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“I love mouth sores!” said no one ever. Mouth sores — from time to time known as soft-tissue disturbances — in or around the mouth can be painful, disagreeable and a potential signal of a more grave condition. Lots of our patients have confused cold sores and canker sores, so we’ve put together this comparison to aid you in knowing the difference.

Canker sores. Canker sores can form in the oral cavity or on the tongue, but not outside of the mouth. They are normally tiny, whitish-yellow cuts and are not spreadable. About half of the population can develop them, but we still don’t recognize exactly what causes them; a few scientists suspect stress as an influence. If you do have canker sores, watch out for acidic foods, which can worsen discomfort from the sores. Most will go away on their own within five to seven days.

Cold sores. Frequently mixed up with canker sores, cold sores are fluid-filled sacs that appear outside of the mouth, normally on the lips, and their fluid can bubble-over or crust. They can be very contagious, and they usually last about seven to ten days. Such as with canker sores, they might be related to stress; they can also form from weather exposure or fatigue. Ask us about antiviral medications if you are dealing with cold sores.

If you have an infected sore or have had a sore for more than two weeks, please phone us right away so we can judge your best course of treatment. Tell us about it at 530.677.4457 to set up your next appointment with Dr. Sonny Afshar and the staff at Country Club Dental in Cameron Park, California.