth Sores

Canker Sore

Canker Sores and Mouth Sores

Fever Blister






Source and artwork from