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Canker Sores and Cold Sores: Causes and Treatments

February 18, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — greenmountaindentistry @ 3:27 pm
person with a canker sore on their lip

If you’ve ever taken a bite of something salty or a sip of a highly acidic drink and then suddenly felt a stinging pain in or around your mouth, then you’re familiar with canker and cold sores. These pesky oral issues are extremely common, and they’re not fun to deal with. Whether you struggle with sores inside your mouth, on the outsides of lips, or both, you might want to know what the difference is between them and how they can be treated. Keep reading to learn more.

The Difference Between Canker Sores and Cold Sores

Both cause a significant amount of discomfort, but canker cores and cold sores are actually very different in a multitude of ways:

Canker Sores

If you’ve ever had one or more painful lesions on the inside of the soft tissues of your mouth or gums, then you’ve had a canker sore. They are caused by physical trauma to the mouth, tobacco use, or foods and drinks that are high in acid content. It is also common for people with braces to frequently suffer from canker sores, as brackets and wires tend to irritate the soft tissues of the mouth. Typically, they will resolve themselves within a week to ten days after they first appear. The biggest difference between these and their counterparts, cold sores, is that they are not contagious.

Cold Sores

These are often referred to as “fever blisters,” and like canker sores, they usually last around a week. While canker sores are usually not visible to others, cold sores form around the borders and in the corners of the lips. The worst part about them is that they are highly contagious. They are caused by the extremely common, non-sexually transmitted herpes simplex virus, and unfortunately, there is no cure. This means that repeated flare-ups can tend to happen throughout one’s lifetime.

What Are the Treatment Options?

While there is no cure for the virus that causes cold sores, there are a myriad of over-the-counter and prescription medicines that can help to shorten their lifetime. Ask your dentist for their professional opinion about which options would work best for you. When it comes to prevention, it’s important to avoid drinking or eating after someone who has cold sores.

Canker sores are best treated by numbing agents that are safe to apply inside of the mouth and help to reduce the pain, such as Orajel, Benzocaine, and Fluocinonide. If you frequently suffer from canker sores, try to limit your intake of salty foods or acidic drinks, and talk to your dentist about antimicrobial mouthwashes that can help prevent the sores.

You don’t have to suffer through mouth sores and just wait for them to go away on their own. Ask your dentist what they recommend to help you shorten their lifetime and ease the pain.

About the Practice

Dr. Tyler Aten and Dr. Nusi Brown lead the team of experts at Green Mountain Dental. They are committed to going out of their way to ensure that each of their patients receives the highest quality of care and knows that they are in good hands. Your comfort is their priority, and thanks to their years of continuing education and training, they are ready to meet every one of your needs. Are you ready to schedule your next dental checkup? You can request an appointment online or call (802) 863-3950.

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