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Canker vs. Cold Sores

What is the difference between a canker sore and a cold sore? A cold sore is a virus that starts as a tingling spot on the outside of the lip or nose and develops into a cluster of blister-like sores. A canker sore is a painful, round, red, crater-like sore inside the mouth that hurts when we eat or brush. Both sores can last for 7-10 days. The cause and triggers of a cold sore or a canker sore are relatively unkown. It is throught that stress, colds, acidic foods, over-exposure to the sun and previous outbreaks are predictors of future outbreaks. Another trigger for canker sores includes exposure to a chemical in toothpaste called sodium lauryl sulfate(SLS). A cold sore is a virus that lives in the nerve trunk where the last outbreak occurs. Cold sores are very contagious and can be transferred to other parts of your body or another person. You should not touch a cold sore directly with your fingers to avoid spreading it. Often your dentist or doctor can prescribe a medication to take orally, or a topical ointment, to use at the first sign of a cold sore outbreak. There is no know treatment for canker sores, but we recommend a product called Rincinol that works like a liquid bandage. If you or your family member have these sores and they occur frequently, please call and let us help you find the best treatment.


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