When it comes to oral health and hygiene, the mouth is a very vulnerable part of the human body, due largely to the fact that the mouth is literally a breeding ground for all kinds of different forms of bacteria. Bacteria absolutely thrive in warm, moist, and dark locations, and guess what? Yep, the mouth ticks all of the aforementioned boxes. Because of this, we can find ourselves vulnerable to all kinds of unpleasantness in and around the mouth, especially those in the form of cold sores and canker sores. Many people often confuse cold sores for canker sores, and vice versa, and although similar, the two are in fact very unique to one another, and offer their own unique disadvantages and drawbacks. Knowing the difference between the two is also very important, which is why we’ll now be taking a look at how to know the difference between a cold sore and a canker sore.
Cold sores – To begin with, we’ll take a look at cold sores. Cold sores are best described as being very small blisters, typically found on, or around, the lip. These tiny blisters are filled with fluid, which, as disgusting as it sounds, will eventually split open and spill out, forming a crust-like layer over the cold sore. This layer hardens and resembles a scab on the lip. Before these blisters even manifest themselves however, cold sores may begin to first make their presence known, by causing a tingling, itching, or even a burning, sensation on, or around, the lips.
What causes cold sores? – Cold sores are actually caused as a result of a virus, unlike cankers, which we’ll be looking at in just a few moments. Because of this, cold sores are highly, highly contagious, and the virus itself can be spread by kissing, by sharing cutlery and utensils, and even by simply coming into contact with somebody who is carrying the virus itself. Once you develop the virus, it will never go away, and although you may never get a cold sore again, as the virus will be laying dormant, this will always be a possibility. Cold sores can be treated by medications, topical creams, ointments, and even laser treatments.
Cankers – Now, canker sores, although being similar in appearance to cold sores, and appearing in roughly the same areas, are very different to cold sores. Canker sores are very small, they are often oval shaped, they have a red border, they have a crater-shaped centre, and they are white/yellow on the inside of the crater. Canker sores occur in the mouth, on the tongue, on the gum line, and on the lips. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious, so they can’t be spread from one person to the next.
What causes canker sores? – Canker sores are often the result of an autoimmune deficiency, which is why they often flare up when a person is stressed or run down. They can also be caused due to a nutrient deficiency, and even by simply biting the lip or tongue.