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Cold sores and canker sores

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Canker sores:

Mouth sore is a general term used to collectively refer to the small ulcerations or eruptions that occur with the mouth. Small multiple ulcerations that occur repetitively within the mouth are known as canker sores (recurrent apthous stomatitis). These are commonly observed in school-aged children and adults and are generally painful.1 The sores may appear as a single ulcer or as multiple ulcers, which remain for about 4–12 days and heal thereafter without any treatment.

Cold sore:

Cold sores or fever blisters are commonly associated with viral infections such as those due to herpes simplex virus. This infection affects most people one or more times during their lives.  If one has cold sores it is necessary to wash his/her hands often, especially after touching his/her face. Sharing of cups or utensils with another person is to be avoided.



Symptoms of cold sores

The first symptoms that may be noticed include tingling, burning, or itching in the area around the mouth or nose. These areas may become reddened and develop small fluid-filled blisters within a few hours or days. The blisters are generally painful.



Causes for cold sores:The exact cause of these ulcerations is not known. However, various factors such as stress, consumption of coffee, chocolates, eggs and tomatoes may result in formation of canker sores.2

Causes for canker sores: An outbreak of cold sores may also be associated with common cold, flu and even stress.



Canker sores: The pain can be controlled with several over-the-counter available gels or mouthwashes. Consultation with the dentist is required if the ulcers are too big or if they are present over a long period of time. 

Cold sores: The dentist may advise a drug known as acyclovir to reduce the infection. Recovery is usually complete within 2 weeks.3

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: September 06, 2012


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