In or out? That’s the first question to ask when you’re trying to figure out whether you have a canker sore or a cold sore. If it’s inside your mouth, it’s most likely a canker sore; outside, probably a cold sore.
The two may seem similar, but the similarity ends with the fact that both are connected with the mouth and both cause pain and discomfort. So knowing which one you have is the first step to knowing how it’s caused and how to treat it.
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are tiny, clear, fluid-filled blisters that form around the mouth and are caused by the herpes simplex virus (usually type 1, or HSV-1) living inside your nerve tissue. Cold sores usually do not last longer than two weeks. However, the sores are highly contagious and tend to recur when the virus is reactivated by a trigger such as stress, sunlight, fever or illness.
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Canker-sore treatment includes over-the-counter oral anesthetics. Your dentist can develop a treatment plan for more serious outbreaks.
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are most often found around the mouth but sometimes occur on the gums or roof of the mouth, and are caused by the herpes simplex virus (usually type 1, or HSV-1) and are highly contagious. “A cold sore progresses through different stages, and the infected individual is contagious through the entire process,” says James J. Sciubba, DMD, PhD, lead report author.
Aloe Vera May Help Relieve Mouth Sores
You’re dressing for a special event when a familiar tingling sensation crosses your lips. One quick look in the mirror confirms an unsightly and irritating cold sore. One remedy may be the aloe vera plant, which has been used to heal skin for more than 2,000 years and recently has gained attention as an alternative treatment for some oral health problems including canker sores, cold sores, and lichen planus, according to the January/February 2005 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
Long recognized for relieving itchy skin, poison ivy and burns, the gel from the aloe vera plant is gaining attention for curing ulcerated lesions, both in and outside of the mouth. The news is good for a growing segment of the population seeking natural treatments for common health.
“If cold sores are caught during the tingling stage, a topical medication can be applied, which will prevent the sore from erupting the majority of the time,” says AGD spokesperson Eric Shapira, DDS, MAGD. An antiviral medication can be prescribed in serious cases. Ice cubes can be applied directly to the sores to help relieve the pain.